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05 February 2013



"Bang, you’re dead, you insipient terrorist you Next case please."

or "Bang, you’re dead, you incipient terrorist you We know what you're going to be thinking. Next case please. "

Ben Emery

I just posted this on FB to the dislike of many Obama supporters I am sure. Criminal and unjust behavior creates more criminal unjust behavior.

Please someone tell me how this is any different or better than the Bush administration justification on torture? Due Process is found in the US Constitution 5th and 14th Amendments.

Due Process- A fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one's life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, Arbitrary, or capricious.


Russ Steele

Yes, and from a Nobel Peace Prize winner at that. Who is next, dissent bloggers?

George Rebane

But is this not what happens when we declare our Constitution to be a dated and irrelevant document the adherence to which is now optional?

One could hope that this revelation will bring about a debate that leads to a renaissance of constitutionalism, but I'm afraid that is wishful thinking. The signs (as also reported here) have been evident for some time that our government is girding to fight its citizens - its preparations clearly indicate that they anticipate mass civil unrest and uprisings within our borders.

And the begging question is what more do they have in store for us that would cause such a violent response from rank and file Americans. Clearly, so far we have been very quiet and compliant to all the insults already delivered to our body politic. What more is coming?

Michael Anderson

Due process (and habeous corpus) have been taking it in the shorts for over a century. Here's a case in point: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/haywood/HAY_SCTO.HTM

I'm not making excuses for Obama, this latest white paper you cite is heinous.

Bill Tozer

Good to see 100% agreement on this matter. Hugs and kisses to all.


I believe Abraham Lincoln was the first president to wave off the Constitution in order to ignore the right to Habeas Corpus, which keeps me from the ranks of Lincoln fans.

An assassination by any other name would smell as foul.

Brad Croul

What, exactly, is the government going to fight the citizenry over -not going to work, not paying their taxes, telling the government that they suck, or what?

George Rebane

BradC 1219pm - Would that we knew. But fear not, if they intend to put their preparations to use, they will tell us and also advise us why resistance would be futile (as progressive commenters have already started advising everyone).

Ben Emery

To your Abraham Lincoln comment. It was John Adams enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts. What an interesting person, he defended the British Soldiers in Boston Massacre and then once in the presidency totally abused his powers denying people their day in court amongst their peers. Goes to show no matter how much things change they stay the same.

Paul Emery

Let's add drone attacks to the list of illegal actions of the US government. They involve the violation of sovereignty of nations something that we would not tolerate here. Imagine if an Arab nation started lobbing big ones over here to take out their enemies. Oh yes, they did that. It was 9-11. In the cited situation it was an American on foreign soil that was targeted.

Once again I'm with Ron Paul on this.

The targeted killing of Yemeni-based al-Qaeda "cleric" Anwar Al-Awlaki was guaranteed to be a flashpoint for controversy because it was essentially a White House-sanctioned assassination of an American citizen. Not surprisingly, it was Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who quickly moved to stake out what will no doubt become the minority position on the GOP side."


Brad Croul

Possible preparations for bringing down aircraft, hijacked by terrorists, that are in restricted airspace over Superbowl games, or are heading into densely populated areas?

Ben Emery

You are starting to get on the American Exceptionalists nerves with all of your rational examples. Ron Paul because of these types of issues would have had my vote in November if he was on the ballet. Jill Stein is in the same camp as Paul so she received my vote instead. Paul would get the nod because he is tried and tested with these policies and he gets an A on consistency.

I will give a legitimate example and see who is honest or not.

Mexico is having huge problems with drug associated violence. In fact so much so the US government and US citizens are arming and funding much of the gangs/ cells who are responsible for much of the violence. Mexican government then passes a war on drugs resolution that equates any nation that supports these gangs/ cells an enemy to Mexico. Mexico begins a drone bombing campaign based on covert evidence in drug houses all over the US Southwest, they justify this by naming and labeling the murdered as heads of local drug cells/ gangs as justification. During these bombings from unmanned drones a few hundred children are murdered and thousands of innocent Americans are killed but are deemed collateral damage in Mexico's war on drugs.

