You Don't Say!


From The New Republic this morning:


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  1. America: Land of the Free Bedwetter!

    Love it or, please, oh god!, please don’t hurt me.

    1. “[P]lease, oh god!, please don’t hurt me”…Why do I think you’ve never heard that before? Sugarfreeing

      1. Dude, I don’t know why you are always pimping that shitty blog. I would be ashamed to be associated with such tripe, and it takes a lot to shame me.

        The hack writing coupled with the author’s creepy obsession with h&r commenters does nothing but leave the reader troubled. Not troubled like seeing something horrific like a train wreck, more so the uncomfortable that accompanies catching someone you know masturbating. Disturbing; in a word.

        What I am saying is that at least a train wreck is interesting.

        But, I am sure that the author is brilliant. Maybe just misunderstood, and unappreciated, or whatever.

        Good day sir.

        1. Shamed?

          capitol l |11.9.10 @ 2:54PM|#
          I don’t know, but I am sure it has something to do with Ron Paul’s cock

          1. Dude, you really have lost it, haven’t you?

            No fucking around, you should seek some help. I am not being sarcastic or trying to be funny. You’re balancing on a precarious perch and when you fall it’s going to be bad. Please find medical help.

            1. capitol l, your powers of observation are as sagacious as your diagnosis

      2. I think you’re actually insane.

        1. We’re all pimps. Or whores. Or narcissists. Admit it.

          1. lol -more than you know

      3. Dude! Your blog is on fire!

      4. Sugarfreeing

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        1. I know what it meant but it is a little private joke of mine. Everything I write is a dichotomy. My paradigm entertainment. The deficiency of cleverness disappoints me

          1. Wow. And now I think you actually are Dan Rather.

            Remember, the big quiet Indian is the only one who can lift the water fountain.

  2. Count me among the 60%. The civilian courts are no place for guys like KSM.

    1. Or the Bloods and the Crips. Or dope dealers. Or Rapists. Or sodomites.

      IOW, Fuck you.

      1. One of these things is not like the others. Can you guess which, and why?

        Trying KSM in a civilian court will mean the erosion of scores of rights and protections for just those people you’ve mentioned, J sub D.

        Please think before you blurt.

        1. KSM needs to be tried in a civilian court because there was never a formal declaration of war by Congress. This is the price the government must pay for not following the rules.

          Allowing him to be tried in a military court will set a precedent to allow the bloods, crips, dope dealers, rapists, sodomites, and other non-combatants to be tried in military courts as well.

          1. The Authorizatin of the Use of Force is a declaration of war. Bad argument.

            1. A Declaration of War was proposed in the House but voted down. So, no, the AUMF doesn’t count as a declaration of war.

              1. It’s a distinction without a difference. It’s Congressional approval for the use of the US military against a particular foreign enemy, sovereign or not. That the House didn’t want to say “We declare war” is of no import.

                Either the President used the military in a lawful, Constitutional manner or he didn’t. If he didn’t, then impeachment was entirely warranted. Given that he was not impeached, nor was under remote threat of same, tells us what we need to know.

                KSM and his pals are war criminals, and need to be treated as such: A military tribunal, followed by a short drop and a quick stop.

            2. And you can’t declare war on a technique anyway. KSM was not part of the Afghan government nor the Iraqi one.

              1. Who declared war on a technique? Read the AUoF, Tupla.

            3. The Authorization of the Use of Force was NOT a declaration of war. It was an unconstitutional resolution that basically ceded the decision to Bush.

              1. Quite a stretch there. Nothing in the Constitution requires the words “declaration of war” to be used in doing so. It’s just a limit on the President’s use of the military against foreign enemies, a limit that was removed by the AUoF.

                1. Well that’s convenient. Let’s just remove constitutional limitations anytime the president wants to go to war.

                  Congress alone has the authority to declare war, and nowhere in the Consitution does it allow Congress to delegate those powers to the Executive.

