JUNE 13, 2012 2:46AM

Obama's Two Words for Us: 'Predator Drones'

Rate: 22 Flag
 
RE-POST from 5/11/10 correntewire:

 

Martin Luther King never in a million years would have made a joke such as the one Obama did at the recent WH Correspondents' Dinner. It was about drones. Martin Luther King had respect for humanity. As I see it, President Obama not only hasn't redirected America from the slippery slope of amorality, he apparently has brought his sled.

I want to talk about Obama in reference to personality vs. character, but I know many of my fellow progressives will bristle. My protest of the offensive joke may seem to them a petty over-reaction. I am one of those people who often discerns character or its lack thereof within the smaller life gestures, you know, those proverbial ones like how a person treats a waiter, shares (or not) an umbrella in the rain, untangles Christmas tree lights, etc.

Obama's drone joke I saw as his doing a little verbal two-step "on other people's graves" so to speak -- graves that his own decisions brought about. Heartless and shameless are the words that come to my mind.

I didn't watch Obama at the dinner. I read about the drones remark in an article entitled: "Did you Hear the Joke about the Predator Drone That Bombed" by Medea Benjamin and Nancy Moncias. An angry nausea invaded my stomach as I read. I speculated that the President’s joke probably did NOT bomb. Not enough, though it is good to see it has gotten a bit of indignant internet buzz. Part of the account:

"Jonas Brothers are here, they're out there somewhere," President Obama quipped as he looked out at the packed room. Then he furrowed his brow, pretending to send a stern message to the pop band. "Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You'll never see it coming."

I suspect the urbane Obama deftly shot it out and the black humor was rewarded with a respectable amount of laughter. The audience-paralyzing-moment like the Springtime-for-Hitler number of the Producers movie that deserved to happen, didn’t. I suspect the “good” people that Edmund Burke once powerfully alluded to did nothing. Enabled and indulged the President’s horrifying minimization of the ongoing horror of war, the horrifying violence of this latest robotic weaponry, the drone.

I once read a description while internet surfing about what a drone does to the human body. It was a while ago but if I recall correctly it involved a fierce heat sucking the air out of the lungs.

I tried googling to retrieve this or another physical description last night but was not readily successful. There were many sites involving discussions of drones, but mostly about their usage legally, politically, strategically. This struck me as sad and ironic. Drones are controversial due to the high level of "collateral damage" they inflict (you know, that vile euphemism that means "the killing of innocent victims"). The moral and biological dimensions of drones seems under explored and communicated about.

During my googling I did come across a heart-wrenching article by Robert Fiske involving nightmarish conditions in Pakistan, including drone terror. Fiske's empathy is a profound counterpoint to the glib "normalization" and "minimization" of the drone by Obama.

But the drones dominate the tribal lands. They killed 14 men in just one night last month, at Datta Khel in north Waziristan. The drones come in flocks, and five of them settled over the village, firing a missile each at a pick-up truck, splitting it in two and dismembering six men aboard. When local residents as well as Taliban arrived to help the wounded, the drones attacked again, killing all eight of them. The drones usually return to shoot at the rescuers. It's a policy started by the Israeli air force over Beirut during the 1982 siege: bomb now, come back 12 minutes later for a second shot. Now Waziristan villagers wait up to half an hour – listening to the shrieks and howls of the dying – before they try to help the wounded.

Fiske alludes to dark, irrational superstitions gripping the hapless Pakistani citizens terrorized by the surreal and deadly U.S. drones.

The drones – Predators and Reapers, or "Shadows", as the Americans call them when they follow US troops into battle – have acquired mythical proportions in the minds of Pakistanis, a form of spaceship colonialism, imperialism from the sky, caught with literary brilliance by A H Khayal in the daily newspaper The Nation, when he asked where the drones come from: "The masses are piteously ignorant. They just don't know that the drones are not material creatures. Actually, they are spiritual beings. They don't need earthly runways for taking off... They live in outer space, beyond the international boundaries of Afghanistan and Pakistan...

"When they feel hungry, they swoop down and kill innocent Afghani women and children. They eat the corpses and fly back to their spacial residences for a siesta. When they again feel hungry, they again swoop down and kill another lot of innocent women and children. Having devoured the dead bodies, they fly back to their bedrooms in space. It has been going on and on like this for years."

From a 2009 report of The New America Foundation entitled "Revenge of the Drones" Benjamin and Moncias reveal some very unfunny statistics brought to light over the dramatically ever-increasing US drone strikes.

The report says that roughly 252 to 315 Pakistani civilians were killed by Predator and Reaper drone strikes between 2006 and 2009. Other reports place the figure much higher. Pakistani authorities released statistics indicating that over 700 civilians were killed by drones in 2009 alone, the year Obama took office. The running tally on the website PakistanBodyCount.Org is even more shocking: 1,226 civilians killed and 427 injured as of March 2010!

Equally shocking is the ratio of civilians to militants killed, which Middle East scholar Daniel Byman estimates at ten to one. It is a cruel joke indeed for the people of Pakistan that the U.S. military finds it acceptable to murder 10 innocent people for every Al Qaeda or Taliban operative killed.

The use of the drones has also expanded in Afghanistan. Every day, the Air Force now flies at least 20 Predator drones — twice as many as a year ago. They are mostly used for surveillance, but have also carried out more than 200 strikes over the last year. "Since the start of 2009, the Predators and their larger cousins, the Reapers, have fired at least 184 missiles and 66 laser-guided bombs at militant suspects in Afghanistan," reported Christopher Drew of the New York Times.

Perhaps the President's callous joke particularly rubbed me the wrong way, given that I had attended a powerful anti-war event Wednesday night, April 21, organized by Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait. Obama's inappropriate gallows-type humor resonated for me the recently publicized callous banter during the slaughtering of innocent civilians by some of our military. The Wednesday event was a discussion of the significance of that recent Wikileaks' video of a US air crew in Baghdad in 2007 falsely claiming it has encountered a firefight, but actually launching an air strike against innocent people on the ground, killing a dozen. The victims included two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency.

In an article called “Collateral Murder” Chris McGreal does a good job describing the events depicted on the video, that belie the soldiers’ simultaneous verbal radio account.

The newly-released video of the Baghdad attacks was recorded on one of two Apache helicopters hunting for insurgents on 12 July 2007. Among the dead were a 22-year-old Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40. ....

