Can’t Run, Can’t Hide, Can’t Sunbathe

President Obama claims the right to assassinate anyone, anywhere, for any reason, including a US citizen in a foreign country against whom no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented to the public.

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  • My Dearest President Obama,

    I am a true supporter of you and your administration. While others may sometimes doubt your decisions and the efficacy of the means you choose to effectuate these decisions, I have been steadfast in my faith in your good intentions, your desire to make America the best it has ever been, and your ability to achieve whatever you set out to do.

    Yes We Can. And because we, as a nation, believe in the purity of your goodness we have chosen you to act for us on our behalf, so I say to you “Yes You Can!”

    We have a government that no longer places a high value on the rule of law and the well being of the people of this great nation. I believe you have become president in order that the great wrongs inflicted on the people of this nation will be rectified. So many of us have lost faith in the ability of the courts to maintain a system of justice worthy of this nation.

    In light of the failures of the courts, my great faith in you, and my opinion that we are now living in a great state of exception, I ask you to bring the enemies of America to their just deserts. Just because some of the great enemies of America are American citizens should not exempt them from swift and sure justice. And just because we have not foreseen the great evils that were committed by these American citizens, and have failed to write laws prior to the commission of their great crimes—albeit, perhaps, only violations of the spirit of the law—this mere technicality should not preempt their prosecution and execution.

    I respectfully ask that you use your legal power to kill George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Hank Paulson. “Yes You Can!” American will owe you a great debt for your brave and decisive action on this matter.

    Yes You Can.
    Thank You,

  • Another piece of ridiculous hyperbole from the left; another demonstration of why they are ignored by the political class.

  • a. Johnny Mnemonic, not “Memnonic” which sounds (and looks) “moronic”
    b. Keanu Reeves = “fiery”? Since when? I always thought he looked more like a piece of lumber with moving parts.
    c. @Whimsical: Then why are you here?
    d. @Ted: Other than pts. a and b, another great strip. This really, really bothers me, and it’s so disheartening that so many people – including all of the so-called “freedom lovers” have no problem with this mockery of the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and just about everything that is good and just in our so-called democracy.

  • Whimsical is here to shill for the status quo.
    Ted, good luck and all. I hope you post your speech soonish.

  • Liebchen-

    I’m here because I’d like the left to do less of stupid things like indulging in ridiculous hyperbole and more of smart things, such as playing the game of politics in a way that will actually increase their odds of getting what they want.

  • Ted’s on the following video at about 01:17:30

    (Note lack of necktie.)

  • Whimsical, since your messages here clearly do not resonate, why not go somewhere where they are welcome?

  • vera-

    Very presumptuous of you to assume that since my message does not resonate with _you_ that I am unwelcome.

  • Whether *you* are welcome or not, I was not commenting on. I asked you why you don’t go somewhere where your *messages* are welcome.

  • alex_the_tired
    October 8, 2011 1:14 PM


    “Another piece of ridiculous hyperbole from the left; another demonstration of why they are ignored by the political class.” isn’t an argument. It’s barely even a comment. You’re begging the question, a fundamental error in debate and reasoning. You offer no substantive notions, no contrary position.

    The Constitution does not permit the murder of U.S. citizens by their government without a trial. Ted’s argument, therefore, has merit.

    If these people are so dangerous show us the evidence. Gitmo has something like 200 people in it. Some of them have been there for almost a decade. All I want is for them to have their day in court. What is so wrong with that? What, exactly, is so obscene or silly or wrong-headed with standing up and saying, “Look, this is what the rules we play by say we have to do, whether we like it or not, and that means you don’t run the government behind locked doors with secret orders that no one is allowed to challenge.”

    Now if you want to have a real discussion, that’s great. But enough with these clever-in-your-mind-only replies that do nothing to advance the conversation.

  • Please let’s not have “why not go somewhere where [your ideas] are welcome?” type comments on here, OK? Lets leave it to Ted to decide if anyone isn’t welcome…

    • Thank you. Though I disagree with Whimsical’s accommodationism, he/she has not crossed the line into incivility or trollery. W also represents a widely-held point of view we need to hear from.

