I laughed until I cried.

"I love the Obama administration because it is so easy to tell the Aaron Swartzes, the Glenn Greenwalds, the Chomskyites who actually believe in Chomsky (which may, or may not, include the master himself - who ever knows?), from the rest of the Morgul-army. I'm quite convinced that Glenn Greenwald really has no idea at all why liberal public opinion stopped giving a damn about torture in 2008."


My God almighty, I wish that *I* had written that!

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Performance art? Yes. Oh yes.


I think we're seeing the work of a deeply committed and talented artist in this diary. I applaud you Vinteuil, for creating works such as these.

What is a "Morgul-army"?


I'd like to know...

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Nice one, MA.


But I'm on to you.  What's a Morgul-army?  What's a saving throw?  What's this 'THACO' thing?  All as if you didn't know.  Slyness, It's appreciated by me at least.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Juvenile fantasy.

mmghosh's picture

From a culture that resolutely turned its face against belief in real myths.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Not A Tolkien Fan? -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

"Real myth" was the giveaway.

mmghosh's picture

But not a fan, no.  For a real myth about rings (reality-based myth), give me Wagner over Tolkein.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Pretty sure


Mr. Ghosh was referring to Ayn Rand.

Having Read Both Tolkien And Rand. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I'm pretty comfortable in saying that the word "Morgul" appears in the works of the former and not the latter.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I knew you would be.



Speaking of Prosecuting Whistleblowers


Got one!


In October, Mr. Kiriakou plead guilty to one charge of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, when he disclosed to a reporter the name of a former agency operative who had been involved in the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation of detainees. The plea was the first time someone had been successfully prosecuted under the law in 27 years.



Mr. Kiriakou, who had worked as a C.I.A. operative from 1990 to 2004, had played a significant role in some of the C.I.A.'s major achievements after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In March of 2002, he led a group of agency and Pakistani security officers in a raid that captured Abu Zubaydah, who was suspected of being a high-level facilitator for Al Qaeda.


In 2007, three years after he left the C.I.A., Mr. Kiriakou discussed in an interview on ABC News the suffocation technique that was used in the interrogations known as waterboarding. He said it was torture and should no longer be used by the United States, but he defended the C.I.A. for using it in the effort to prevent attacks.


And Speaking of Not Prosecuting Banksters


Wonkblog shares some details on the President's nominee to head the SEC.


But the one big firm that did clear such trades [pump and dump schemes] was Bear Stearns. “They were aware of these scams, but they were amoral,” Weiss says. “They did nothing to blow the whistle on these firms. They just didn’t care. And they in fact facilitated the firms in their scams by letting them issue things on Bear Stearns letterhead. It’s almost as though Bear Stearns was approving of these banks’ activities.” The company was slapped with $25 million in fines from the SEC for its work with the pump-and-dump firm A.R. Baron, but neither White nor then-Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau pursued criminal charges.

That bothers Weiss, who thinks White was looking out for her post-U.S. attorney career rather than for the public’s best interests. “Why weren’t they prosecuted? I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to that…I know there was an active Morgenthau investigation, but when it comes to wrongdoing by the major banks, they would much rather be representing them than prosecuting them,” he alleges. “As a career builder, would you rather prosecute these guys or defending them? Obviously, they would much rather be on their side.”


Since leaving the U.S. attorney’s office in 2002, she’s been a partner at Debevoise and Plimpton, during which time she represented both former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis (who faced a lawsuit from then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for his conduct during the financial crisis) and Morgan Stanley executive John Mack.

A former SEC investigator named Gary Aguierre alleged that White, in her capacity as a lawyer for Mack, succeeded in blocking an investigation into possible insider trading at a time Mack was under consideration to become chief executive of Morgan Stanley. Aguierre said in an interview with author Erin Arvelund that when he questioned the decision to suspend the investigation, “I was told it was for political reasons.”




I laughed too

HankP's picture

because this guy is a clown of the first order. From the pseudo archaic name to the (extremely) long winded defense of anti-democracy, the shallow thinking and excessively prolix explanations, he would only be interesting if he's been trolling.


I blame it all on the Internet

Rationalizations for the Obama admin


I recall a popular form of rationalization among Democrats in Obama's first term when Obama hired insiders who had a history of advancing monied interests over the public's interests. For example, when Obama put Geithner in at Treasury, I remember a few people here saying "Geithner knows where the bodies are buried," suggesting that he was going to help root out and reverse financial misconduct rather than whitewash it. 


That kind of thing seems to have died down a bit, but we'll see with Obama's new nomination to head the SEC whether the base is still in denial about Obama participating in the capture of the federal government by the finance sector. This nominee's experience in finance is mostly as a defense attorney representing Wall Street:


As a defense attorney, White has been involved in some high-profile SEC and Justice Department cases. She represented healthcare provider HCA Holdings in an insider-trading investigation, according to her online biography.