                  1. That’s very odd, because my namesake – no disrespector of the Consitution – made war on the Barbary Pirates with exactly such an Authorization.

    2. Other than 9/11 conspirators, there’s really no legitimate reason to try the Guantanamo detainees. What exactly is the reach of American law that allows a trial of a person captured on a battlefield in a foreign country? “he was shooting at us” is hardly a crime in the US if it happened in Afghanistan (particularly if it involved an Afghan citizen and a foreign soldier). Mostly they sound like they are of the variety “he conspired to do bad things to US citizens”. Well, how exactly is it a crime in the US for two Pakistanis to plot to kill Americans? I mean, if they never came here, exactly how can American law apply to them, particularly laws about conspiracy?

      Am I similarly liable for arrest and prosecution in Iran because I oppose the Mullahs?

      1. You sure are, but that isn’t the standard I’d strive for.


      2. Very, very few of the Gitmo detainees were captured by US forces on the battlefield.

        Well, unless you want to redefine “battlefield” to mean any part of the world where people don’t like the US.

        1. Very, very few of the Gitmo detainees were captured by US forces on the battlefield.

          That doesn’t matter. The government has declared them to be terrorists, so there is no need to afford them due process.

          You don’t think the government would accuse an innocent person, do you?

    3. The civilian courts were sufficient for Ramzi Yousef and Timothy McVeigh, what makes KSM so special?

      1. He’s a cylon.

      2. McVeigh was a domestic mass-murderer. As far as Yousef goes, you are aware that the lead prosecutor in the 1993 WTC case against the blind sheikh says that the path of lawfare is a dead-end, no?

        KSM was captured in the context of warfare. His status is, and should be, that of detained combatant (lawful or unlawful, as case may be), not that of a pickpocket or routine murderer.

        1. “in the context of warfare”? What the hell does that mean? I assume it’s a poor man’s substitute for the bullshit “on the battlefield” formulation used by your friend above.

          1. It means there was a declared war, in which one of the planners of the act of war that was perpetrated against us was captured.

  3. “You could blame this on simple bigotry, but the truth is probably more complicated: As Walter Russell Mead wrote in a famous 1999 essay, the libertarianism of the American public is not the libertarianism of the ACLU. Instead, it reflects an ambivalent populist tradition that strongly values equality and liberty?but only among those perceived as productive, law-abiding Americans. When faced with security threats from people who appear to be “aliens” or “outsiders,” however, many Americans are likely to favor a remorseless, take-no-prisoners hostility that takes precedent over liberal and libertarian principles. Even if you don’t agree with everything Mead wrote, there is little doubt that this mindset has exerted a strong undertow throughout U.S. history.”

    1. To enjoy the social compact that includes strongly valued equality and liberty, one must be a part of that compact–be bound by it’s responsibilities as well as enjoying it’s privileges. The compact is extended to visitors, which is simple hospitality. Why should it be extended to individuals who, by their own action, show that they do not value that compact?

      The idea that we should extend the benefits of our system to people who are actively avoiding–or working against its’ responsiblities is insanity.

      1. Does that mean if a foreign communist visits the US and runs a stop sign we can hang him?

    2. Which is why egalitarianism, shitty if left to its own devices and taken to the extreme, is an excellent complement for libertarianism.

  4. I prefer civil liberties to security theater. And even to security. It’s not like we’re so weak that the only way we can survive is to train from birth to be Spartan commandos, so how this is even an issue is beyond me.

    1. The same government that wants to read our emails (NSA) is the same government that gets really pissed when somebody reads theirs.

      1. Odd, isn’t it?

  5. As someone who both conducted and did analysis of large and small-scale polling for years, I can vouch that most ‘national’ polls, or ‘omnibus’ approaches (‘what does *everyone* think?) tend to produce misleading or meaningless data points. Its almost always in the expanse and framing of questions, and also in the sequence of questions and context of the topic.

