Obama Continues Pushing State Secrets

Just in case I was thinking of backsliding on the “Obama is an evil bastard for protecting torturers while continuing the Bush policy of asserting limitless executive power via the state secrets privilege,” well, no such luck.

From Zachary Roth, writing at TPM Muckraker: Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets. And from Dan Froomkin: Obama’s State Secrets Overreach.

This really is a big deal, at least to me. As far as the overweening unitary executive stuff goes, I’m with Rush: I hope Obama fails, and will do whatever is in my power to make him do so. Here’s the response I sent today when Obama for America emailed to ask me to send more money:

From: jbc@lies.com
Subject: Re: Under attack
Date: April 9, 2009 12:40:06 PM PDT
To: info@barackobama.com

> Will you make a donation of $25 or more before the Monday deadline?

No. I’m profoundly disappointed by the Obama administration’s use of the state secrets privilege to protect torturers in the Jeppesen case. I’m still happy he won the election, but I’m ashamed of his actions in this area, and I certainly will not be contributing any more money to his political operation.

Send me another email when his actions warrant my support. Until then, the answer is no. Shame on him — and shame on you, to the extent you would work for someone who lets a self-serving political calculation stand between him and doing what is right about torture.


34 Responses to “Obama Continues Pushing State Secrets”

  1. shcb Says:

    It sure seems there should be a way to allow at least a portion of evidence into court without endangering national security. Of course all the parties would have to be adult in the handling of this information, and I think that is the problem. In so many of these cases as in so many other cases winning is more important than justice and in these cases politics is an equal player. With our tripartite system of government maybe the truth is a casualty of checks and balances.

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    JBC – well done.

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    Torture may have been well down on the list of evil perpetrated during the Bush regime. High explosive residue has been verified in the WTC dust. It’s long past bloody time that NIST determine the exact nature of the high explosives and trace it back to its source. Basic crime scene investigation, missing during the Bush regime. http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

  4. shcb Says:

    I don’t have a solution, I’m not sure I even have a possible solution. My question is what if this issue had nothing to do with torture, say allowing a piece of evidence, even an illegal wiretap, would kill ongoing diplomatic relations that are at a very critical point and allowing this information to be in the public domain will most likely lead to war. What then?

  5. Steve Says:

    I never gave Obama a dime, because he had already foreshadowed his stance on the unitary Executive with his terrible vote for dismissing the telecom lawsuits in regards to warrantless wiretapping.

    JBC, I think you put it very well here.

    Keep in mind that there are two problems here. The first, and most obvious, problem is the position that Bush and Obama have taken in regards to Executive power and secrecy. The second problem involves Congress’ refusal to take the President down a notch.

    This is part of why Clinton did such a decent job, he had a hostile Congress to deal with. I also think it’s part of why Bush was such a disaster: Congress rolled over for him and did not stop his worst abuses.

  6. enkidu Says:

    Profoundly disappointing. I keep hoping that he is playing a longer game, taking it in steps, keeping his powder dry etc… but this is plainly awful.

    Dear Barack,

    We put you in office to FIX this, not perpetuate it.

    Sincerely, An Independent Voter

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    I’ve been holding back for about eight months in saying this, hoping that something would prove it to be wrong and thus I could banish the thought, but alas that is not to be, so here you go:

    Obama is but the flip side of the same old coin.

  8. shcb Says:

    but steve, most of the provisions of the fISA law you so dislike were passed during the Clinton administration

  9. enkidu Says:

    I think we just want the FISA law upheld. Meaning (and this is as simply as one can put it) no spying on Americans without a court order.

    And prosecute those who did spy on Americans without a court order.

    Oversight is what we want, good, rational, legal competent oversight. The only reason wwnjs argue for these extraordinary powers now, is that they fear their ‘side’ will finally be held responsible for their crimes. The crimes of the bush junta and their enablers. Bipartisanship shouldn’t be a fig leaf for law breaking criminals and their cronies. Of either ‘party’.