  • Mmmm…. but is skirting the line on the trollery. Am I the only one noticing that these discussions almost invariably degenerate into ones where people are arguing with W (often after he’s ridiculed somebody’s view), or asking why he is here? That’s what trolls do… get everybody focused on them, while the radical discussion we coulda been having languishes. Just sayin’…

  • Alex_the_tired-

    Your position requires me to accept that Al-Akawi’s (sorry, don’t recall the spelling) death is murder, a position I profoundly reject. As a criminal justice major from a family of cops, I can tell you “If you can’t take him alive, I’m ok with you taking him in dead” is not only constitutional, but fairly common.

    As for evidence, there is no doubt the man was a member of Al Qaeida. There is no doubt that Al Qaeida has made attempts on this country/U.S. Citizens (the murkiness around 9/11 being another discussion entirely). Would I have preferred him taken alive and tried? Of course. But the President (who has more information than I) determined “Its too dangerous for you to try and take him alive, I’m fine with bringing him in dead.”, and frankly not only do I find that to be well within his established Constitutional role as CIC, it’s not something that’s going to be costing me an iota of sleep. As well, I find exaggerating what really happened into “President Obama claims the right to assassinate anyone, anywhere, for any reason, including a US citizen in a foreign country against whom no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented to the public.” ridiculous hyperbole.

    I do owe you an apology for assuming you’d been lurking for a while before posting, as anyone who has could’ve told you that I think doing things like engaging in ridiculous hyperbole just makes the left look bad, making it easier for the political class to ignore them, leading to greater (not lesser) difficulty in getting the things they claim to want accomplished. My apologies for not typing the full argument out for the newbie.

    Also, you absolutely cannot conflate Gitmo with this. Anyone caught alive deserves a full, fair and speedy trial, and I am in full agreement with you on them getting their day in court. There is also substantial doubt as to whether all of them are Al Qaeida members, a doubt that simply isn’t present in the other case. It’s not an apples to apples comparison.

    Maybe your idea of a good time is talking to a bunch of yes men who all agree with you. Mine is not. And the ‘baggers don’t have enough intellectual firepower between them to set off a birthday candle. So if I want the kind of vigorous debate fireworks I enjoy, that just leaves here. Besides, since “we’re on two sides that happen to be side by side” (to misquote Pratchett), I might be able to talk one of you off the ledge- or one of you could change my mind. Stranger things have happened.

    Thank you for the kind words, Ted.

  • To Machiavellian aka “Whimsical”:

    You are cordially invited to present one piece of evidence, outside of government assertion, that erases all doubt that Awlaki was a member of Al Queda.

    You should first explain why, since you admit to “murkiness around 9/11,” why being a member of Al Queda is a “de facto” death sentence.

    You might also include the evidence supplied that it WAS simply too difficult to take him alive and THAT was why he was blown to red mist, along with another US citizen.

  • Nice strawman, Falco. I never claimed being a member of Al Qaeida was an automatic death sentence. If Awlaki had turned himself in after the Yemen courts ordered him brought in “dead or alive”, he’d still be breathing. He didn’t.

    My cousin was once put in charge of bringing gang members in for questioning because intelligence received led his captain to believe the gang was planning something. One of them ran to a building where he had stashed an AK-47 and was promptly killed by my cousin.

    That wasn’t murder, and neither was this.

    As for evidence:

    A) Had You tube not taken down the video where the man himself admitted to being a member of AL-Qaeida in an interview THEY released with him, as well as his involvement in several of their plots, I’d be happy to provide it. It was more than conclusive, in my mind. Feel free to talk to Youtube about putting it back up if you like. (I looked it up when he was first put on the “Its ok to kill him if you cant take him alive” list).

    B) The evidence that it was too difficult to take him alive is still classified. Now you can disagree with that decision and/or the classficiation, which is fine. I just don’t see how you can even remotely claim the decision is unconstitutional.

  • Whimsical: I came here to talk to people who seriously considered not voting, a discussion you did a lot to disrupt. And if you are looking for a “vigorous debate fireworks” then surely this is not it.