[snip]

In the recording, the helicopter crews can be heard discussing the scene on the street below. One American claims to have spotted six people with AK-47s and one with a rocket-propelled grenade. It is unclear if some of the men are armed but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera. Chmagh is talking on his mobile phone.

One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting. But the video shows there is no shooting or even pointing of weapons. The men are standing around, apparently unperturbed.

The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. "Hahaha. I hit 'em," shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: "Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards."

One of the men on the ground, believed to be Chmagh, is seen wounded and trying to crawl to safety. One of the helicopter crew is heard wishing for the man to reach for a gun, even though there is none visible nearby, so he has the pretext for opening fire: "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon." A van draws up next to the wounded man and Iraqis climb out. They are unarmed and start to carry the victim to the vehicle in what would appear to be an attempt to get him to hospital. One of the helicopters opens fire with armour-piercing shells. "Look at that. Right through the windshield," says one of the crew. Another responds with a laugh.

Sitting behind the windscreen were two children who were wounded.

After ground forces arrive and the children are discovered, the American air crew blame the Iraqis. "Well it's their fault for bringing kids in to a battle," says one. "That's right," says another.

It’s hard to read. It was harder to watch. In the video the body language of the pedestrians on the street is relaxed and casual. Then the shooting begins. One feels listening to the macho chatter and watching the devastating shots on the human beings on the screen that one is looking over the shoulder of a couple of hopped up video gamers. It was hard to sustain a sense of reality, that those were real flesh and blood, vulnerable and non-threatening human beings being murdered so ruthlessly. And what the men were reporting on the radio, soliciting permission to "engage", did not match up with the reality of the scene. Their "excitement high" – thrill of the kill -- was stunning.

David Froomkin of The Huffington Post contends that U.S. and NATO forces are rarely held to account for atrocities they commit. He declares:

Let's dig behind the video. Let's fully understand the rules the military were operating under. Let's have a complete picture of what was going through the fliers' minds. Let's hear the Pentagon explain its interpretation of the rules of engagement and the Geneva Convention and how the actions either did or did not accord with them in its view. And importantly, let's keep in mind that while we focus on this particular tragedy, it is the rare circumstance that when a journalist is injured or killed in a conflict area, there is a video of the death, and even more rare as this case demonstrates, for the public to see such a video.

[snip]

And here's something else I want.

I want someone on Capitol Hill to give a shit.

Thank you, Mr. Froomkin. I want that, too. I want my fellow Americans to give a shit. I want Congress to give a shit. I want Obama to give a shit. Abu Ghraib inspired outrage. This situation, apparently and horrifyingly -- not so much.

The best we get from Obama right now in reference to these tragic wars and the violence which Chris Hedges describes as America's primary way of communicating is a lame and disgusting drones joke? Or his assurance that nuclear weapons will not be off the table re Iran? Or his assuring young military cadets that America will provide them with medical care upon any of them returning with, say, traumatic brain injuries. Good God! Why not stop the wars and prevent those gratuitous and horrifying brain injuries, Mr. President? That is primarily why 80 million of us voted for you!

The discussion panel at the NYC webcast event included Dahr Jamail, one of a few independent US journalists who has covered both Iraq and Afghanistan, Matthis Chiroux, an honorably discharged vet who won his moral and legal battle not to be deployed to Iraq in 2008, and Elaine Brower, anti-war activist and mother of an Iraq/Afghanistan veteran.

Dahr Jamail declared that Article 48 of the Geneva Convention guarantees protection of the civilian population as well as their property during the execution of a war. This international law has been and continues to be ruthlessly violated in both Iraq and Afghanistan and now Pakistan. According to Jamail, 1.5 million Iraqis are reported dead. 4.8 million Iraqis have been displaced. 2 out of 3 Iraqis do not have safe drinking water. Since the March 7th vote, there has been a dramatic spike in violence in Iraq.

Jamail stressed that the Wikileaks depiction was not an anomaly. It was not a matter of the "few bad apples. " He said a soldier once told him, “We change the rules of engagement as often as we change our underwear.”

Jamail was calling in to the panel discussion from a cell phone, dangerously un-embedded, somewhere presumably in the Middle East. He testified passionately that the United States, building colossal embassy infrastructures over there, had no intention of ever leaving. The promise of drawing down troops and exiting these countries was an outright lie on the part of our administration and military. The Baghdad embassy, for example, is the size of Vatican City, reportedly 80 football fields long. Avaricious corporate imperialism was the driving force of these wars.

He discussed the stress levels of the troops, many on their fourth and fifth deployments. How could they not be suffering from severe psychological damage? Some become trigger happy. Some become suicidal. Some desert. None will escape this war without severe physical and/or psychic damage. Many will even join the ranks of the homeless.

Jamail also addressed the present war-mongering going on about Iran. Incredibly the leadership and media are ripening up the U.S. population for the possibility of yet another war. Iran does not have nuclear capacity. The drumbeat of "defensiveness" about Iran from Congresspeople and the media is covertly our and Israel's offensive agenda for power and control in Iran. He stressed the importance of Americans staying morally awake and not being led down the same garden path of jingoism, fear and lack of critical judgment that brought us the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Jamail has written a book entitled The Will To Resist.

Elaine Brower is the mother of a soldier who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She spoke of her heartbreaking recognition that her son had been so indoctrinated with demonization of the enemy that he returned to the United States having lost the sense of moral grounding he had been raised with. I recently read The 1870 Mother's Day Proclamation of Julia Ward Howe and immediately thought of Ms. Brower's passionate demonstration of maternal tough love and commitment to morality. She spoke out against the glorification of war, the dangerous sentimentalizing of war memorials and ceremonies.

Howe's words from 1870:

Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

In "Why Soldiers Get a Kick Out of Killing" John Horgan also explores the Wikileaks revelations:

The reluctance of ordinary men to kill can be overcome by intensified training, direct commands from officers, long-range weapons and propaganda that glorifies the soldier's cause and dehumanizes the enemy. "With the proper conditioning and the proper circumstances, it appears that almost anyone can and will kill," Grossman writes. Many soldiers who kill enemies in battle are initially exhilarated, Grossman says, but later they often feel profound revulsion and remorse, which may transmute into post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments. Indeed, Grossman believes that the troubles experienced by many combat veterans are evidence of a "powerful, innate human resistance toward killing one's own species."