    (a surprisingly cool tactic in polling is to mix up questions such that you never really know what the core focus is; e.g.”Whats your favorite food? are you gay? Does Metallica Suck or Rock? Do you think body scans at airports are useful? Cats or Dogs? Paper or Plastic? etc.”)

    What if the question were, “do you think it is necessary to have the naked bodies of women and children exposed to government employees in order to maintain effective domestic flight security?”

    Or, on the question of ‘Security vs Rights’ – what if you asked, “Does the TSA have the authority to detain you indefinitely without charge if you refuse to submit to strip-searches?”

    Any time a question gets more specific, you get better data. Asking people about “rights”, vs “security”, the terms lose their connection to tangible issues, and become more symbolic.

    Also = there is a false dichotomy being set up, where in order to obtain ‘security’, the assumption is that we *necessarily* must sacrifice ‘rights’.

    Posing questions like this is asking people to ultimately answer a question more of this nature = “What is more important, the Greater Good, or your personal selfish interests?”

    I am not at all surprised that polling shows most people will answer in favor of what is being posited as the ‘Greater Good’. If someone phoned me up and asked, “would you throw yourself on a hand grenade to save a stranger’s life?” I’d probably answer, “yes”. And so would many. Why? Because I’m NEVER GOING TO BE IN THAT SITUATION.

    Yet when you take the same people and run dozens and dozens of other types of tests of opinion, you find most SOBs wouldn’t give a quarter to a homeless person or give a hitchhiker a ride or run into a burning house…. The hand grenade is a symbolic question; the actual banal instances of day to day altruism are more tangible, and you are likely to get better answers on how people really think and behave.

    Add to this that the topics du-jour that people are often polled about are things that are already being bandied about in the media in extremely cartoonish ways; meaning, when these polls are conducted on current-events issues, people already have a certain experience with how these debates are being framed. All you’re getting is a generic, ‘sorta pro, sorta con’ dipstick-measure that doesn’t really tell you anything about how people really think about these issues *when they’re not already being told how to think about these issues*. Meaning, if people lacked a menu of pre-existing opinion that they’ve already been exposed to … you might be more likely to learn how people really think.

    One other thing I learned polling; sometimes it just is a big waste of time. This was not a popular view in an organization where we were supposed to be selling research services…but I’d always tell clients: there’s probably a better way to learn what you want to learn. Surveys may be cheap and easy, but they are often meaningless. Let’s look at what people *do*. And there’s often good proxy data out there on how people actually behave that can be far more informative than simple “pro / con” polling data. Unfortunately, that requires researchers to actually do something slightly more intellectually challenging than than just churning badly-conceived questionnaires through a call-center.

    1. a surprisingly cool tactic in polling is to mix up questions such that you never really know what the core focus is; e.g.”Whats your favorite food? are you gay? Does Metallica Suck or Rock? Do you think body scans at airports are useful? Cats or Dogs? Paper or Plastic? etc.”

      Pfft. I took standardized tests for more than a decade, I think I can decipher the goal of some puny poll.

      1. Maybe I was overstating that; perhaps no so much, “not know the core focus”, as much as distract the respondent from one line of thinking, hoping to get an ‘uncontexualized’ response.

        I remember once taking a poll from someone from Microsoft, and they were like, “Do you use XP or Win 2000″…”Which Office apps do you use the most”…”Do you consider yourself a ‘power user’?”… etc etc. Their last question was, “Do you use computers?”. I let that one hang a minute, and was like, “No. Never. Don’t use computers at all.” Idiots.

    2. Fuck you Frank!

    3. I couldn’t agree more, but I also think the poll in question is sadly correct. Most Americans I know believe in rights, but only for the right kind of people.

  6. Are you highlighting it because of the all-caps note where they want to insert additional poll data, or just for the content?

    The Mead point is apropos. US foreign policy cannot be properly understood without reading Mead– his four schools of American foreign policy thought have a longer history in the US and explain more than simple binary claims about realists or neocons or such.