  10. shcb Says:

    you haven’t read the FISA law have you?

  11. enkidu Says:

    you wouldn’t understand it if you did
    you can brush up on the subject

    …a response to President Richard Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political and activist groups, which violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Funny how you keep brushing off illegal and immoral behavior by partisan d-bags if it furthers your d-bag ends. Funny isn’t quite the right word… hmmm

    – – – – – – –

    in other news, this has been another edition of What Glenn Said
    (adapted from What Digby Said)


  12. NorthernLite Says:

    And when it was all over, as a top administration official told me, Obama “didn’t wrap himself around the bravery of those military seals.”

    Indeed, he commended the captain, the SEALs, called for multilateral efforts to stop piracy — and went on the next day to give an economic speech. Indeed, this aide adds, “He’s not about to put on a flight suit on an aircraft carrier and declare mission accomplished.”



    Anyone still doubting this guy and what he’s made of?

  13. shcb Says:


    But my question was have you read it, yes I have, and I understood it.

    Has there been any abuse of the FISA law by the Clinton, Bush, or Obama administrations?

  14. enkidu Says:

    when o when will u grow up lil ricki?
    I’ll answer you when you explain macho mikey’s taxamagical ‘formula’
    until then: Dick Cheney to Pat Leahy on the Senate floor

  15. shcb Says:

    I explained it.

    I take it you haven’t read any of the FISA law, just propaganda, if you had read it you would know that indeed the government can listen in on American citizens if they are suspected of working for a terrorist organization. Making you ignorent of a subject you have no problem commenting on in the strongest terms.

  16. enkidu Says:

    Let me clue you in on something that seems to elude you (and nearly every wwnj extremist I’ve ever encounter online or off). Libs and progs don’t want to repeal, destroy or otherwise kill the FISA law and its amendments. FISA protects Americans from unlawful surveillance by the government. It came about because a wwnj and his cabal were doing all kinds of illegal and immoral acts to maintain and extenend their power. We want the law upheld and law breakers charged. now I know your steady diet of Hannity Rosen Limbaugh and other hate radio crapola leads you to think that libs and progs want to stop the gov from listening in on terrorists (many of whom happen to be American wwnjs btw – see recent DHS report). This, of course, is completely false and not worth a millisecond of ‘debate’ (despite being bellowed with increasing ferocity and stupidity by the wwnjs mentioned previously).

    This is why everyone to the left of you (which is a clear supermajority of sane folks everywhere) mocks you to your face at cocktail parties and other gatherings not militia-related. Why are you a subject of ridicule and scorn? Because you willfully believe blatantly false wwnj propaganda and are dumb enough to open your mouth and say so (over and over and over).

    Just thought you should know.

    btw – no you did not explain why you leave out pieces of the tax rates in macho mike’s taxamagical ‘formula’. Your only explanation was something like “I heard it on hate radio, seemed right(wing) to me, and you libs iz too dum to unerstan” My comparison of effective tax rates is the real world logical math validated comparison of adding 3% to the top rate. Your ‘formula’ is wwnj bullshit.

    have a great dbag day!

  17. shcb Says:

    Just so we’re clear, you haven’t read the FISA law and really don’t know what is in it. Is that correct? I really don’t care, I just want to know what level of knowledge of the subject matter you have. Obviously the post above doesn’t answer that question.

  18. enkidu Says:

    as your reading comprehension is on par with your 4th grader math and reasoning skills, I shall repeat myself in a probably futile effort to communicate:


    For today only I am going to call you dbag instead of wrong wing nut job. Have a great tax day (and yeah, I am pretty unhappy about the largest chunk of my taxes going to red states dbags like you – grrr! grrr I tell you, grrr). In honor of all of the tea bagger astroturf ‘protests’ going on nationwide.

    You have a great tea baggin day there dbag.

  19. enkidu Says:




    ignorance must be such bliss

  20. shcb Says:

    not going to answer the question are you?

