Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yoo Boob

John Yoo, professional torture apologist, , offers up absurdity on toast from the pages of the New York Times today.

How the Presidency Regained Its Balance - New York Times

The changes of the 1970’s occurred largely because we had no serious national security threats to United States soil, but plenty of paranoia in the wake of Richard Nixon’s use of national security agencies to spy on political opponents. Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution, which purports to cut off presidential uses of force abroad after 60 days. It passed the Budget and Impoundment Act to eliminate the modest presidential power to rein in wasteful spending. The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act required the government to get a warrant from a special court to conduct wiretapping for national security reasons.

These statutes have produced little but dysfunction, from flouting of the war powers law, to ever-higher pork barrel spending, to the wall between intelligence and law enforcement that contributed to our failure to stop the 9/11 attacks.

If there has been a more absurd statement from a conservative recently, it does not come to mind. I seem to recall that such folks generally considered the Cold War to consititute a serious national security threat to U.S. soil.

Similarly idiotic rewriting of history abounds:

The judiciary, too, has been increasingly assertive over the last three decades. It has shown far less deference to the executive in this war than in past conflicts. This energetic judiciary is partly a response to Congress’s bulked-up power; the courts have had to step in to try to repair the problems created by vague laws that try to do too much, that state grandiose goals, while avoiding hard policy choices.

Hello, Yoofus? Remember Youngstown Steel in the 50's? Truman tried to nationalize steel production, and the Supremes yanked his choke collar? Remember the way civil rights happened in the 60's? Remember Roe v. Wade? And you are going to tell me that since that time, the Supremes have been more assertive?

As usual, Greeenwald is on the case. The real outrage is that the NYT consistently offers such absurdity its platform.

Update: Josh Marshall makes the same point as well.

So If an influential Republican penned an OpEd arguing that the moon is made of green cheese, the Jews sunk the Titanic, and Green M&Ms are an aphrodesiac, would they run that, too? Is there no filtering for absurdity or outrage?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Yoo lives in a magical fairy tale world, where the founding fathers rebelled against Great Britain because King George exercised too little executive power, and the Cold War was only something that existed in James Bond movies. I think of him as a real life Jar Jar Binks, who wants desperatly to give emergency powers to President Palpatine.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it seems to you that you are on the side which insists on using logic, reason and rationale (this means an explanation suported by rationality, not a rationalization -- I know YOU know John, but this is for the ones that don't), and the other guys don't, won't and couldn't give a rat's ass about logical support for positions, yours or theirs, then I have the following conundrum for you:

Since the other side won't be bound or swayed by logic, what do you think you are doing? Either appeal to them with irrational emotional arguments (they've already got experts doing that so lotsa luck), keep your mouth shut, or shoot 'em. There aren't any other LOGICAL choices. Certainly applying logic directly (as in: "take that FACT you nasty rat bastard and PROVE me wrong") is a failure by definition.

BTW -- their position is not stupid. They know they can't win a logical discussion. They're just evil, unadorned.


5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it sure didn't take long for the next example of wtf to pop up:

Google NEWS this afternoon (note the category of this NEWS):


Player: 'They started shooting for no reason' - 31 minutes ago
Two Duquesne players injured in a random shooting on campus remain at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh while one is expected to be released Monday and two others have already been released. Ashaolu, a Toronto ...
5 Duquesne basketball players shot Seattle Post Intelligencer
Campus shooting - five wounded News24
CBC News - The Age - Capital News 9 - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
all 360 news articles »
Noted yesterday on RAW story: Google wants to cooperate with the Republicans (in distorting the news?)
Maybe I missed something. Is there now an olympic sport called "Shooting your classmates"? How about "Rigging an election freestyle"?


5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back on topic: John Yoo is breaking no new ground. This was all foretold over 25 years ago. I strongly urge you to read the opinions of Edwin Meese, AG to one of "the most beloved presidents ever", Ronald Reagan. Who has the balls to say they had no warning? Or, that there's still time to...?


6:07 PM  
Blogger bluememe said...


I don't agree.

I won't say that resorting to emotion is pointless, because I can imagine a scenario where it would work. A populist, class-based argument might eventually work. I've already pointed in that direction. But making class a winner for progressive politics is probably a twenty or thirty year project.

And, TA, your invitation to violence will continue to fall upon deaf ears here. Democracy at the point of a gun is no more likely here than in Iraq.

We are not going to embarrass Yoo or Bush or Rove into admitting their irrationality. But perhaps we can shame the New York Times and Newsweek and the like into calling bullshit once in a while. Maybe a handful of conservative folks who think of themselves as reality based will slowly back away from the ballot box. Maybe on the margins a few small things will change, and in a closely divided country, maybe that will be enough.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the response. However, I must point out that I am STILL not advocating violence in any sense that I should ever be prosecuted for (of course they're crazy so I try to stay out of their reach). Instead I listed the only logical choices a rational person would seem to have. If you see other choices please state them. Since appeals to emotion, patriotism, religion, and free booze (at select times such as when there is an election taking place), are the reason the vox are silent and therefore have always been claimed by the bad guys, you would have several thousand years of skill honing to catch up with the professional manipulators' toolkits. That leaves two other possibilities IF YOU WANT TO HAVE AN EFFECT. One is to shoot bad guys. The other, which you don't seem to have picked up on for discussion, is silence. There are many kinds of silence and the most profound thoughts or insights often come from that place. If you are just addressing us "believers" in your blog, then I am not suggesting you be quiet. But if you think that this discourse will have an impact on the body p, you are sadly mistaken. By the way, note that I didn't say "kill 'em all and let god sort it out" (the professional manipulators have copyrighted that one), or anything like it. If violence will be considered by a rational person as a possibly acceptable means to an end, then that violence must be undertaken with utmost intelligence, else we are the bad guys. Thus, we are back to that silent place where insight can strike. Being truly smart is kinda like what Ginger Rogers said about dancing. She said that she did everything Fred did, but dancing backwards in high heels. Effective intelligence must be more than simple math skills or a knowledge of political history. If you want things different, they have to actually be different than anything humans have ever seen before. The stub-toe point comes right at the beginning – we have to begin working with what's here now, not wait for some different climate to somehow 'emerge' by itself. And, what's here now are men (and some women) who are so ruthless that there is nothing they won't do to get and keep power, including literally wreck the planet for human beings. Rationality is less than a puff of air to them. You must learn to think backwards and do it in high heels.

One last point: there is a common misperception that some "democracies" were invented and run by the masses, and we're not just excepting the non democracy of early Greece either. This is NOT true. The idea of democracy was invented by rich guys who realized that wars were usually an inefficient way of settling matters. So, they got some other guys (less rich wannabes) to agree with their particular self-serving point of view and then declared that they were only doing the will of the people as an elected representative (slow motion mob action, but NOT democracy). It's never been about class. It was always, in every form, a method for the self serving to get their own, whether they were starting with a lot or with nothing. The guy who had the most other guys agreeing with him just happened to also be the guy who was likely the most able to raise an army if need be, to enforce his point of view. That's why the other contenders didn't immediately try a coup every time they lost an issue or an election. If we cannot admit the truth of the past, there is zero chance for change in the future. You can't return to what never was. There has never been a democracy started or propelled by the people. Indeed, democracy has yet to be born. Cite an exception please.

Whaddya think?

11:41 AM  

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