When Matthis Chiroux finally spoke, the young soldier who had refused to be deployed to Iraq as a conscientious objector, I was awed by his courage and his clear commitment to ending the violence of war in the world. He gave a personal account of his boot camp desensitization training. How young men and women used bayonets and knives even before learning about guns to cultivate their aggression. They would attack dummy victims shouting "Blood" and "Kill!" They were also trained to shoot using ambushing pop-up specters of the "enemy" and would automatically shoot out at EVERY appearance of a faux-menacing, surrogate target. Matthis also revealed that one recruiting station he had visited had a military computer game accessible outside so young people would be softened up for recruitment.

In the small basement room of Manhattan's famous Judson Memorial Church, I had been at first dismayed and disappointed that there were not more of us. But by the time the discussion had ended, it didn't matter to me. I was so full of gratitude over how my own sense of moral purpose had been expanded to commit to peace. The tragic reality that our present President does not have the same moral sensibility offers a formidable challenge. But I have no choice but to assert my values. This is a fight for both America's and my own soul.

As young-in-age-but-mature-in-wisdom-and-life-experience Matthis spoke, his courage, dignity, and sense of honor filled the room. My heart expanded as I watched him pantomime ceremonially putting a rifle down upon the ground, then using that umpire gesture of crossing his hands, palms down, over each other and declaring simply, "I'm done!" This is what the tipping point had been like for him into morality and justice. Matthis had challenged and survived America's military matrix. His victory inspired me. I was especially moved by his final statement to continue to work for peace. "I came out of the shadows. I don't want to go back there."

It seems our President and Congress have chosen to govern from the amoral shadows with so many citizens choosing to join them there.

If more and more of us exit the shadows, stop enabling the perpetrators of war, the ripples of truth to power will gather and strengthen. The ripples of those brave and eloquent activists strengthened me that Wednesday night.

I began this commentary about Obama's troubling drone joke by referring to the contrasting capacity for empathy of Martin Luther King. I would like to end this piece by quoting from a part of his Viet Nam speech of 1967. How it relates still to our dysfunctional collective mentality and moral plight as a country.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
Thanks. These things need to be said and understood and grasped emotionally, intellectually and with a rational understanding of why the USA has come to be hated throughout the world. As an American I am ashamed.
I echo Jan's feelings and even more. Libby has covered so many bases that it is hard to begin.

I'll focus on one: precedent.

Once shrub found it OK to joke at his WH Correspondents Dinner: about WMDs - where are those WMDs - they must be here somewhere, and the sycophants in attendance thought that was funny.

Where do they find these vermin to lead the country.

MLK, may He r.i.p., is turning over in his grave - the Statue of Liberty weeps.

-R-
AND it didn't start with these two rotten administrations - how can one forget madeline albright, clinton's secretary of state confirming that 500,000 children starved by sanctions placed on Iraq was worth the price?

Psychopaths!!!
Same sentiments here. This merits cover page!
Eloquent post, Libby. You have outdone yourself here. The drone "joke" is appalling. I had no idea since I missed the speech. I have noticed the pattern of politicians, particularly presidents, trying to be stand up comics, usually to lame effect. George W tried funny at more than one lavish dinner, Clinton did it and now Obama. Is ithis a sign of our neo-Roman society? The presidents are now entertainers as well? Is this a deliberate ruse to deflect the severity and horror of what is happening in our world or to humanize them? It's not working for me. I still can't believe anyone would find drones a topic for humor.
Tasteless. Horrifying when you consider they'll undoubtedly be used against the 99% for objecting when our economy finally goes down the drain.
Thanks for all of your research and for posting, Libby. MLK's words are so true, "We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

In addition to our military actions abroad, we are supplying the world with more weapons than anyone would ever need:
America's Hottest Export: Weapons

I don't know how to turn around this juggernaut, except by following those words you ended with from MLK, "There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war."

Thanks for posting!
Yes, President Obama is an arrogant prick which is why most of the world can barely tolerate him anymore. Joking about killer drones! Lovely. Last week he made a joke about his wife Michelle and oral sex. [she doesn't go down....enough......] He's a pig. rated.
Huge amount to read here. I came away thinking about the image of drones...how terrifying they are. War is Hell...whether it rides in on horseback carrying knights, or whether it arrives in a flotilla of war ships. I tend to over use this but it is true. Humans spend more money killing each other than caring for each other. R for research and reality.
Too many people simply think, "Obama's a good man" and therefore suspend all critical thinking. Hard to feel sorry for them when they get the shaft later on. Problem is, they will never connect the two together.
As I've watched more horrors unfold over the past three years I often think that in many countries we attack it must be like 9/11 every day. Reading about the Pakistanis living in daily terror of demons swooping down at any time fills me with shame and sorrow. Is this what we are? No matter how much I wish it wasn't so, I know that yes, this is what we are, I am a part of that we.

Like you I'm sensitive to the little tells with a waitress, or in sharing something, that show a person is selfish or self-absorbed. Such signs tell me they hold themselves and their thoughts and needs superior to others. They might also view me that way and are a danger to me. Laughing it off is also very telling, hahaha we're just making a joke. Some things are not funny, hurting others is never a joke to me. I hadn't heard the joke but I view it the same way you do and the little alarm system in my head goes off again.

"The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. "Hahaha. I hit 'em," shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: "Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.""

I'm not surprised at the video accounts of the helicopter attack and the slaughter of innocents including the two reuters employees. It's become quite amusing to many people to annihilate others, or be entertained viewing their annihilation. There is a lot of "macho chatter" as people watching the news on any given day can enjoy the "thrill of the kill" vicariously from the comfort of their homes. Perhaps some will lose the thrill if their child comes home damaged or dead, or perhaps they will maintain their illusions to deny natural feelings.

What you posted from John Horgan is telling, though we are a predator, we are not a species that finds it natural to eat our own. When we deform our natural inclinations to cross those lines, the lines lose their natural distinctions and if one human is prey, all humans can be prey. Brutality begets brutality and the sins of "the father" become idealized treasures passed on to the sons.