  21. enkidu Says:

    But dbag, I did answer it. over and over.
    Here it is one more time.
    I’ll answer you when you answer me.

    I bet you clutch your pearls and totter off claiming victory once again.

  22. shcb Says:

    It’s pretty obvious what the answer to my question is at this point, no and no. you realize I’m just toying with you now don’t you? This is one of the fun parts of listening to talk radio is when a good host has a liberal on the line that just won’t answer the question because they realize it will undermine their point so they just evade and attack. A good host will simply keep asking the question several times until it is obvious what the liberal is doing and then just hang up on the caller. It happens so many times with liberals you can spot it a mile away.

  23. shcb Says:

    it is a simple two part question,

    1. have you read the FISA law?

    2. do you understand what is in it?

  24. enkidu Says:

    There you go again dbag

    When you can actually grow a pair and admit that the ‘formula’ from your fav hate radio show is bunk, then we can talk. Or you actually offer up a coherent explanation as to why your formula includes some data here, but not there, and compares numbers in illogical ways that never do come close to an effective 51% tax rate. Facts is so liberal, eh?

    I’ll answer your questions when you answer mine. So until then it’s a Schrödinger’s Cat sort of situation isn’t it. I know you have a dead cat in your box (ie no logical explanation for the taxamagical ‘formula’) and I think you know full well your formula is dbag bullshit or you would actually try to, you know, explain it. But you can’t call my bluff (or is it?) until you actually open the box and acknowledge your dead cat.

    But do totter off, clutching your pearls and waving your hanky, blubbering about how it’s all the fault of us dumb liberals.

  25. enkidu Says:

    so dbag, you know I am just toying with you right?
    I know you can’t ante up so it is fun to just play with your tiny mind.

  26. shcb Says:

    Well, it doesn’t work that way, I asked you a direct and simple question, I expect a direct answer. While your answering a question with a question, a question I have answered as simply and in as many ways as I can think of, is comical in an annoying sort of way, it doesn’t answer my question. So I guess we’re done here.

  27. enkidu Says:

    Yes it does work that way: I asked you a simple question which you simply won’t answer. So I simply won’t answer your questions (which clearly came after mine) until you answer my question.

    poor widdle dbag, can’t actually explain macho mike’s taxamagical ‘formula’.
    Your hate radio ‘formula’ doesn’t pump a 3% tax increase on the highest bracket up to a effective 51% rate. That is a fact, but you dbags don’t do well with facts.

    Seriously, people laugh in your face and mock you because you don’t have the wit to figure out a math problem that even a 9 year old can understand (and solve correctly). What a douchebag. gfy

  28. shcb Says:

    I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, here is my explanation,

    Now the statement was the “effective rate” is 51%, the reason we use the modifier “effective” is because we are comparing the effect of the change if only the top marginal rate were to change. We aren’t changing the actual percentages, we can’t do that.
    So let’s use your numbers, at 33% and 36% the tax is 66k +108k = 174k and at 36% and 39% it is 72K +117k = 189k just like you said. But the statement is saying what would happen if nothing else changed but the top marginal rate. So what we are concerned with is what percentage of 300k (the wages of the top bracket) would it take to make the difference of the additional taxes of both brackets. 189k-66k = 123k or 41%
    Now let’s use the same formula for someone making 250k, 33% of 200k is 66k, 36% of 50k is 18k for a total of 84k. 36 and 39% gives us a total of $91,500. 91,500 minus 66k is 25,500 and 25,500 is 51% of $50,000.
    For someone making $250,000 the 39% tax bracket represents a 51% EFFECTIVE tax bracket when compared to what he is paying now. Using your numbers.

    Now answer my question.

  29. shcb Says:

    Here is more, this is from today’s headlines:

    Domestic eavesdropping has been a contentious issue since 2005, when the Times revealed that for years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the NSA intercepted international phone conversations and e-mails involving U.S. citizens without a warrant.

