Tuesday, April 21, 2009


update: Dear Conservative Americans, TPM 3.23.2010

. . .. oOo .. . .
C: Thought this might be of interest.
I: it was. thank you. i am heartened by the character of the debate. it feels to me like these issues are moving into the light, where they belong.
C: Debate always good. Lying to get elected always bad, but all too common.
I: well, unlike you and the wsj editorialist, it is too early for me to reach conclusions about the nature of the obama adminstration's positions and actions. for example, the obama administration's legal positions (especially to the extent they advance some of the same arguments of the predecessor administration) may be interpreted as merely presenting the question appropriately to the other co-equal branches of government.

To the courts: advancing legal positions has the effect of squarely (and appropriately) asking for an adjudication. Whatever the arguments on the merits of the issue, the obama administration is here recognizing the judiciary's check on executive power. The administration's positions may be upheld or overturned; but they will needs be decided! To the extent the administration merely drops the arguments, that moots the question for the courts, removing it from judicial purview. These questions have perhaps never been so cleanly teed-up, with so vivid and complete a factual record. The obama administration's actions are (so far as I can tell, anyway) dramatically increasing the possibility that the questions will receive appropriate jurisprudential and public scrutiny. Which may have a dramatic influence in bringing about a world resembling the one evoked by obama's campaign rhetoric decrying the previous administration's policies. That is, a world in which our constitutional principles have been restored, and in which the rule of law exists and applies.

To Congress: Similarly, the Obama administration's positions, e.g., with regard to prosecutions of previous administration officials, have been criticized as inconsistent with previous campaign rhetoric. Yet, the administration's positions and actions have the effect of teeing up the issues for analysis and investigation by an appropriately independent DOJ, as well as by the Congress. Much work is being done, and we will shortly be seeing some more of the results, which will at the very least inform our own ability to analyze what is going on, and whether it is good or bad, or a lie or what-have-you.
C: Hmmm.

Seems to me there was no advancing in the courts (Ninth Circuit) of Bush's wire tapping policies, much to the consternation of the judges. Not much public scrutiny here, only bashing Bush while doing the same thing that he was. Besides that the Constitution grants the President powerful tools to defend the country from attack that were never intended to be adjudicated.

The rule of law will mean that people who want to cut our heads off with a steak knife while chanting to their God (see Berg video) will all claim they were tortured and their cases will be thrown out and they will be released. (By the way if you have not had the stomach to watch this you really should. Kind of puts the threat that civil society faces from these folks in perspective).

Hopefully my family will not suffer the consequences.

I think our enemies are laughing at Obama and preventing another 9-11 should be done by any means in order to preserve civil liberties. If there is another 9-11, I doubt there will be many left.

Extraordinary times require new and sometimes extreme measures. See FDR wiretapping anyone, at any time, for any reason without a warrant. And then of course the small infringement on Japanese American's civil liberties. Another minor matter when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. These actions, while violating the rule of law, ultimately preserved civil liberties for all and did not result in the creation of a police state.

Just like with a sausage it is sometimes best to not know what is going into it.
[I]: Sounds like Peggy Noonan:

C: Brave men are doing, or were doing, difficult things so we can sleep warm and safe at night. Why hamper their efforts by granting people who want to kill you and me the constitutional rights of an American citizen? To make it easier for them?

What you refer to as work appears to me to be politics at its worst - essentially maintaining many of the same policies while bashing those that created them. Very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback while forgetting the post 9-11 environment that the Bush administration was faced with.

Finally if you are going to release details about CIA methods why not include the results that those methods were responsible for? But then again I am sure we could have gotten the same thing by yelling at them.

I remain hopeful that those who believe in the rule of law will keep a close eye on this administration and speak out just as forcefully as they did against Bush. I am certain there will be ample opportunity to do so, like 90% tax rates for certain groups etc.

Small government, low taxes, and free markets!!
I: speaking of FDR:

"Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

... You and I are definitely not perceiving anything like the same elephant -- I don't know what-all you base your opinions on, but they come out sounding a lot like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and the neoconservatives, and Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove's politics of fear. Sure there are scary terrorists out there with steak knives, etc. ... But geez, calm down. Don't let your reason continue to be hijacked by fear. The sky is not falling. Open your mind and pay attention, using the tools of the information age. You have to read something other than the WSJ and that same old echo chamber.

As I wrote to you last May, my own politics are guided by principles which I believe are not, fundamentally, in conflict with yours. I think we just have very, very different understandings of the facts and of the processes by which understandings of the facts are formulated. I do value your friendship, and I still think it is worthwhile to continue to work to understand each other's views and find common ground.

By 'processes by which understandings of the facts are formulated,' I mean something along the lines of the following (also from our May 2008 exchange):
  • We are seeing the emergence of filtering, accreditation, and synthesis mechanisms as part of network behavior. These rely on clustering of communities of interest and association ... but offer tremendous redundancy of paths for expression and accreditation. These practices leave no single point of failure for discourse: no single point where observations can be squelched or attention commanded – by fiat or with the application of money. Because of these emerging systems, the networked information economy is solving the information overload and discourse fragmentation concerns without introducing the distortions of the mass-media model. Peer production ... is providing some of the most important functionalities of the media. These efforts provide a watchdog, a source of salient observations regarding matters of public concern, and a platform for discussing the alternatives open to a polity. [Benkler, The Wealth of Networks 271-72.]
  • While there is enormous diversity on the Internet, there are also mechanisms and practices that generate a common set of themes, concerns, and public knowledge around which a public sphere can emerge. Any given site is likely to be within a very small number of clicks away from a site that is visible from a very large number of other sites, and these form a backbone of common materials, observations, and concerns. ... Users self-organize to filter the universe of information that is generated in the network. This self-organization includes a number of highly salient sites that provide a core of common social and cultural experiences and knowledge that can provide the basis for a common public sphere, rather than a fragmented one. [Benkler, The Wealth of Networks 256; see also].
C: Maybe you should come talk to some of my Irish friends who were in the towers on 9-11 and tell them they have nothing to fear. That would be an interesting conversation that I would pay money to watch.

My opinions are rooted in historical fact and not the product of any news organizations. Appeasement of ones enemies has never worked and it never will. The FDR quote you site is referring to the economy and not external threats.

I always find it interesting that the left attacks the messenger (Bill O'Reilly, Limbaugh etc.) rather than sticking to the details at hand. So one more time, did FDR's and Lincoln's actions merit prosecution or where they actions taken that were necessary given the conditions at the time? Is Israel a police state where there are no civil rights or are they just doing what is necessary to stay alive, realizing that civil rights are of no use if you are dead?

... You have the luxury of not fearing people who openly state their desire to kill Americans wherever they can be found. The President does not have that luxury. He can not sit quietly while people, who are in the country illegally, are learning to fly jet planes while showing no interest in how to land them -- see Bill Clinton and Janet Reno.

Anyway I think we simply need to agree to disagree. I believe that people checking out books on how to wage Jihad and build dirty bombs should get a visit from the FBI and you do not. ([I]: You don't know what I believe.)

While [my wife] might look OK in a Burka [my daughter] would not.
I: ok, I agree to disagree.

and FDR was talking about fear not being a good strategy. that's what I'm talking about.

[I]: Obama, 5/16/2008

Sen. Leahy 4.22.2009
"I kind of like to read the page before I turn it."

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