    In any case, I am not interested in status quo points of view; if I were, there are many venues for those. Neither am I interested in having discussions hijacked by a proselytizer for the status quo looking for converts.

    I don’t come here to talk to Whimsical, talk about Whimsical, trying to refute Whimsical, listen to Whimsical disparage radical points of view Ted or others present, or to wonder along with others what Whimsical is doing here. So, that means only one thing. Stop doing that which feeds you. Meh.

    Alex, I am hoping for a deeper discussion among us regarding all those OWSers’ et al demands. The bag of them broke on the Oct11 site, resulting in a crazy melee… I think there is something seriously awry with a process that *begins* with demands. Scratching my head about it. Maybe this is not the right post for it, perhaps when Ted writes more from DC.

  • Whimsical is correct that the political elite ignores “the left.” And they will continue to do so. But it is not because of anything “the left” says or does. It is for two reasons. 1) The political elite has no reason to acknowledge “the left” and their concerns.

    Liberals like to think we can speak truth to power. It’s such a popular meme. What they fail to understand is that “power” knows the truth, and they have their own truth, and they don’t give a damn about anyone elses.

    2) “the left” is so marginalized in the United States that it does not actually threaten the political elite, or the business or military elite for that matter. Thus there is no mechanism to force their acknowledgement.

    Ted can make brilliant arguments, or silly arguments, and neither matter. I often get accused of preaching to the choir. And this I do. It is because the choir is the only group left in the building, and one has to vent to someone.

    Fight the power, Ted! Strength to your sword arm!

  • “Liberals like to think we can speak truth to power. It’s such a popular meme. What they fail to understand is that “power” knows the truth, and they have their own truth, and they don’t give a damn about anyone elses.”

    Well said. Last time I tried to speak truth to power I got swiftly fired.
    People hang on to self-serving “truths” with the tenacity of a drowning man….

  • From Article One; Section 8 of the US Constitution:

    Among other enumerated powers, Congress has the power to:
    “To declare War, *grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal*, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

  • Aggie-

    Taking your concerns backwards

    2) The left, in large part, has marginalized itself through both its attitude and actions. However, this is reversible- there is a very effective method to force their acknowledgment- playing by the rules of the game. The left chooses not to do this. In fact, I’ll go deeper than that- the left seems to feel they are “above” doing this.

    1) And once the left starts using the rules of the game to get what they want, politicians WILL listen. As long as the left demonstrates that they can be ignored, they will be.

  • alex_the_tired
    October 9, 2011 1:42 PM


    In response to your comment. … hmmm … okay. Let me try this. If the OWSers didn’t start with demands, how could the bankers respond? I’m not trying to be glib. Seriously. Even asking to open a dialogue with the Wall Street power structure contains an implicit threat.

    OWS: We want to have a dialogue!
    Wall Street: No!
    OWS: Okay, everyone. Pack it in. Let’s all go home.

    Of course not. A request for dialogue has been going on for decades. Wall Street has no reason to change anything. Wall Street’s raking in the money hand over fist. Why would they change anything in favor of the Hippies?

    So the movement MUST start with a demand, stated or implied. And here’s where it gets really hairy. The bankers are in a hierarchical, rigid, mindset. The OWSers are not. The bankers have no reasons — as far as they can see — to learn to speak OWSer. And when they look at the OWSers, what do they see? People meditating, toddlers dancing, musicians, people smiling and laughing. Remember Barbara Bush talking about the Katrinians? “They’ve never had it so good, some of them.” Barbara Bush HONESTLY TRULY REALLY believed that, I think. It’s called selective perception.

    The OWSers must present a “translation” of what they’re doing that will be understandable by the bankers if they hope to succeed. That “translation” must also be visual. (Sorry guys. Bringing children to an event where mace can go flying at any moment? Know what the bankers see? “Jesus H. Christ. Look at how irresponsible those parents are. They brought a baby to a protest. Nothing matters to these people.”)