I am filled with sorrow to hear the story of Elaine Brower. In a much lesser way I relate as I am estranged from my eldest child as she has chosen a path far from the moral principles I raised her with. She started with brutality based reality shows and quickly became addicted to the Housewives series. She would recount to me the details of "the thrill of the kill" in those women. In retrospect it's no surprise that not long after she became a fan of Glenn Beck and now all Fox News, the things she says are shocking to me. My heart aches and I don't know how to get my child back. Her actions toward her family have become unbearable, I do not even know her anymore.

"Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

In this quote you posted from Julia Ward Howe I find many paralels to much I see in our current society. I don't wish our children to unlearn charity, mercy and patience and be taught to injure others and come seek caresses and applause for carnage. Yet it seems this has become our way and I can't help but wonder how long before we stop.

MLK's speeches always seem prophetic. The part you put in this post is no less so and perhaps we are in the spiritual death he predicted as we followed the path he warned against. You're right on target again with saying this is a fight for America's and my own soul. Thank you for another remarkable post, perhaps my fire isn't all the way out. Thank you for continuing.
The gallows humor of warfare runs deep into the dark waters of history. The gleeful antics of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in famous Warner Brothers cartoons during WWII come immediately to mind, Bob Hope in USO shows in Korea and Vietnam... these examples might put Obama's remark into perspective.

As for the casualties of drone strikes, consider this comparison to the body counts of that "Good War" fought by America's "Greatest Generation":
Stack all of the corpses from one night of fire bombing in Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo along side the dead and wounded from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, well over 500,000 and well over 3,000,000 more over 30 years of war in Vietnam and Cambodia, then look to the "1,226 civilians killed and 427 injured as of March 2010!"

Tragic yes, but this is the nature of war - declared or otherwise.
I second Jan's comment. I dread the blowback/karma/natural consequences this behavior will inevitably bring about. The idea that there wil be no price to pay for this, no natural conseuences, is a suicidal delusion. There's a lot more to say, but others are already saying it as well or better than I can. [r]
Thanks for posting this, and reposting it now. I shared your visceral disgust at his thuggish humour then. Unfortunately Obama has shown how completely in character that moment was.

When Obama made his casual joke about having people vaporized, he was still quite new at actually vaporizing people. Today we know that he has weekly meetings to mark people for summary execution (blithely dismissing any "military-age males" who get snuffed as "probably up to no good"). That so many people still respect him as an honest and empathetic leader is a testament to his remarkable powers as a con man, and to people's great reluctance to admit they were conned.
Outstanding.

I am absolutely astounded at those who would dismiss this. Lots of people are on Glenn Greenwald's case about it too. As if it's "unseemly" to call this what it is, or it's somehow being a "traitor" to the party, or that, well, you just have to compromise on things when you're President.

There should be no compromsing on this.

And the Chicken Littles shouting about how much worse the other guys are, and how we have to vote for Obama because the world will end if he doesn't get reelected. Yeah, I know - on things like gay marriage and women's reproductive rights, etc. - he's marginally better than the other guy. But this issue. This is who we are as a country. This is what we as a country are doing to citizens of other countries. This is bedrock stuff.

Reply to Deborah: I'm sure you got that news from Fox, but perhaps the reality of it is a little more nuanced. You can read about it here. Not that you will read anything that challenges you in the slightest, but there it is.
I read this morning that Rand Paul, R-Ky. introduced a bill to stop drone surveillance in the U.S....not that that solves a thing for the use of drones at all, a horribly frightening read of how they target around the world, thanks for re-posting, Libby.
This sentence stood out in the article:
"Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move toward allowing drones to fly alongside commercial aircraft in U.S. airspace by 2015."
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/232489-sen-paul-proposes-bill-protecting-americans-from-drone-surveillance
I'd rather see a bill banning use entirely, where's the outrage for having them in use anywhere??
It's just inhumane, anti-human, just plain evil.
To me, this isn't about electing a different president, although I am not standing up for Obama here -- as far as thinking any another president elected would *not* be using drones when in office, is just plain naive, in my opinion.
Oh Jeannette, you're hilARious. I got it from ivillage:

1. Obama’s double entendre
When the president was in L.A. for a fundraiser this week, he described his wife’s much-discussed exercise routine with a rather risqué twist. According to Politico, “‘Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well,’ he said, after saying that she’s taken some criticism on her technique ‘because she doesn’t go all the way down’—a line that he let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd.”
Deborah, if you'd read the link I posted, you'll see that there are some alternate interpretations out there. I'm glad you think I'm funny. I don't think you are at all.

(Sorry to take up space on your comments, libby.)
Ahhh...a love fest with all the usual suspects!

These things are a delight to read.
"any another"
erk.
s/b "...any other..."
How gratifying to see such interest in this blog! I am researching a current one about Obama's next two words to us, "Kill List" but this blog from two years ago was a profound one in writing it for me, especially with Fiske's haunting description of our "spaceship colonialism" and the special kind of TERRORISM we, the United States, was responsible for!

Jan, ty! The lack of empathy our citizens have for our troops even let alone the victims of these craven wars for corporate interests. American interests conflated with corporate interests -- and the corporation has the personality as a legal person of a psychopath which means hang human interests even to the point of homicide/genocide. And now the US administration cravenly asserting that "humanitarian" regime change is required. No diplomacy or serious respect for maintaining peace. Just violence and exploitation. And this is not new. It is just that the 99% of the US are now being treated with a similar callow indifference by the pimped out politicians by the corporatists -- not as overtly murderous YET but fascism is hardening fast. I too am ashamed. Shocked and awed by the profound lack of conscience in the administration, in the citizenry, in the big media. best, libby
Mark, thanks for all the consciousness raising you continue to do on this site. That cold cruel gallows humor is chilling. The horror of Bush looking physically around his podium for WMDs was horrifying. As the audience enabled him with laughter. And Obama pulling off a similar act. Obama seems to have picked up so many of Bush's manipulations and downright moral and legal crimes with the same kind of teflon coating Reagan had and even Reagan's memory.

Yes, yes, yes, the horrors go back and back in our history. And the sycophants are around and enabling it all and minimizing, denying, omitting, distracting these horrors, sycophants in government and in the media. And apparently so many of us lemming viewers of media take our cues for whether to pay attention or have feelings about anything from the media seducers. Many of us never even hear the truth. Though after all these blood-soaked years of wars, using our not having knowledge and therefore under outrage is a pretty lame excuse.