    1. For the fuckup with the all-caps note. But if you all want to have a serious discussion of the issue instead of hurling spitballs at The New Republic, go for it.

      1. By huge margins LINK

      2. But if you all want to have a serious discussion of the issue instead of hurling spitballs at The New Republic, go for it.

        In the spirit of the holiday season, can’t we do both?

      3. What, like it’s the first time we’d ever seen a slug accidentally left in?

  7. I like the quaint notion that progressives favor civil liberties, and that there is a libertarian streak on the left. That ship sailed about 30 years ago. The only “liberty” issues the left and right argue about are chosen “team red / team blue” issues. They don’t even approach those via principle, just via my team vs your team.

    Notice how quickly the passion over the encroaching security state evaporated among progressives when administrations changed hands? But they’ll gladly bring up their versions of flag-burning. It is all just a magicians misdirection trick: “Look over here! Gay Rights! Abortion!” … meanwhile they keep expanding the power of the state without much notice.

  8. So… is the point that they have shitty editors, or what?

    1. I took the point to be that they’d decided what they were going to write without evidence backing it up. Like they were going to turn right without knowing if there was a right turn, nor evidence that it was the correct way to go.

      Beltway pundit insider chop-shop thing, maybe. Don’t look at the process of the making the McNuggets, just eat ’em, they’re good for ya! Trust us!

  9. Ed Kilgore thinks most Americans agree with him?

    1. Maybe someone should conduct a poll and see.

  10. If only the media would inform the public that 20 to life means we don’t have to ever release the civil trial terrorist. Instead they went nuts over the acquittals on the hundreds of fluff charges.

  11. …a 60-39 margin in one March 2010 poll, Obama administration plans to close Guantanamo Bay and try terrorism suspects in civil courts.

    Technically, they wouldn’t be tried in “civil” courts, they would be tried in “criminal” courts. Yes, it is that easy to manipulate poll numbers.

    1. I think he means “civilian.” Either way, it’s the wrong place for KSM or RbaS.

      1. Either way, the pollsters are not properly asking the question. It’s the oldest trick in the book. My Logic and Reasoning college textbook has an entire chapter on it.

        Anyway, the Federal criminal courts were most effective dealing with the Fort Dix 6. But, they weren’t tortured, were they? That’s why KSM will never see a “civilian” court.

        1. There is a host of reasons why he shouldn’t see the inside of a US civilian court.

          1. Yeah, but how many of them are actually valid? At this point, it’s nothing more than PR control.

            1. A lot of them, including a lot that libertarians hold near and dear. Put KSM on trial in a civilian court, and any one of us can be captured, detained, held without counsel, etc. just like him and then be subject to a civilian trial as if nothing had happened.

              Be careful what you wish for.

              Try KSM in a military court, find him guilty and then hang him.

              1. Please stop using my name you statist fuckwad.

                1. See: Barbary Pirates. It’s amazing, Jefferson only had an authorization for the use of force from Congress (no “declaration”), killed a bunch of pirates and didn’t drag a single one of them back for trial.

                  Maybe you’d do better to actually learn about Prexy #3 rather than set him up as a plaster saint that you then use as a ventriloquist’s dummy for your own beliefs.

              2. I think you have that backwards. Military courts are secret. Libertarians, in my encounters, despise secret courts. Civilian courts are public, and open to citizen scrutiny and jury nullification. I’d like to know which “libertarians” and libertarian ideals you are speaking of.

                1. Do I need to explain this point by point?

                  If they can capture, detain and treat KSM as they have, then pull him into a civilian court which proceeds to ignore all of the violations and irregularities normally afforded civilian defendants, they can then use that as precedent against anyone.

                  **That** is what deluded libertatians are going to get, no matter what they think will come of trying KSM in a civilian court. In trying to give this war criminal one of the rights in our Constitution, what you’re going to do is strip 310 million people of all the rest.