    If the OWSers won’t start using translators, eventually, the bankers will get tired of all the gibberish and call security (the police, the National Guard) and the whole thing will be shut down. Possibly, someone will die from a National Guardsman firing into the crowd (not that THAT could happen in America), and that will pretty much rap it all up.

    The other option for the OWSers is to attempt to force the bankers to figure out what’s going on by deliberate interference. You know, shutting down subway lines, blocking highways, etc.

    Remember in the movie “Airplane” where the stewardess says, “Does anyone speak Jive?” and Barbara Billingsley raises her hand, “I do.” If the OWSers are sufficiently irritating, the bankers will start asking their own questions:

    “Do any of you understand what the hell is going on?”
    “They want X and Y and Z.”
    “Well, bring me one of their people to talk to about this.”
    “We can’t. They have no leaders.”
    “What? But. What? Huh? Well, we tried. Call security.”

    It’s in OWSers best interest to establish enough of a structure that the bankers can start talking to them. Especially if this escalates to the point where millions of people are inconvenienced.

    Personally, if I were one of the OWSers, I’d be waiting for the government to declare the group a terrorist organization.

  • Alex. Here goes my imaginary banker conversation.
    Do you understand what the hell is going on?
    Sure, they are tired of getting shafted.
    Well, nothing new here then. Let’s wait until the cold weather sets in.

    To think that the bankers will willingly and openly dialog with the people is pure fantasy, Alex. A few of them may be willing to dialog privately, with heavy guarantees of secure location and anonymity. In which case, the people organizing it would be fools to let anybody in who had the slightest inclination to walk in and yell, we want x, y and z!

    I mean, think psychologically. Suppose I am married to a guy who just does not want to talk to me. It’s been going on for years. So one day, I make a fuss and yell, I want x, y and z! He yells back, and you ain’t getting it, and is heard muttering “I married a damn nutcase” as he walks out the door.

    Besides, I never heard from anybody so far that they are out there to dialogue with the bankers. My impression is that they are there because they want to feel like they are doing something. Have you been told by any of them personally/officially that there are trying to dialogue?

    A general strike or similar massive disruption of the flow of work/money would force the bankers to pay attention, and put in some changes. Or pitchforks and torches. I can’t think of anything else. I could also make the argument that narcissists are incapable of dialoguing… but I think I’ve said enough. 🙂

    The bankers, imo, know very well that their best policy is mum. “Let the politicians and appointees deal with it… that’s what we pay them for!”

    You outlined the problem very well when you said: “A request for dialogue has been going on for decades. Wall Street has no reason to change anything. Wall Street’s raking in the money hand over fist. Why would they change anything in favor of [anyone]?”

    Precisely. That is the gist of our predicament, isn’t?

  • Machiavellian:

    First, you say I created a straw man by claiming being a member of al Queda is an automatic death sentence.

    Then, you present as evidence for justification of his “due-process-less” murder, a non-existent video in which, you claim, Awlaki, admits he was a member of al Qaeda.

    The only straw seems to be between your ears.

  • One hit wonder:

    No, I debunked the strawman you created. Just link I’ll debunk the one you’re trying to create now with the nonsense claim about “Due-Process-Less”:

    As for the video, here’s an article that references it:

    Sorry you’re not as up to the minute as I am on political news, but it’s neither my fault nor my responsibility that You Tube took it down before you could see it.

    Oh, and just for good measure, here’s the UN declaring him an Al-Qaeida member:

    You’re a perfect example of the type of leftie that makes it difficult for the left to be taken seriously. I suggest you go back to making crappy music, and leave the political discussion to those of us who actually know what’s going on and have the intellectual capacity to discuss it properly.

  • Ted-

    Maybe, maybe not. In this particular case, I have no issue with the decision. You reflexively do, I get that.

    Which is fine, as I said. You’re welcome to disagree, but that doesn’t make it any less legal/Constitutional.

    • Everyone,
      Please refrain from ad hominem attacks. I understand that heated discussions can get frustrating, especially when you feel you’re not getting an honest or straightforward reply. But keep it civil. By all means, disagree vehemently and passionately, but please refrain from name-calling and sigh-tone “why, oh why are you so fucking stupid” statements.
      As you were.