Clinton was also guilty and the horrifying line of Albright's about the deaths of all those children -- Albright, a convenient woman in a major role so the image is of someone female and more maternal (yeah, Hillary, too, is as ruthless as the next guy if not more to prove she also is not a sissy woman in this patriarchal world), dismissing mass deaths because of military and political gamesmanship wins is more than sickening.

That whole issue of sanctions, Mark, is so under-reported. Like we are doing a country a big favor by ONLY going for sanctions, which means slower but sure deaths for the most vulnerable and innocent members of a population.

Thanks! best, libby
Inverted and Victor, Thanks!!!
Thanks, Erica! Though this happened two years ago, while I am working on a present blog about the horror of Obama's "Terror Tuesdays" "kill list" writings, I decided to hearken back to a post I had done two years ago after his ugly drones joke and re-post it.

You really highlight something important here, Erica. Government leaders as HIP, GLIB CELEBRITIES. Once again, we are consumers of their entertainment, rather than monitoring citizens of them as representatives and guardians of our rights and needs. And we all know, stand up often requires shock and anger to get a rise out of an audience. But to have people with so much invested power being so callow and cavalier and disdainful of death and suffering is UGLY UGLY UGLY, not to mention foreshadowing as to how they approach and thins and feel or in this case NOT FEEL ENOUGH about fellow human beings and their plights.

Obama appears more and more like a Roman emperor enjoying the suffering in the pit of the coliseum, giving a thumb's up or thumb's down, mostly thumb's down, on the present victims there!

Thanks for commenting and validating again, my friend!

best, libby
xxx
Chicken Maaan, thanks! absolutely tasteless and as I said to Erica above, the tasteless joke foreshadowed an escalating indifference of Obama to the suffering these monstrous weapons have created and his proliferation of their use.

Even though countless military advisors contend they are creating more "terrorists" than the "terrorists" they kill or claim they kill (since Obama it has come out considers ANY military age male a terrorist and his death to be counted and celebrated as the death of a terrorist -- WTF???).

Now that Obama has declared the right to assassinate Americans any where at any time without a trial, the drone is an ideal weapon of choice. They also do a lot of preliminary spying.

And 9000 miles away a soldier at the joy stick can destroy people and yet our government brags that they are clean kills of the deserving. And they know this how? Because of the intelligence collected using money to bribe lies from people. Like the accurate intelligence that guaranteed that Iraq had WMDs?

best, libby
clay ball, thanks! Appreciate your focus on MLK:

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society." When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

We have a patriarchal society of competition, power, control, greed and we need a paradigm shift to humanism, to cooperation and partnership and empathy. Yes, yes, we are the world's weapons exporter. Since we are the big bully on the international block other countries becoming destroyed by civil wars and warring with each other using American enabled weaponry leaves them ultimately weak enuf for US and NATO to march in and set up the one percenter corporations to feast on the spoils. Hang the death and suffering.

Yes, this is the moral mandate from MLK. His words to turn to peace and prioritizing values not the tragic death wish for us by these murderousness, amoral war addicts:

"There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war."

best, libby
Deborah, Obama seems very much an ego-driven leader. Judging from the amoral swamp of our government, sadly most of our leadership is made up of ego-driven people. They are drawn to the power and the celebrity and the money. Character cannot survive when the EGO controls a human spirit. EGO, stands for Edging - God (or moral conscience) - Out! Not heart or even mind oriented -- self-aggrandizing ego driven. They are willing to pimp themselves out for the best bidder. They are willing to let "image" influence their choices, throwing whomever under the bus for that image and impression management!

I didn't hear the joke Obama made about his wife, but it doesn't surprise me. He rides on his BRANDING by media and the huge numbers within the 80 million who voted him in and can't admit to being wrong. And who still trust a party that vetted such a callow, sell out for the people, which shows how greatly they are willing to sell us out, too.

Obama never mentions the lower class. He never mentions the homeless. He never mentions the plight of black people, seriously. He feels he is a prince with princely rights of loyalty. He is the first black president and he is also the American Judas to black people and to all of us. Courting a vote is expedient and his promises have no staying power. Obama has no guilt or shame later to completely flip flop and the lap dog media rarely demands it. Neither does the citizenry for the most part.

What is more incredible than his colossal nerve is the naivete and obtuseness of his apologists!!! George Clooney forwarding his popularity for Obama? God, they must deserve each other!

best, libby
Ande, thanks for wading through so much that is so heart-breaking and outraging! Yes, war continues on through the centuries! And after the Vietnam horrors one would hope the memory and LESSONS of that would set us straight as a civilized US society. But incredibly NOT. Incredibly the demonization of other cultures continues on by the US and NATO for profit even though they spout now humanitarianism bullshit. The callous betrayal of our troops fighting. Ignoring the numbers of suicides in the military. Does that even make these monsters leading us to doom stop and PAUSE? Obama and military???? The media????

Ande, absolutely this is true: "Humans spend more money killing each other than caring for each other."

Each troop costs us as taxpayers $1 million a year! Why don't we help these countries and our own with support rather than the incredible money (that gives those one percenter contractors such bloated bank accounts and the international banksters and oil corporations) we spend on destroying!!! We are 330 million people in America. We could all be living the high life with $1 million each with plenty more to help the world, but that not is how the evil game is being played.

The politicians preach austerity as if the money is gone but it isn't gone, it was given by them to the coffers of the corporate bastards and let's face it to their own coffers and the coffers of the media that is so mendacious on their behalf. And they are blaming and punishing their victims! And the learned helplessness of these victims is unbelievable. Bobble-headed agreement and voting them back in. Look at Walker!

best, libby
xxx
toritto!! Your comment gets to the bone:

"If George Bush had made the drone joke on national TV we "progressives" would be screaming bloody blue murder - "fascist killer bastard!!".

"But because B.O. made the joke too many of us quietly just chuckle, bury our "progressive" conscience and go about "recapturing the dream".

Absolutely. What the hell is going on with our citizenry? Can't they bear admitting to being snookered by the lying Obama in 2008, who was vetted by a media and a legacy Dem party that knew exactly what he was capable of, a pimped out puppet to the oligarchy, the same as they all are. And those idiots trying to prove Obama was born elsewhere. Let's focus, folks, on what he is actually doing now that should be impeachable. Except those folks want to put another corporate puppet in his place for THEIR team. Mass stupidity among Americans, whether left or right!!!