What would or what should the US do in response?

George Rebane

BenE 158pm - Among nations 'might makes right' is still an operative rule. Mexican UAVs would never make it across the border, they would be shot down over Mexico. Would that the Taliban or Pakistanis or Iranian ragheads could do the same, they would. Next question.

Paul Emery

So George, is there any reason for international law?

George Rebane

PaulE 237pm - excellent question. The only purpose international law seems to serve is that it provides an aura of legitimacy when a certain group of already powerful countries want to gang up on another country. How do you see it?

Ben Emery

Follow up question in your reasoning, how does might make right fit into libertarian, free market, or natural right paradigm? It fundamentally violates all of them in my opinion.

Paul Emery

Okay George Your view is might makes right, hell with international law.

Here's Ron Pauls take on international law concerning the invasion of Iraq as an example of the Libertarian view on International Law

"I'm saying we should take our marching orders from our Constitution. We should not go to war...without a declaration. We should not go to war when it's an aggressive war. This is an aggressive invasion. We've committed the invasion of this war, and it's illegal under international law. That's where I take my marching orders, not from any enemy." Fox News Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Durham, NH, 9/5/07

Paul Emery

Oh yeah


George Rebane

PaulE 816pm - First reread my 237pm; you do have that tendency of a moralistic progressive to put words in people's mouths.

Recall that BenE (158pm) gave a farfetched hypothetical to which I replied with a reasonable and realistic answer. And from that you are trying get some cheap points. In what forum does international law get adjudicated and enforced? By the UN which, after sixty years of silence in the face of millions of state ordained deaths, today announced that N Korea's unspeakable gulag "may" have violated some human rights?

Citing Ron Paul as if he were the Archangel of God gains no truck with me. I have made myself very clear on his and libertarian views on America's foreign policy. If you want to continue this thread, behave yourself.

Paul Emery

George re Ron Paul

I agree I may be leaning on him a bit but he is the most articulate spokesperson I know for expressing what I consider to fundamental constitutional values. I find it necessary to contrast your rather messy view of foreign policy and American Empire with a more refined vision. There are several Libertarian types who subscribe to this blog that in my view appreciate his vision of Americas role in modern history. I'm not sure what props up your view on these matters other than your own rhetoric.

George Rebane

BenE 758pm - I responded to your farfetched scenario (see also my 905pm to PaulE). I can't answer for libertarians and natural rights advocates, but the promotion of free markets (with caveats) is not also a suicide pact. The world is what it is, and in my eyes the advent of America, warts and all, has contributed more to global human welfare than any nation preceding it.

Those who speak platitudes of international law have shown themselves to be killers in the end. None sang its praises higher than the USSR, and today it is hailed by all the scoundrels that meet at Turtle Bay. Spare me.

My concern here is that the country's promised fundamental transformation is taking us into a realm where our government becomes a rogue unto its own people. That seems to be a hard topic for the Left to focus on. Cue the diversions and let's instead talk about the evils of America.


George, other venues have mentioned people such as Timothy McVeigh so I'll pose the question: You're in charge of a drone command near Oklahoma City. You just spotted McVeigh driving a Ryder Truck toward OC. You find out it has 5000 lbs of ammonium nitrate on board and he's publicly stated his hatred of the federal government. Logic tells you he's either going to blow up something with the whole truck, which would be catastrophic, or possibly take it somewhere clandestine, unload, and make smaller bombs. (Now, obviously, you don't know CONCLUSIVELY that he's going to bomb ANYTHING.... but you're got approx. 5 minutes to decide and there are no police in the immediate area.) The Murrah building is the closest large government building to his position. He's still on the outskirts of town, in a relatively unpopulated area. He's an American citizen, not known to have broken any laws ............. do you let him enter the city or take him out?

