Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Holiday Open Thread 2: Chewing over the News

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    That’s what I meant by “waiting for the South to get with the programme”, because enfranchisement was just the biggest issue of a multitude of segregationist matters that were addressed in that period in the South but which hadn’t been a consideration in the North for quite some time.

    In relation to comparison with the current political US climate however, the north had some of the more interesting things going on. The Black Panthers invaded the California State Assembly openly carrying firearms. There was an on and off war between them and the police with a number on both sides being shot. They were also very influential in the decision to break up SDS and form the Weather Underground.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Eric Holder (and the Democrat run US Senate oversight comittees) have had unfettered access to all actual proof that exists. There has been no court hearing.

    This is from the "political issues play no part in decision to prosecute US Presidents" school of thought. See Starr report, Nixon etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Obama decided that no good would come of [punishing war criminals] and decided to move on.

    Seems farfetched. I don't believe he would do such a thing.

    So much more likely that his team looked for the evidence and found insufficient proof.

    It caused a great deal of dissent and upset amongst some of those who had worked towards Obama's election.

    Of course. Those people had to make an unpleasent choice. Either they have won an election for a guy who's moral compass reads "war crimes - no biggee" or that "war criminal thing" they have been saying about GWB for 6 years was wrong. Feeling letdown by Obama was the face saving choice.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Bush was never at risk of prosecution for the same reason that Reagan escaped any censure for Iran-Contra. As do-nothing figureheads, nothing that important ever crossed their desks. Palin's enablers are pursuing the same model.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    See Starr report, Nixon etc.

    The Starr report was an independent inquiry. Nixon was investigated by a Senate Committee. Evidence was produced and challenged to be verified or rejected.

    The "War Crimes" have if GWB been 'investigated" by some people on the internet.

    Where is the independent inquiry? Where is the Senate Committee? Where are the verifiable facts?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    Where are the verifiable facts?

    They admit waterboarding people Angus. So there's one.


    The war crime trials after WWII convicted people who waterboarded prisoners to gain information. So there's another.


    I'm not an official type with the power to say my conclusions are official, but I can construct a syllogism starting from them there available facts.

    I suspect you can too.

    I'd like to see the verifiable fact you could introduce to the recipe that prevents "Is too a war criminal" being the conclusion.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Bush was never at risk of prosecution

    Except in southern Vermont. It was a stunt, ok, but go the home state! People tend to forget about American socialism (fair enough- it's hardly defined recent world history:)). And until the tax breaks for billionaires 'filibuster' the media has tended to overlook Vermont and America's socialist senator.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Seems farfetched. I don't believe he would do such a thing.

    So much more likely that his team looked for the evidence and found insufficient proof.

    And you know this how, Angus?

    Or is this just a wild guess which you can't support. Given that he seems to have come into the White House having pre-determined this would be his course of (non-) action, something which the timeline supports, and had no time to 'check the evidence' as you say, I'm calling nonsense on your 'belief'

    The man had ulterior motives for not pursuing this, not least being a legislative agenda.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Damn. Well, that completely dashed the warms glow I got from last night’s assignation with Ms. Boganette – and Mr. Boganette, a Rageaholic and several other delightful people. The only way I’m dealing with this shit is having enough non-rectum people around like them, you, & the PAS Massive to keep the sanity account in credit.

    Don’t say this enough: Thanks people. Even when you’re causing the death of innocent desks, you’re good people.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    And you know this how, Angus?

    Because American politicians like embarassing the opposition, they have inquiries of everything from were you or have you ever been a member of the... to what is the meaning of is.

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had the opportunity to get Congress making official inquiries back in 06. Nothing much eventuated. No legislative agenda and no need to keep the President on side, but still nothing happened.

    Then Obama got into power and again nothing. Only one thing stops a politician from embarassing thier opponents and that is the potential to embarass themselves.

    The man had ulterior motives for not pursuing this, not least being a legislative agenda.