Also, appreciate you mentioning the human beings innocently trying to live out their lives without our vicious and sophisticated weaponry raining down terrorizingly on their heads!!! WE ARE THE TERRORISTS!!!!

"And you are so right - to a simple people living in a village who can't make a washing machine, we are like space beings come down from the sky - we should be soooo proud of ourselves."

Like Jan said above and you say now, too many of our leaders and our fellow citizens are SHAMELESS!!! It horrifies.

Best, libby
Thanks, CG! Exactly as what toritto was asserting. Where is the critical thinking? All the more missing now that the fourth estate has seriously given up challenging our bribe-ready government leadership. I have been reading how the obama administration leaks the military info it wants out there and then screams STATE SECRECY if information that should not even be classified gets out and interferes with their fascistic impression management! Look at how they distract people from what the leaks are saying to demonizing the whistleblowers!!!

Obama is the American Judas. After the horrors of the Bush administration, too many of us like me thought there would be recovery with a Democratic administration with the end the war candidate, Obama. Hah! It showed how both legacy parties were equally locked into the matrix of corruption. We don't need the mafia any more. There is a monopoly on evil now, the US government and for the world, there is NATO, the international branch of said monopolistic mafia. Look at how our banks laundered drug money (one of the known sins) and were not prosecuted for it. Anything for profit. I repeat your wise and sad words:

"Too many people simply think, "Obama's a good man" and therefore suspend all critical thinking. Hard to feel sorry for them when they get the shaft later on. Problem is, they will never connect the two together."

We can't even connect dots from Vietnam days or even from Iraq War days. So naive to rush in to other wars most are. Have we learned nothing? Banging the drum for war with Iran? The sociopaths that have their hands on reins of government and media and business and often academia, that has sold out, too.

best, libby
Bleue, thank you!!! I am so moved by what you say and they are important to hear. I quote you:

"As I've watched more horrors unfold over the past three years I often think that in many countries we attack it must be like 9/11 every day. Reading about the Pakistanis living in daily terror of demons swooping down at any time fills me with shame and sorrow. Is this what we are? No matter how much I wish it wasn't so, I know that yes, this is what we are, I am a part of that we."

snip

"Some things are not funny, hurting others is never a joke to me. I hadn't heard the joke but I view it the same way you do and the little alarm system in my head goes off again."

snip

"The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. "Hahaha. I hit 'em," shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: "Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.""

Macho chatter and thrill of the kill. The circumstances are so insane and unfair that these troops are thrown into. The paranoia inspired by these horrifying scenarios among the troops as well as the civilians terrorized by them. No good will come, but the "deciders" are far from the horror and the risk, waiting for the benefits of conquest and the money and resources to be dug into.

Also this quote from you:

"What you posted from John Horgan is telling, though we are a predator, we are not a species that finds it natural to eat our own. When we deform our natural inclinations to cross those lines, the lines lose their natural distinctions and if one human is prey, all humans can be prey. Brutality begets brutality and the sins of "the father" become idealized treasures passed on to the sons."

As I read that I think of that book called the Lucifer Effect (iirc) about how having absolute power over others can bring out sadism. Also the other experiments in New Haven when strangers were asked by white coated "experts" to gratuitously shock other strangers just because they were told to. 6 out of 10 people went along, even if they didn't like doing it. Authoritarian following!

Bleue, I feel for you re the concern of a mother for the mind- and heart-state of a child, especially when that child has succumbed to negative influences of a culture. How many parents could relate to that! I quote you again:

"In this quote you posted from Julia Ward Howe I find many paralels to much I see in our current society. I don't wish our children to unlearn charity, mercy and patience and be taught to injure others and come seek caresses and applause for carnage. Yet it seems this has become our way and I can't help but wonder how long before we stop."

snip

"MLK's speeches always seem prophetic. The part you put in this post is no less so and perhaps we are in the spiritual death he predicted as we followed the path he warned against. You're right on target again with saying this is a fight for America's and my own soul."

Thanks, Bleue, for such passionate and wise comments!!! I always get as much as I give when I do such a blog as this! I thank you and the others in this thread!

best, libby
xxx
jmac, thanks for commenting though you make me really uneasy with what you say.

You imply that I am not putting Obama's remark in a correct perspective. Citing callous behavior in the past is not an excuse for present callous behavior in the present imho!

And you are citing the fewer casualties (and not all that few) by the drones as being a relief to the old style of killing in terms of numbers? Yes, 9000 miles away so our troop at the joy stick is nice and safe should not be the way to go. That I am sure makes some people more content, in terms of our troops not being killed or maimed, but what about the victims of that kind of warfare??? Particularly a warfare in which American interests is really about sociopathic profitmaking for oligarchs.

As for me, I agree with those who see Obama's preference for drones as partly being a neat way to annihilate and exterminate so-called insurgents (people in their own country dealing with a violent occupier) and therefore Obama sidesteps the detention and torture issues and also the innocence issues survivors would assert. Let's just annihilate them at the get-go to keep it less messy later on. Lets go all out for the kill. Kill em all, let God sort em out. After all, the ends justifies the means with the Obamas and the Dems and the military of this world and yes they are a lot, which is why our government is an amoral swamp! Profits over people!! Profits uber alles!!! The sanctity of human life worthy of any consideration from the Obamas or the Obomneys? Not so much. If at all!!!!

I have little patience for "lesser of two evils" arguments. I am against EVIL and a lot more of us should be! Spinning it is enabling it!

best, libby
Donegal, so grateful for your validation once again. My mind and heart these days are full of my personal psychological history and what I am expressing and learning right now (from generous and open fellow bloggers as you) as well as the horrifying events unfolding on the news each night with the ever escalation of war and governmental arrogance and exploitation. That the Obama administration is using his bloodlust as a marketing angle for the election sends me to the vomit bucket as well as enraging me.

Your statement is profound:

"I second Jan's comment. I dread the blowback/karma/natural consequences this behavior will inevitably bring about. The idea that there wil be no price to pay for this, no natural conseuences, is a suicidal delusion...."