                  KSM is a war criminal, and should be tried and executed as such. For all our sake.

                  1. I think, traditionally, war criminals are tried in International Court.

                    If he is tried in a civilian court, how does that negate the “violations and irregularities”. Those responsible should be tried, as well in a separate trial.

                    1. Let’s put it this way: Today, if a defendent arrives in an American civilian court having been apprehended without an arrest warrant, his door kicked in, not notified of his Miranda rights, denied counsel, waterboarded and held without possibility of habeous…do you think he’d still be tried?

                      Nope. So, if KSM is still tried after all of that, why wouldn’t an Americanan citizen still be tried after getting that same treatments when he’s accused of, say, pot possession?

                    2. He would still be subject to a pre-trial hearing. Usually, a suppression motion.

                    3. You’re just avoiding the obvious, Mr. W. And what about KSM’s suppression motion?

                      What you are arguing is the KSM ought to be either A – set free for the reasons I’ve put forth or B – tried despite those reasons, with a precedent for everyone else being set by his case.

                      No thanks.

  12. Fokk ’em. They will get precisely what they deserve.

    1. You know, Anthony Fokker’s mother was probably called Moeder Fokker (Dutch for Mother Fokker).

  13. In previous wars we could detain PoW’s because we knew they were enemy soldiers. They fought for a specific cause. With terrorism we don’t know for sure how a lot of these people are involved, if at all. That, coupled with a war that will run on forever, creates a situation where we need to actually figure out whether these guys are guilty of any crime at all. This is why we need to try them as criminals rather than simply detain them as PoWs.

    1. In previous wars we actually detained suspected “enemy combatants”. It’s much easier, now. Now, we just target them for a Predator Drone strike. That way, there’s no need for due process or judicial review, even if it’s an American citizen. It’s also much less messy than Napalm.

    2. That, coupled with a war that will run on forever, creates a situation where we need to actually figure out whether these guys are guilty of any crime at all.

      But it still makes no logical sense that the government feels free to kill these people. Furthermore, trying them in a civilian court is farcical when the government reserves the right to hold them or kill them anyway, and carries with it too much risk of corrupting the civilian court system by allowing hearsay evidence and the like.

      Finally, the arguments based on the conditions at Gitmo themselves (instead of guilt) are specious at best since the supermax conditions at ADX Florence are worse than Gitmo in general and even worse than waterboarding (assuming waterboarding for short periods of time and a small number of sessions, i.e., as supposedly practiced.)

      In practice, these calls to try them in the civilian court system seem to lead to only killing the suspects (often from drone strikes) instead, or in corrupting the civilian courts.

      1. So we should let the government ignore the Bill of Rights in one way, to keep them from ignoring it in an even more heinous way.

        1. In war, yes. Unless we’re going to use Nerf bullets from now in in war and Mirandize instead of shooting enemy soldiers.

  14. This is why we need to try them as criminals rather than simply detain them as PoWs.

    You need to free yourself from binary thinking. The only options aren’t “POW” or “civilian criminal defendant.”

    What these people are really being accused of, IMO, is war crimes. No reason we can’t give them adequate due process outside of a criminal court system designed primarily to advance the careers of prosecutors try crimes both petty and major.

    1. Bingo.

    2. So as long as the US govt uses the magic words “War Crimes”, they can haul anyone in the world before a military tribunal as an unlawful combatant, without any chance whatsoever to dispute this status before a civilian court.

      1. Kind of renders the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights pretty toothless, don’t you think?

      2. And, as long as we follow the Tulpa Code, any citizen can be treated exactly like KSM and still be tried in a civilian courtroom with not so much as a fare-thee-well.

        You’re thinking about this backward.

        1. No. The people that treated him that way, should be held responsible for their actions AND he should be tried in open court and held responsible for his actions. I think you are trying to combine two separate actions into one.