Next question: is this really the kind of situation the Justice Department white paper is aiming to address? I'm not defending/opposing the position but trying to look at the real-time life and death decisions authorities are called to make. You don't have time to serve McVeigh with a restraining order, take him into custody, or anything else. (I don't want to deal with any theoretical "abuse" of this power here, just get your answer to this specific case.)

Brad Croul

Fuzz, spike strips would be fine. Shooting at a bomb is not advised.

Ben Emery

So lets get back to my example of Mexico. I understand your response as being the truth. What I am also reading is that if Mexico had the ability/ power to send in drones they would be justified in doing so because they have enough might to back it up, am I reading your position correctly?


Brad, I would love to have spike strips, but, as I pointed out in my scenario, there are no police in the area. You either take him out now, or he enters dense population. Then it's too late.

Brad Croul

Ben, I think that sums up US foreign policy in a nutshell. We get to drone your asses (I mean, assets), and we will nuke you (or at least invade you and thrash your country) if you give us any grief about it.

George Rebane

Fuzz 1026pm - Your scenario is an obvious red herring with the situation cast in a highly improbable way. If the officer at the trigger believes that McVeigh has the means, motive, and opportunity to cause mass murder or mayhem at his destination, and it's a now or never situation, then he kills McVeigh. It is no different than a police officer seeing a heavily armed gunman heading into a school, theater, mall, bank, ... .

George Rebane

BenE 801pm - You are correctly reading my interpretation of what Mexico would most likely do. And our options then would be to file grievances with the UN,The Hague,..., or correct the situation, or pound sand. That is a reality that will remain as long as there exist sovereign nation states.

Two dicta dominate here: 1) All power grows out the barrel of a gun. (Mao) 2) The pen is mightier than a sword only to the extent that it can motivate the sword. (Rebane)

Paul Emery


In your view was the US government justified in the drone assassination in Yemen of Anwar Al-Awlaki , an American citizen ?

Ben Emery

It is in the US interest to suppress/ oppress other nations so they cannot have my example as an option. If we take a birds eye view of this what makes the actions of the United States of America different from what England was doing to the American Colonies 250 years ago?

We must be the change we want to see in the world

To achieve the lofty heights of human potential we have to live in the realm of cooperation not domination


Drones carry two missiles capable of big booms. Launch one so that is blows up the road, a safe distance in front of the truck. If truck stops, or turns around and goes slowly away, you fix the road. If truck speeds up and avoid the hole, gett'em with the second missile. As I've pointed out before, having baby drones in an accompaning drone ship would allow for much more detailed examination of potential targets.


BTW, the Headmaster of the Golden Calf Academy of "Hard" Math and Science misunderstands the usefulness of my blog. I could care less about gaining readers there as a separate entity. It's a great time saving device for posting out previously used thoughts, as in this and many other cases.

Would I buy a used thought from Keachie? They're just as good as used aircraft, unless you happen to be in South Africa.

George Rebane

PaulE 907pm - Tough question - would expect nothing less from you ;-)

Existentially YES, procedurally NO. To have done it properly, we should require something that is at least as weighty (and subsequently on the record and public) as a search warrant prior to search, before executing one of our own. For example, there is plenty of time to put a lot of known domestic ragheads on a 'kill list' that is appropriately vetted. Of course, such niceties can be dispensed with if there occurs a 'heat of the moment' where kill or be killed rules.

And none of this need be done for foreign targets belonging to organizations that are established and active enemies of America.

BenE 911am - I think we have circled the Brits vs colonies barn already, but another lap won't hurt. Britain was the legitimate and putative 'owner' of the colonies, and could then do pretty much as any government can do to its people (witness Team Obama today). And, of course, the colonists could and did successfully rebel. Had it been unsuccessful, there would have been a lot of hangings and other civil unrest in the land (we recall that only 1/3 were overtly patriots, 1/3 'undecideds' waiting to see who won, and 1/3 loyalists. In any case, might would have made right in the winners' eyes.