    That program ended in 2007, and the following year Congress passed legislation requiring the NSA to get court approval to monitor the purely domestic communications of Americans who came under suspicion.

    Compare that to:

    I think we just want the FISA law upheld. Meaning (and this is as simply as one can put it) no spying on Americans without a court order.

    So why did congress feel the need to pass a law if the FISA law already made it illegal to spy on Americans? The point here is that you don’t know diddly squat of the subject matter you pontificate about. But of course you aren’t the one with his episiotomy broken because you are in the best of company of people that don’t know diddly, making me a rarity.

  30. enkidu Says:

    you are a laugh riot dbag – ooops, back to wrong wing nut job it is
    tea bagger day is over (I’m sure your wing(nut)man lefty was busy)

    yes yes, I read that clip, quite a while ago, but it is still broken: an effective tax rate is the cumulative total tax. Perhaps you could look it up or refer to knarly’s links. Your taxamagical ‘formula’ compares part of one effective rate to just part of another, all to the end of pumping up the rate (slightly, no where near your claimed effective 51% rate).

    Since we are forced yet again to give you remedial instruction:

    My math is simple and direct.
    A person pays taxes.
    Under plan A he pays X amount.
    Under plan B he pays Y amount.
    compare the two

    Your formula is somethign like: income A x tax rate% and income A x tax rate%+3% then framistat subtracted by gazignazoid = 51%! Socialism, also!

    you just don’t know what the fuck you are talking about (as usual).

    – – – –

    I have read the FISA bill etc. Since you obviously haven’t read the bill or its amendments, please allow reality to intrude just for a moment:

    You really don’t have any idea what you are talking about do you? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/us/16nsa.html?_r=2&pagewanted=2&hp

    I wonder how many times they broke the law? We’ll never know if the Obama administration keeps stonewalling on executive privilege and domestic spying abuses. This is the bipartisanship that Obama promised: letting go of these abuses to focus on the future. I think this is a mistake as it just lets the perps go free to do this kind of crap again and again.

    I think we should be tapping every single call in and out of Saudi Arabia and any other country we damn well please. But if you want to tap the comm of Americans, get a court order within three days or it is illegal and (at least as important) inadmissible. We used to be a nation of Laws, but the shrubco junta thought the US Constitution was (in dumbya’s words) “jes a gawdam piece a paper!” wwnjs just don’t get it. We want the law upheld and those who broke it brought before a court of Law. Simple.

    ps – I know you think it ‘smart’ to include big words, but episiotomy doesn’t mean what you think it means (again, this is remedial as we’ve been over this before). Epistemology is the word you are looking for. I’ll just put you down for too stupid to understand.

    pps – owned again

  31. shcb Says:

    your New York Times piece is about lasy year’s law not during the Bush administration. If you had read the Fisa law why didn’t you just say so? You probably just now found the text of the damn thing.

  32. enkidu Says:

    Lassie year? lazy year? last(?) year would be during the bush administration (not sure how the calendar works over in your Wingnutoverse)

    You just don’t get it do you? We want a intelligence gathering operation that safeguard’s American rights and privacy. The FISA law came about because a Rethugglican president was caught red-handed breaking our laws (of course his veep let him off the hook, typical). For cryin out loud the NSA wanted to tap a Congressman without a warrant! I can only imagine how many times the shrubco junta actually broke the law…

    But you are the wwnj extremist who thinks bush never broke any laws. Ever.
    Careful how you respond as I know I can dig that up. Just as I know the cat in your box is dead (ie you still can’t offer a coherent explanation of your taxamagical ‘formula’). My math is real world, yours is taxamagical.

    Seriously, have you ever had a thought that was fact-based?
    I’ll wait. (crickets)

  33. enkidu Says:

    o drat, now you’ll declare VICTORY! because I added a apostrophe to “safeguards”

  34. enkidu Says:

    I’ll put you down for “never had a fact-based thought”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.