    • Whimsical,
      It is sophistry to call the assassinations in Yemen “legal” or “constitutional.”
      The Administration’s justifications fall apart upon initial inspection.
      For example, the laws of war do not apply since there is no legal declaration of war. There has not been such a declaration since 1941. And the “war on terror” isn’t even a police action. It is a marketing campaign.
      The other main argument, that assassination is justified if a suspect is difficult to apprehend overseas, has no basis in law. If a crime suspect is difficult to get because he is hiding out overseas, that is simply too bad. Moreover, in this case, Yemen has provided military and police cooperation, so it’s not even true.
      Finally, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that these individuals was involved in operational planning of terrorist plots. Classified intelligence collected by intelligence agencies simply does not count since it is impossible to verify.

  • from Ted Rarl to Johnnty Memnonic, I was busy so unable to do anything meaningful so I bought and by accident, that’ll show em

  • Ted, I think you need to drop by #OccupyLansing on the 15th in Lansing, MI. It is being held the same day as the Michigan – Michigan State football game, which starts at noon in East Lansing. This should be interesting as the revelers from the game mix with the protesters….especially if MSU wins.

  • Come on Ted, you know that with that kind of obviously fake Californian accent that Keanu, has to be part of a terrorist cell, haven’t you noticed he is always “tan,” from playing at the beach, he is probably part of a terrorist cell with Matthew mcconaughey, where they hide their poor grasp of the English Language behind the facade of being really stupid beach bums who stumbled in to acting…. Uh I think I hear an airplane outside, I have to go now…

    Dear Ted Rall readers, you are unpatriotic, and i did not hear any planes outside, there was a gas leak in my home that caused an explosion and I am typing this as I did, my dying wish is for you to stop reading this treasonous website.

    Dead guy.

  • Aggie, that could get ugly quick.

  • Now down to business. Two things disturb me about the willingness of Democrats to accept that murdering American Citizens is A-OK. First of all, last time I checked, tortured guys are still alive, so uh, if you were upset about Bush torturing people we have no evidence were “bad guys” you have to be pretty upset that we are leaving it up to some random guys Obama picked get to decide if an American deserves the death penalty, which make no mistake is what a drone strike is designed to enforce. Second, this seems to be an area that Democrats and Republicans readily agree now, it is ok to kill Americans, if the sitting President, or the secret people he has chosen say it is ok, say it is okay to kill them. We all know that people in power never abuse that authority, so I suppose it is a good idea to give a very small group of individuals the right to declare the death penalty for anybody they feel like.

  • Whimsical, it is naive and gullible to call Ted’s commentary here “hyperbole.” Al-Awlaki was a thorn in the US Govt’s side. He was telling it like he saw it, and many Muslims were taking his message to heart, and the govt didn’t like that. So they branded him a terrorist, claimed to have evidence (which they never show anyone), and had him killed.

    Even Adolf Eichman got a trial. If they had tried Al-Awlakii, the court could have viewed classified evidence in chambers. But the govt MUST present evidence before it can condemn. It has always been this way, at least that is the ideal that we have aspired to.

    This nation was founded on the fight against tyranny. I can think of few more tyrannical actions a govt could take than to kill someone without charges and a trial.

  • Ted, the Yemen courts ordered him brought in dead or alive.

    Unless you are arguing that a) it is unconstitutional for us to assist the Yemen courts or b) the Yemen courts have no jurisdiction over a US citizen (and if you are arguing either of those things, you’ll need to back it up) or c)that had he turned himself in we’dve killed him anyway (and you will most definitely need to document that) I find claims of illegality hyperbole.

    Leibechen- He was given every chance to come in alive and have a trial. He chose not to. The responsibility for his death rests entirely on his head. I can agree with “killed while resisting arrest”, but “murder” or “assassination”? Those claims don’t hold water for a nanosecond.