The US is not pounding on its colonies, but arguing a new world order in which the mighty are justified in taking preemptive actions to defend/preserve themselves. Can't argue the justice of it on a planetary scale, but can from a parochial perspective. Being a hegemon is hard.

As a sovereign nation state, never attempt to achieve the lofty heights of human potential unilaterally, for you will die at the hands of those who have no such lofty achievements in mind. (Rebane)


Most UAV's don't carry arms, and the USAF can't patrol the USA in peacetime with UAV's equipped with rocket propelled bombs anymore than the Marines or Army can patrol the streets.

Assuming we stay with 'consent of the governed', international law isn't what the UN says it is, it's what the USA has agreed to by treaty, duly negotiated and ratified.

While I agree with Ron Paul on most things, he's wrong about the justification for resumption of the Iraq war. It was started when they invaded and acquired Kuwait, there was a cease fire whose terms were violated, then it got finished. If the resumption was against international law then so were all the operations flown by Brits and Americans over Iraqi territory in protection of Kurds and Shia under the auspices of the cease fire.

The best time to not get involved was the first time around; unfortunately, the US wasn't listening to Libertarians in general and Paul specifically back then.

Ben Emery

As England found out having colonies is expensive so having military and economic hostages is more the oppressive route the US plays in its foreign policies. The US pounds any nation that has our resources on or under their land that isn't friendly to US corporations extracting them. We pound them first through propaganda that leads to economic sanctions, international pressure, and preemptive invasions.

I was out with the horses when a moment of clarity struck me. We or at least I do this dance around what just became clear but never really pin it down. It probably fits into the great divide conversation. You do not believe in self determination in practice so you view our government as an other not us. So less government means better government. Where I believe the government is supposed to be us and a reflection of what we as an entire nation want. By seeing the government as an other makes it easier to use government as a hammer for domination or demonize it for its policies being separate from ourselves/ culture. When seeing the government as us, we push for policies that reflect our empathetic values and reject oppressive policies because it doesn't represent our values.

One is out of fear and the other is out of desire.

George Rebane

BenE 1014am - You seamlessly slide from discussing historical realities to erroneous attributions of what I believe. (A standard practice for the leftward leaning.) Your second paragraph is an illustrative yet still amazing example of misconstruance. Perhaps if you stuck to asking questions instead of weaving whole cloth.

Ben Emery

I will put it in more direct terms.

When broken down by your positions not your grand statements. You do not believe in a government of participatory citizens but rather subjects to a ruling class/ elite with the caveat of your personal perceived position of being in the established elite.

What made the Declaration Of Independence and US Constitution great is it spoke of and created citizens that shaped their own government not subjects. As citizens we are loyal to each other through our government not subjected to the decisions of a ruling elite. There is a very interesting story behind this idea of citizen instead of subject in the Declaration Of Independence.

Ben Emery

Talk about weaving whole cloth, you are the master of it. Over the last couple of years I have direct questions of you and to your credit you answer most of them honestly and some you dodge. It is these honest answers where I shape my opinion of your positions no where else.


"Where I believe the government is supposed to be us and a reflection of what we as an entire nation want."

And here I was laboring under the illusion the Federal government was supposed to be what the authorizing document, the Constitution, said it was to be. That whole "consent of the governed" vision thing.


A "Like" for Ben Emery, 10:46 am

George Rebane

BenE 1046am - You persist in being wrong. There is not a single "position" of mine you can cite that supports your (mis)understanding of my beliefs.

But I do take strong exception to your revealing statement that "As citizens we are loyal to each other through our government ..." That is exactly what Americans are not. Our loyalty to each other is through our shared values and mores, and not through the designed auspices of the current government to which we pay taxes, which may or not represent such shared values and mores.