          1. Nope, I’m keeping things separate and very clear: KSM was captured under the AUoF and is an accused war criminal. As such, he deserves a military tribunal to determine the facs and, if found guilty, hanged by the neck until dead.

            It’s you wrong-headed guys that are trying to turn him into a martyr for the Bill of Rights, when he is no such thing. Try KSM in a civilian court, and you’ve just wrecked the very thing you claim to respect.

            1. If he is a “war criminal” as you suggest, shouldn’t he be tried in International Court, under the Geneva Convention?

              1. Where in the GCs does it require trial in an international court? A: It doesnt. A military tribunal is all he’s entitled to.

            2. I’m not trying to Martyr anyone. That’s your irrational fear.

              1. No, you all are just beating your chests and invoking the BoR because…well, why are you? The BoR does not apply here, period.

                I repeat: Try KSM in civilian court and we’ll all be treated as war criminals from here on out.

                1. I’ll take being tried as a war criminal in an open civilian court with a jury of my peers any day, over being tried as a war criminal in a secret military court and no jury.

                  1. So you’re okay with everything done to KSM and are willing to see American suspects treated exactly that way? It’ll keep Balko in business, that’s for sure.

                    Me, I’d rather war criminals be tried by military tribunals and keep the protections of the Constitution for us.

                    I think it was Jeff Cooper that said, after talking with some of his military friends, that they agreed if you were guilty, you wanted a civilian trial and if you were innocent, you wanted a military tribunal. The former was a procedural jousting contest where facts mattered only tangentially, the latter being one where facts were what mattered. It’s clear why KSM and his handlers want a civilian trial.

                    Don’t fall for it. The consequence will not be an improvment of rights for terrorists, but a reduction of rights for us.

                    1. So, you’re OK with secret courts?

                      If KSM is a “war criminal” he should be turned over to the Hague. If he is a terrorist, as described in US Code, he should be tried in open court. If he is a POW, he should be held until the end of hostilities and released.

                    2. And, if he was detained or tortured illegally, those responsible should be tried, and held responsible.

                    3. The Hague?? LMAO! Like Milosevic?

                      You’re just making this shit up as you go, and plumping for a lawless, big-government outfit like the ICC in the process.

                      What you’re wishing for is orders of magnitude worse than any military tribunal.

                    4. “If KSM is a “war criminal” he should be turned over to the Hague. If he is a terrorist, as described in US Code, he should be tried in open court. If he is a POW, he should be held until the end of hostilities and released.”

                      That’s a bingo!

                    5. The Hague??? Fuck The Hague. AQ didn’t attack the fucking Hague and we are not signatories to the ICC.

                      These shitheels belong in a US military tribunal.

  15. In Batman:Under the Red Hood, Robin (now the Red Hood) asks Batman why he wouldn’t just kill the joker rather than keep locking him up (and Joker escapes again and again to kill once more), What would you respond if you were Batman? Kill him or lock him up?

    1. That would make Batman Judge, Jury and Executioner, and a vigilante. A better question is what would Curtis Sliwa do?

      1. My point – If we are the good guys – don’t we have to always wear the white hat or do we take it off when it gets too tough.

        1. Principles can be a very difficult thing to stick to. No question. It depends if you make decisions with your heart, or with your mind. The situation could easily be reversed, where the heart is telling you to be merciful, instead of vengeful.

    2. I’d kill him…kill Robin, I mean.

  16. I agree. It was an interesting question – Robin/Hood says the Joker has filled cemeteries of good people, including Robin, and yet Batman wouldn’t “stop” him. Robin also said that he didn’t want to kill other supervillians, just the joker.

    I watched this with my 2 boys and it made me really think. Not sure what the right answer really is. I guess I would say don’t kill him – but it made me think nonetheless.

    1. It’s even more complicated by the fact that Joker would like nothing more than for Batman to kill him

      1. Batman’s Only Rule is flawed.

  17. What the hell does “Recent Poll Info TK” mean?

    That they write the story first, then dig up the poll numbers to support it?

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