She has also represented JPMorgan Chase & Co in its portion of the $25 billion multi-bank settlement to resolve allegations of mortgage servicing abuses, as well as former Bank of America CEO Lewis over a civil lawsuit in connection with Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.


"I have met Mary Jo White, and anyone who knows her at all - extremely capable, competent, bright, tough, and a perfect choice," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview on Thursday with Fox Business News from Davos.


Of course it's possible that White will suddenly turn tough on her former clients and that "she knows where the bodies are buried" or whatever, but the simpler explanation is that this nomination is an act of rank corruption in order to court Wall Street influence and money rather than regulate it with the public's interests in mind. And this kind of nomination would've been roundly denounced by Democrats if it came in the years under Bush II.

So here's a recommended diary on dailykos today


unable to comprehend Obama's corruption, and cooking up implausible "theories" about it:


Throughout these ensuing years, I've been in total dismay, frustrated, angry, about the obvious cover-up of these crimes by the Obama administration.



I've tried to make sense of something that doesn't make any sense; trying to find an answer, an explanation.  This man, Obama, whom I've supported and believed in, and campaigned for, seems to be protecting these criminals.  How is that possible?  Why?


As I try to find answers, one kind of crazy idea keep popping up in my head... It goes like this: He knows what's going on; he fully understands the level of corruption, how endemic it is, and how widespread it is in the entire system.  And he came to the realization that he needed a long-term strategy to properly address the issue.



When he took over, the economy was heading towards another Great Depression, so he focused his energy on avoiding that, while at the same time, started working on reestablishing a proper regulatory infrastructure.


He quickly realized that given the political divisions in our society, and the precarious condition of the financial system, that if he went after Wall Street criminals too soon, they could, and would, with the "turn off a switch" bring about a cataclysmic and sudden collapse of the entire financial system--at once.  And that if that happened, he would be powerless to do much about it, bringing down his presidency, and any prospect of economic recovery.



You have to understand something... These folks, these top Wall Street executives are megalomaniacal psychopathic sadistic monsters.  But that's true of any tyrant in history.  Either way, as a group, they know they committed multiple crimes that could land them in prison for many years.


So my take is that they, through their web of officials on the take throughout the government, made it clear that if the government went after them, this could further destabilize the financial system and bring the whole thing down.  In other words, they inextricably linked themselves (personally) to the too-big-to-fail financial institutions they were leading.


This reminds me that another explanation for the kind of Obama loyalism on display here is plain old stupidity. 


I see very little loyalism

HankP's picture

I see a lot of settling for the best available alternative, which you're free to disagree with, and have. But I don't see a lot of fire breathing liberals running for national office. In the current climate, a moderate is better than a crazed reactionary.


It also doesn't mean unquestioning support. I'm glad Geithner is gone, and I'd like to see Holder follow him out the door. Not because I think he's corrupt, but because I think he's done a lousy job.


I blame it all on the Internet

I see tons of loyalism


in both my personal life and in what I read. 


Obama is extremely likable and does some good things. The above is a common example - many people would rather believe convoluted theories than allow that Obama is fine with financial fraud and abusing civil liberties. 


Perhaps we're using "corrupt" in different senses. I don't think Holder is corrupt because he's personally lined his pockets with bribes or anything. But he's very corrupt in the sense of using his office to shield the wealthy and powerful from the effects of the law. In that sense, Holder's record on investigating and prosecuting financial wrongdoing is as corrupt as it gets.

That's a very idiosyncratic definition

HankP's picture

corruption means doing things for personal gain. The only way I could see that applying to Holder is if he has some comfy well renumerated job lined up in exchange for his current actions, and in fact had it lined up the minute he took office.


I blame it all on the Internet

Holder's benefitting now


he's AG b/c he's unprincipled and won't uphold the law. 


That's not so idiosyncratic a definition of being corrupt.

I'm not going to defend him

HankP's picture

There are plenty of other words like unprincipled, incompetent, bureaucratic, etc. that you could use. But I don't think corrupt fits in the usual meaning of the word.


I blame it all on the Internet

Go Along to Get Along


seems to me to be a mild form of corruption, but corruption nonetheless.

It's a serious point that many liberals and Democrats


have accepted from Obama what they militantly denounced under Bush. 


The piece you linked states that the true believers are very few and far between and most of Obama's activist base simply wants power and doesn't care about policy as long as it's on the winning team. 


My experience at least among the rank and file has been different, and you might be more familiar with this if you read discussions on the site, for example between myself, Hank P, wagster, and Jordan.


First, the Obama admin has been masterful at shifting the blame for policies it supports or is indifferent to onto Republicans in Congress.


Second, it's been masterful at depressing expectations in general, often claiming that it can't do everything it once.


Third and also related, it's been masterful at sowing confusion about its policies, where torture is a paradigmatic example.


Fourth, the Obama admin. has given a lot of its supporters enough of what it wants for them to forgive civil rights abuses, financial fraud indifference, Afghanistan escalation, record deportations, etc.