The freedom to do that is the entire foundation of our Founders' legacy. The government they left us is necessarily of limited powers (read the Constitution), and its power or function to engender/compel inter-personal loyalty among Americans is definitely one not to be found anywhere. Thank you for the comment though, it does highlight some of the real differences that collectivists and conservetarians expect from government.

Ben Emery

Here is a link and transcript you might want to read about the Saddam and US relationship when it comes to Kuwait 1990. I read it as US gave parental permission to do what they had to do without any interference or repercussions from the US government.

Transcript of Meeting Between Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. – July 25, 1990 (Eight days before the August 2, 1990 Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait)

Key statement in transcript
"U.S. Ambassador Glaspie – We have no opinion on your Arab – Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960′s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)"

Ben Emery

"That is exactly what Americans are not. Our loyalty to each other is through our shared values and mores," And what common medium to we all share that represents those values and mores?

George Rebane

BenE 1059am - The common medium is determined and practiced freely at the grass roots level. It is most certainly not our federal government, and most certainly not in the historically polarized land in which we live today. You must be writing these notes from Mars.


The beauty of America is that it allows many and often opposed against a whole range of non-in-common values, subcultures, to survive within one nation. Geerally most subcultures do agree on transportation, but the gas guzzler vs high speed rail subcultures would basically wipe one another off the map, if they could get away with it.

Ben Emery

You and I agree on the size and scope of our federal government is way to big and overreaching. The federal government should represent the interests of the nation as whole not inserting itself into little nooks and crannies of local and state governments.

As a nation and rightly so we agreed that education is a top investment for a functional society/ culture/ nation. As long as we funded that public education we as a nation were functional but in a very unstable way. A democratic republic if functioning properly is always having social movements to improve the lives of those who don't have equal opportunity/ access to the tools that create a middle class, which should be in my opinion the largest and most dominate of the three SES classes in the developed world. As this phenomena becomes reality the movements lose their fervor. During the progressive era of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ along with a 40 run of an actual liberal Democratic controlled House of Representatives we saw a functioning democratic republic. It scared the daylights out of those who choose social stability over equality.

So in the aftermath of the "radical" 60's a memorandum was produced and totally embraced by the social stability corporate conservatives and they went into action. If you would truly look at the development of accumulated wealth and the size of our federal government you would see as the tax incentives, trade policies, over reaching regulations, and the accumulation of wealth became more concentrated the federal government turned into a pure profit center for private industry with all of the push for privatizing/ profitizing the commons. In the quote below what Mr Raynes didn't indicate is where the business world was being mostly affected was with the commons/ infrastructure that we as a nation were agreeing upon.

Here is where the modern day government was put concisely into a small memo and the corporate world took it and ran with it. The Lewis Powell Memorandum 1971.

US Chamber of Commerce Burt Raynes 1972

"We have been in New York since before the turn of the century, because
we regarded this city as the center of business and industry.
But the thing that affects business most today is government. The
interrelationship of business with business is no longer so important
as the interrelationship of business with government. In the last several
years, that has become very apparent to us"

George Rebane

BenE 1219pm - good piece and links. Would like to get a better understanding of your use of "commons" viz Hardin's definition. And also important would be your own views of the cited memos.

I (we?) fully agree with Raynes "The interrelationship of business with business is no longer so important as the interrelationship of business with government." That and the resulting mangled markets is why corporate welfare is so destructive.

The solution, in my lights, is still to starve the beast so that it is funded to perform only its minimalist functions.

Problem yet unresolved and misunderstood - the realities of generation and distribution of wealth in a technology spurred capitalist economy that seeks to sustainably provide an ever increasing quality of life to Americans.


A buddy of mine gave me a new sign to put up down at the gate.

" Due to the price increase and high demand
on ammunition... Do NOT expect a warning shot!
Thank You for your understanding..."

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