    He needed the GOP on board to push through health care reforms which attracted no GOP support? How could a distraction from health care reform be a bad thing?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    I’m not an official type with the power to say my conclusions are official, but I can construct a syllogism starting from them there available facts.

    I suspect you can too.

    I could, but one of those isn't a verified fact.

    They admit waterboarding people Angus.

    Politicians lie, or tell half truths, in ways that appeal to their voters.

    In 2004 when GWB wished to be re-elected he needed to appear to be really tough on terrorism, saying that he endorsed waterboarding makes him appear unbelievably tough on terrorists. This appeals to the significant amount of his base that uncaring about what happens to terrorists and it appeals to those independents who are scared. It also gets the namby pamby liberals behaving all namby pamby and demonstrates to the American people that the Dems are not a serious about combating terrorism.

    GWB knows that torture is illegal and knows that torture (though illegal) appeals to Jack Bauer America. So he gets crack legalistas and interrogation experts to find the most aggressive techniques allowable under law.

    GWB had reason to mislead the voters on how aggressive he was being. GWB is a politician.

    They admit waterboarding people Angus.

    This is something a politician (or his team) said when they had every reason to be not entirely truthful. The meaning you read into it is probably untrue.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hilarious - he's still trying

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Isn't it? The gift that keeps on giving. I particularly love the repetition of

    verified fact

    followed by wild speculation. I'm waiting for "It might have been an evil robot that looked just like GWB, but was programmed by the Grey reptile aliens from Zeta Reticuli acting in concert with the Bilderbergers."

    Well, indeed it might be.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kracklite,

    Well, indeed it might be.

    unless you can *prove* otherwise

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    That they admit water boarding is too a verifiable fact.

    Not lying so much might help your case.

    As to the, erm, substance of your solipsism, none of what you say is relevant. It's not just politicians admitting waterboarding, there are the interrogating agencies for starters. I'm also pretty sure that the issue has come up in the courts when they were discussing the problem of what to do about KSM et al, with regard to what evidence would be, and not be, admissible.

    There are also numbers of reports and admissions and evidential briefings about other types of torture, such as the use of pharmaceuticals and psychological techniques that the State Dept regularly usd to call torture when other governments did it.

    All of these things are in and of themselves verifiable facts, the existence of which is not balanced by the existence of similar facts supporting the allegations of Obambislamikenyanism.

    Which would be by way of being the point.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle,

    I'm waiting for "It might have been an evil robot that looked just like GWB, but was programmed by the Grey reptile aliens from Zeta Reticuli acting in concert with the Bilderbergers."

    Well, indeed it might be.

    I blame the Flying Spaghetti Monster for everything. Obama is a secret Pastafarian.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Katha Pollitt considers the political landscape around gun control in the wake of the Arizona shooting.

    Democrats abandoned gun control years ago, when they decided it lost Gore crucial votes in 2000 and they pivoted to go after the white male vote. Even progressives dropped the issue as hopeless, part of what made NASCAR dads and other red-state he-men see them as effete, effeminate and out of touch. Jon Tester, Brian Schweitzer and Jim Webb got high marks from both the NRA and progressives. Now there are some sixty-five pro-gun Democrats in Congress, including, ironically, Giffords.

    ...

    We can't ban speech. But whatever Loughner's demons turn out to be, what let him kill six people and wound fourteen was that he had access to a gun—and a magazine that let him shoot thirty-three bullets without reloading. (Indeed, the Glock 19 was the same model gun Seung-Hui Cho used to kill thirty-two people at Virginia Tech.) It's a little pathetic—has it really come to this, that it will be a huge uphill battle to ban something that has no purpose except to kill up to thirty-three people before anyone can stop you? Apparently, yes. In Arizona, Glocks have been flying off the shelves since the shootings.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle,

    In Arizona, Glocks have been flying off the shelves since the shootings.

    American gun culture scares the living shit out of me. I recall seeing an american 'Neighbours at War' style show and being shocked that people were shooting at each other. The general tone of the comentary was "It's sad that a man lost his life over a driveway". Nobody even touched on the fact that the people in question were more than ready to shoot each other over something that trivial.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    US Secret service study sheds light on the motivations of assassins.