Yes, Donegal. Can we as a US community regain our collective soul? We have reached such a low bottom of evil, which promises to go even lower.

best, libby
Yes, Bart, thanks for commenting. And I did go back to his joke because it shows how much it foreshadowed. You write:

"Thanks for posting this, and reposting it now. I shared your visceral disgust at his thuggish humour then. Unfortunately Obama has shown how completely in character that moment was."

"When Obama made his casual joke about having people vaporized, he was still quite new at actually vaporizing people. Today we know that he has weekly meetings to mark people for summary execution (blithely dismissing any "military-age males" who get snuffed as "probably up to no good"). That so many people still respect him as an honest and empathetic leader is a testament to his remarkable powers as a con man, and to people's great reluctance to admit they were conned."

Yes, I agree with every word you write here and am also alarmed by the callous regard for these countries we are invading and we (our leadership) is colossally shamefully asserting we are doing it for humanitarian motives. I am absolutely stymied by the callousness of the American people, though I am enraged at the discouragement for their critical and empathetic thinking and feeling thanks to a craven media as much puppets for oligarchs as our craven government representatives!!!

best, libby
Jeanette, thanks so much for commenting and lending your wisdom and feelings on these horrors. Yes, I agree:

"There should be no compromsing on this."

And I really appreciate this:

"And the Chicken Littles shouting about how much worse the other guys are, and how we have to vote for Obama because the world will end if he doesn't get reelected. Yeah, I know - on things like gay marriage and women's reproductive rights, etc. - he's marginally better than the other guy. But this issue. This is who we are as a country. This is what we as a country are doing to citizens of other countries. This is bedrock stuff."

I don't want a slick, "impression management" obsessed President who cavalierly uses human issues like poker chips for his own self-aggrandizement!

Lesser evilism? Enuf already. We desperately need a president who is humane and serious and smart. I am still waiting for Jill Stein of the Green Party to crack the media sound barrier. It will be our loss if she does not. But the media is so saturated, so enmeshed with oligarchs who control this country, fighting for human decency is an overwhelming struggle, but we have to fight one mind, heart, conscience at a time apparently!

Re Obama's latest personal remark/joke, I haven't explored it, but you are probably more generous than I, too. I will watch that tendency in myself, but I can't help becoming cynical about him. If Obama didn't have the power he does I would feel sorry for him. I do believe he is tragically ego-driven from his history but unfortunately he has a mass amount of power to act out and hurt people from his wounding and his placating selling out to oligarchs. And enabling someone like Obama is pathetic on the part of so many of those 80 million who wanted to believe in him. That blind loyalty sure ain't gonna fix him. Maybe there should be a 12 step meeting just for recovering from blindness to Obama!

best, libby
Just thinking, thank you for sharing this:

"I read this morning that Rand Paul, R-Ky. introduced a bill to stop drone surveillance in the U.S...."

I wonder how much support it will get and will actually call my support of such an action. We know there must be big corporate profits for drone production. Keep Americans trusting and frightened and all that money. Who cares what it means. I worry also about the weaponry becoming massively used internationally. Do these "deciders" even begin to look ahead that far? They are so addicted to fast power and fast money!!!

I think Jill Stein of the Green Party should be president. I think both our legacy parties are corrupt beyond repair to begin to put a true moral leader at the helm of the United States. Chances for full out fascism seem more likely than having President Jill Stein, but I am going to do what I can for her sake and for mine and for others. Naive as that may sound. We must be proactive and listen to our hearts and consciences. Those of us who still have awake ones.

thanks again, JT! best, libby
Frank, since you recently told me on another blog that you maintain I make up my anti-Obama assertions, like him assassinating US citizens at will and also removing the due process rights of people at executive will and detaining them if he chooses, I cannot take you very seriously in comments exchanges.

If you refuse to stay abreast of actual news, how can we begin to have any kind of intelligent exchange. No, I do not make this up. And how sad that you are committed to crony loyalty and not very committed to exploring facts and reality. Colbert sarcastically calls it "truthiness" which means whatever is emotionally convenient to believe for an individual, defiant of reality, that is what they profess.

I am going to hope you didn't even skim my blog, given the serious subject matter, otherwise you could not let's hope be so disdainful of what we are all discussing here.

libby
The use of random, brutal violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to generate terror is deliberate - a classic example of state terrorism. To the best of my knowledge, Lenin was the first to address the systematic use of state terrorism to consolidate power. Have the CIA et al read what Lenin prescribed in implementing state terror? You bet your life they have, just as they have studied Japanese, Chinese and Soviet brainwashing techniques.

You can also bet your life that Obama's so-called joke was calculated and deliberate - using humor to soften the American people up - to "normalize" the notion that the US government routinely engages in war crimes.

Great post.
Frank, since you recently told me on another blog that you maintain I make up my anti-Obama assertions, like him assassinating US citizens at will and also removing the due process rights of people at executive will and detaining them if he chooses, I cannot take you very seriously in comments exchanges.

Point out where I said that!
frank, from comment thread in my Obama, NATO, Chicago and Genocide post:

"p.s. Frank, you still have not answered my question about why you do not find the gutting of the bill of rights by Obama seriously troubling.

Your response:

"Any chance that could be because I do not think Barack Obama has “gutted the Bill of Rights”…nor even attempted to “gut” the Bill of Rights?

"Your frequent use of hyperbole leaves me cold, Libby…and your never-ending cries about the sky falling are tiring.

"Barack Obama…AND the congress…have made some moves to try to keep our country safe (moves it appears a majority of Americans want) during a time of dangers the founding fathers could not even have imagined.

"The moves have not gutted the Bill of Rights.

"I cannot answer why I find the gutting of the bill of rights by Obama seriously troubling, Libby, because I do not think it has happened. It is a straw man of your creation, Libby…and I simply tolerate your straw man construction rather than find it troubling."
This guy is so busy getting thrown off of three boards so far and proud of it, that he has no idea what he says and where.

From able2know.com; they've opened a thread called if frank apisa didn't exist would we have to invent him?

Also: "We should all probably stop feeding him. He's so desparate to demonstrate the "superiority" of his understanding."

And: "If we wait long enough andlisten to him keep up with this Apisashit, Franks head is gonna explode like a watermelon hit by a .50 cal."

All within the past few days, where he's already posted more than FIFTEEN THOUSAND posts. These guys know him in the same way we do.