  • Really Whimsical? So, if you committed a crime, lets say something really bad, you killed a guy in a bar fight, or at least the Government thinks you did. The police have a special group of individuals that convene to determine your guilty, they tell you you can come peacefully and be locked in Gitmo, or you are a fugitive, your living in your moms house, so they decide just to bomb the shit out of it they kill everybody in the house, they kill a few neighbors maybe who knows, but the important thing is they got the fugitive right? He had a chance to turn himself in after being found guilty by some dudes the local Sheriff decided were knowledgeable enough about crime. I don’t know if this guy was guilty or not, and it is besides the point, its the precedent we are setting. Civilians have no rights if a special committee finds they are not American enough, that is the future.

  • The government of the country he was in wanted him brought in (presumably for trial) dead or alive. We aided the Yemeni government, so your analogy is irrelevant. (Though for the record, if I am wanted and hide among other people, and a couple of those other people get killed while the government tries to get me, the responsibility for their deaths rests entirely on my head),

    You can disagree with the decision all you like, but unless you can prove one of the three points I mention to Ted, you really can’t make a justified claim that it was illegal, unconstitutional, or an assassination. And making unjustified claims makes the left look bad, not the government.

  • I’ll take your attempt at deflection as acknowledgement that it is both legal and constitutional for us to assist them.

    Honestly, Ted, had you simply bemoaned the decision to aid them and the results, I and a lot of others would’ve been right there with you. But every time you make extravagant, unjustified claims like you did here, you just make yourself (and by extension, the left) look far worse than the government.

    Not really the best tactic to get people to join your side. Think about it.

  • More deflection from you Ted, proving my point further.

    I’m going to let it drop here though, cause watching your ideological blinders causing you to ignore the first rule of holes is just getting too painful.

  • Whimsical why is it always on other people to provide evidence, I have a simple goal for you. Prove this guy killed anybody, prove this guy actually broke any American crime that currently results in the death penalty… oh and I am being nice, because most states don’t even consider the death penalty humane anymore…

  • Law 101: Burden of proof is on the prosecution. You make the claim Obama committed murder, you need to prove it was murder, something at which you have failed spectacularly, so far.

    The equivelent of what happened to Awlaki is “killed while resisting arrest”, no matter how much your ideology makes you wish it wasn’t.

    • Pretzel logic. Obama is the one who acted (by ordering Awlaki’s death). Thus the burden of justifying the action falls upon him. This is especially true since his actions violate international norms, traditions, and recent precedent. He who wants to change things must explain why he is right. If he refuses to do so, he is admitting fault.

  • patron-

    had this guy come in after the courts ordered him brought in, we’dve seen the evidence. He didn’t, therefore the responsbility for what happens rests entirely on him- unless you can prove one of the three exceptions already mentioned that ted keeps trying to deflect the discussion away from.

  • False, again

    Obama did not order Alwakis death. He said “If you cant bring him in alive, I agree with the Yemeni court that it is ok to bring him in dead. ” The Yemeni court’s order is more than sufficient justification for his actions. That is not, nor will it ever be, murder. And if you are in possesion of some evidence that proves its murder, you are obliagted to either share it, or stop making that claim.

    And while his actions may have violated norms, traditions and precedent (though I note that you fail to prove that, as well) they did not violate laws or the Constitution.

    I am far, FAR to the left of most folks out there. If you can’t convince me you sure as hell aren’t going to convince them. And making specious claims that you then refuse to justify doesn’t really inspire me to join you in the revolution you long for. It just makes you (and by extension that revolution) look bad, not the government.

    We have the same goals, Ted, though we disagree on methods. Making hyperbolic, unjustifiable claims about the goverment puts acheiving those goals further off into the distance instead of bringing them closer. Thinks about it.

    • This wasn’t a judicial killing. It was extrajudicial. In fact, it was covert, using a CIA-run drone. You keep talking about this like it was a law-enforcement operation. The US didn’t even ask for Yemeni cooperation to try to surround him and convince him to surrender. If he’d gotten shot in a shootout, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      By the way, I am pretty sure that 99% of the American people would agree that this was an assassination-murder. Some think it’s OK, but none would call it some sort of policing thing.

  • Murder most foul, as in the best it is….

    But alas, hardly atypical….


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