    The study of U.S. assassinations over the last 60 years debunks some key myths about the miscreants behind the attacks. The Exceptional Case Study Project, completed in 1999, covers all 83 people who killed or attempted to kill a public figure in the United States from 1949 to 1996.

    ...

    Contrary to popular assumptions about public killings, the attackers didn’t conform to any particular demographic profile. But when Fein reconstructed their patterns of thinking, he was able to distill them into a handful of recurring motives for killing a public person — motives that seemed consistent regardless of whether a given individual was delusional or not (and three quarters of those who pulled the trigger were not).

    Some hoped to achieve notoriety by killing a well-known person. Others wanted to end their pain by being killed by Secret Service. Still others hoped to avenge a perceived, idiosyncratic grievance unrelated to mainstream politics. Some hoped, unrealistically, to save the country or call attention to a cause. And some hoped to achieve a special relationship with the person they were killing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Katha Pollitt considers the political landscape around gun control in the wake of the Arizona shooting.

    And according to Urban Archipelago, the Dems should never have bothered with 'NASCAR dads' in the first place, and concentrate on the cities instead.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Glenn Greenwald writes at Salon today:

    I've heard a lot of twisted reasoning employed to defend the full-scale immunity which Obama has vested in Bush officials for their chronic lawbreaking. But I doubt even Robert Gibbs would be willing to stand up in public and call it "courageous." Obama's decision to protect Bush-era crimes from accountability earned him the praise of conservatives, the gratitude of leading Democratic officials (petrified that their own culpability would be exposed), and the virtually unanimous support of the entire establishment media class. Initiating investigations and prosecutions of Bush-era crimes would have required substantial political courage; by contrast, blocking all such accountability was the easiest, most cowardly route, as it's what all of official Washington was demanding. That's the path Obama took.

    ...

    Gen. Barry McCaffrey said: "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

    ...

    As Gen. Antonio Taguba said after completing his formal investigation into the interrogation program: "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Hilarious - he's still trying

    Yes, I awake to this and I'm a little gob-smacked I have to admit.

    I'm sticking with my fast hardening earlier notion that Angus may have missed most of the last decade or spent it in a cave with a volume of The Thoughts of Chairman O'Reilly as his only companion.

    Glenn Greenwald writes at Salon today:

    I'm guessing, given the timing, that Glenn must be a lurker at PAS.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    ...still trying.

    Wow! Like water-boarding for chocolate. I’ve seen some suppositions in my time, but this is the whole suppository.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Angus, you appear to have found a level of superb ideological balance where neither those alleging “war criminal” nor those alleging “secret Muslim” have more credibility than the other.

    Unfortunately that level is at about 90 degrees to accepted reality, which explains the number of people looking at your arguments sideways.

    It may not be provably certain that Bush is a war criminal, but there's actually a quantity of evidence sufficient to make this a possibility worthy of serious debate and examination - which makes comparing that charge to the unfounded "secret Muslim" allegations completely ridiculous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1611 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The implications of the measurably shrinking sound bite in (US) political coverage over the years.

    But have these changes been a bad thing? There are plenty of reasons to distrust sound bites and the kind of journalism that produces them. First, and most obviously, we miss out on the variety and authenticity of hearing people speak at length, and in their own words. Short snippets seem to encourage coverage that focuses on candidates’ gaffes and catch phrases. Sometimes, it feels like we get more of the journalists than of the politicians.

    But none of this is necessarily the sound bite’s fault. Another trend Hallin noticed was that as networks shortened their sound bites, they also changed the substance of their political coverage. They started using more in-house experts, pundits who looked less at what people said than at how they said it. TV news became more about strategy and the parsing of strategy — about buzzwords like “expectations” and “momentum” — than about the issues that presumably lie at the heart of politics. Journalists wanted to turn campaigns into larger narratives, and there was no easier narrative than covering politics as though it were a sport.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

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