Yesterday, here on OS he challenged the views of a former consultant to the State Department, as You know, Libby:

"Bill Fisher is a retired consultant to the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. His assignments took him to the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration."

Without fail, he'll be back to dispute his own words, which You've quoted here, Libby.

After all "he" IS the man who was never wrong about anything a day in his life (except for his gingrich is gonna' get the g.o.p nomination).
I cannot believe we've come to this point: "Judge Andrew Napolitano has warned Congress not to act “like potted plants” regarding the increased use of unmanned surveillance drones without warrants over US skies by military, government, and law enforcement agencies.

Echoing the recent comments of his Fox News colleague Charles Krauthammer, Napolitano also said that “The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.”

The federal government is rolling out new rules on the use of the unmanned drones this week, with the Federal Aviation Administration announcing procedures will “streamline” the process through which government agencies, including local law enforcement, receive licenses to operate the aircraft."

We are living in a Stalinesque Russian state. My grandparents and parents did not have to live under the tyranny of their government, how far we have fallen.
Mark,

re Frank's remark that I am creating a "straw man". A straw man? Wikipedia states: "A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."

I guess maybe the word "gutting" (what he considers my hyperbole?) the Bill of Rights maybe he takes issue with. But "gutting" is according to one internet definition:
"removing the inner working parts of a machine or device." And DUE PROCESS, the right to trial, is certainly a major inner working part of our bill of rights. The right to a speedy trial of our peers. A vital "inner working" of the democratic machine. The military tribunals were bad and covert enough. But now Obama has assumed right to execute or covertly detain even forever on his executive power alone. WTF happened to the three branches of government?

An emperor assumes the right to execute or incarcerate without trial NOT A U.S. PRESIDENT. Well, until Obama came along. Bush et al were throwing innocent foreign people in detention and torturing them and executing them and even probably covertly assassinating an American or two or more in the shadows, but Obama has FORMALLY but illegitimately made it HIS RIGHT to put an American on his "kill list" to be executed on his judgment alone -- judge, jury and executioner -- and has executed at least two out in the open already.

The right to a speedy and fair trial is what "freedom" is made of. My calling out the Obama administration for exploiting the Patriot Act one more time to GUT our right to a trial is not hyperbolic or a straw man as far as I can see.

Using the excuse of "terrorism" by a country committing terrorism to take away the rights of US citizens is just not RIGHT!!! This tree has fallen in the forest and just because countless Obamacrats won't look at it or don't want to look at it, IT SURE HAS FALLEN!!!

Best, libby
Deborah,

Calling out Congress for acting "like potted plants" re US drones flying without warrants over the US is certainly a deserving label, though still way too benign for me, considering the massive betrayal they have committed on US citizens!!! But good for him.

I believe you are right. The scaffolding of fascism is being earnestly set up for us (and I regret this is not hyperbole!). You write:

"The federal government is rolling out new rules on the use of the unmanned drones this week, with the Federal Aviation Administration announcing procedures will “streamline” the process through which government agencies, including local law enforcement, receive licenses to operate the aircraft.""

GOD SAVE US ALL!!!

You write:

"We are living in a Stalinesque Russian state. My grandparents and parents did not have to live under the tyranny of their government, how far we have fallen."

The drones are evil. In the actual book Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury even describes a "drone like" weapon that tracks and hunts people down from the sky.

Thanks for commenting. It repels one to face down the magnitude of what is happening with this drone industry, part of the evolving and terrifying state and international amoral matrix of warfare and surveillance. But we must face it and encourage as best we can a moral and legal and ethical exploration of it all with whoever will listen among our government representatives or put into office people who will respond! Responsibility is the "ability to respond". Potted plants do not respond. We deserve and NEED better than that!!!

best, libby
Libby, you wrote:

Frank, since you recently told me on another blog that you maintain I make up my anti-Obama assertions, like him assassinating US citizens at will and also removing the due process rights of people at executive will and detaining them if he chooses, I cannot take you very seriously in comments exchanges.

When I asked you to show me where I did that, you cited:

"Any chance that could be because I do not think Barack Obama has “gutted the Bill of Rights”…nor even attempted to “gut” the Bill of Rights?

"Your frequent use of hyperbole leaves me cold, Libby…and your never-ending cries about the sky falling are tiring.

"Barack Obama…AND the congress…have made some moves to try to keep our country safe (moves it appears a majority of Americans want) during a time of dangers the founding fathers could not even have imagined.

"The moves have not gutted the Bill of Rights.

"I cannot answer why I find the gutting of the bill of rights by Obama seriously troubling, Libby, because I do not think it has happened. It is a straw man of your creation, Libby…and I simply tolerate your straw man construction rather than find it troubling."


Libby, if you want to characterize my comments in that citation as maintaining that you make up your anti-Obama assertions…then I guess you will have to live with that characterization.

I stand by what I wrote completely. Barack Obama has NOT gutted the Bill of rights…nor even attempted to do so. That is hyperbole!

If you…and some of the others here…want to paint yourselves as brave souls putting your freedom at risk by speaking your mind in the United States of America…that is your right. It is my right to find that absurd…and to laugh at the notion.

These parties where the same characters come together to savage the president…and to pat each other on the back as being champions of freedom and morality are, as I mentioned, a delight to read. Seldom have so many congratulated themselves for bravery under lesser circumstances.

You probably will get your wish. Barack Obama may very well lose…and you will have the most conservative faction of America ever in place directing the American ship of state. If it happens (and I hope I am as wrong as I was about Romney not getting the nomination)…but if it happens, I hope you reflect on the lack of vision that caused you to help bring it about.

Other than that…continue to speak out as though you can do so with more safety than any people have ever done in history. I will continue to enjoy listening to the fiction masquerading as truth.
I told You, he'd be back, Libby.

fRANK you said it. You lied. Be man enough to own your lies. It is bad enough that you are so willfully ignorant and troll people incessantly, but you've proven yourself to be a liar.

Proud to be thrown off of three boards. Why, because you lie and ignore facts. Hated on your current nesting place.

you dispute findings showing america to be no better than 47TH. They've been printed on this blog a few short sections down AND annotated; something you never do to back up your delusional contentions.

Leave Libby alone and be content to be a pestilence on the other board, where you're equally viewed to be a charlatan.