Finally, there is the person of Obama himself who is from a disadvantaged group and very likable and hard for many to picture as a component of the US's corrupt and unjust political structure. There's a natural tendency to assume based on his charming personality that he is likely struggling against the undesirable aspects of the system vs. promulgating those aspects.


These factors are all at least as important as the alleged desire for power that your quoted piece highlights.

I believe


Obama when he says that this administration doesn't torture, but by failing to prosecute torture he has left it so that we are constantly one election away from living in a torture regime again.


that is a great failing. I understand why he did it. It would be enormously divisive and the trial discoveries would be used against us, possibly putting our troops at risk, but still. It is a failing.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I did too


till that black prison showed up in Benghazi. Now I feel pretty stupid.

It is Like Google Has Been Scrubbed Clean Since Mid-November



...there is nothing at all after Nov 19, but this from Moon over Alabama, dated Nov 15, covers it nicely:


A well-placed Washington source confirms to Fox News that there were Libyan militiamen being held at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that their presence was being looked at as a possible motive for the staged attack on the consulate and annex that night.

According to multiple intelligence sources who have served in Benghazi, there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.

The Libya annex was the largest CIA station in North Africa, and two weeks prior to the attack, the CIA was preparing to shut it down. Most prisoners, according to British and American intelligence sources, had been moved two weeks earlier.

The CIA compound in Benghazi was a black-hole prison the CIA was supposed to close. The CIA somewhat denies that it held prisoners there:

The CIA, though, categorically denied these allegations, saying: “The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.”

The CIA is correct in that the Executive Order 13491 (pdf) denies it detention authority:

Sec. 4. (a) CIA Detention. The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.

But the CIA denial is irrelevant. The people who talked to Foxnews are claiming that prisoners were "held and interrogated by CIA contractors", not by the CIA itself. The Executive Order only refers to the CIA, not to the military. We know that "former" special operation soldiers were operating from the "annex". How much "former" these are is a yet unknown. The drone that came to observe the situation as the annex was attacked was operated by the military for observation of some alleged militant training camps near Benghazi. Also unknown is which "contractors" the CIA hired for that dirty part of the business it is no longer allowed to do itself.

We do know that U.S. Special Forces are involved in lot of secret operations in northern Africa. For example on April 20 three Special Force soldiers accompanied by three Moroccan prostitutes died in a traffic accident in Mali.

What the men were doing in the impoverished country of Mali, and why they were still there a month after the United States suspended military relations with its government, is at the crux of a mystery that officials have not fully explained even 10 weeks later.

If that Foxnews report gets confirmed it seems that the CIA station in Benghazi was not only involved in weapons transfers to Syrian insurgents but was also part of some combined operation with Special Forces in which contractors were used to do detention and interrogation "stuff" that the CIA and maybe even the special forces are no longer allowed to do.Are there more such prisons and to which one were the people who were held in Benghazi transferred to? The CIA prison in Somalia?

The prison and the questions it opens is of course something the Obama administration would have wanted to hide before the election and would explain its laughable "that Mohammed video made them do it" claims.




So all this Strum und Drang of Hillary's testimony, as well as Susan Rice's was just so much silliness, unless the Republicans wanted an admission that the United States was committing war crimes, in which case they should not be so bashful, they should just come out and say it!


It was all in the Classified section of the ARB that Hillary kept referring to...I loved her biting comment to some Republican Thug asking about what went on at the Annex and she coolly replied,


"That would be better addressed to the Agency in charge."


"No further questions," the Senator/Congressman lamely surrendered.




The CIA "denial" Is Not


That's not a denial. We had no authority is not the same as saying we did not do it. Claiming that a allegation is baseless has no meaning either. I read it as a non-denial denial. 

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

It's a bit like some of the leaked


details about what was going on in Abu Ghraib and made the photos look like kindergarten playtime. Melted like the fresh morning dew as if it had never been. 

Do you understand why Obama


has promoted proponents of torture and vigorously prosecuted torture whistleblowers? 


I believe Obama lies when he says the admin doesn't torture. At least I recall credible reports of the CIA waterboarding Libyans, and the evidence suggests torture is at least being outsourced.

I haven't seen that evidence


Would be glad to consider it.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

The rendition part


is indisputable,  see e.g. Denver Post 01/02/13,  and his new pick for CIA director is a rendition fan and former torture defender.


Now you might say current rendition and prior record of torture don't prove ongoing torture.  But why do renditions?  It's not because we aren't able to hold or question the people,  Obama cheerfully runs a place in Cuba where the rules on probable cause, arraignments, Miranda, speedy trials, etc are suspended.  Whatever the current internal limits on interrogation might be, you can be sure we go up to those limits at Gitmo.  The most likely reason for rendition is to get around those limits.

The individual linked to is a monarchist

mmghosh's picture

so I don't think he's particularly concerned about either the concentration or the abuse of power.  As long as he has the power, he seems to be OK with it.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Works for me.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

(As long as I'm the guy elected king.  If any of the rest of you even get close, it's power-to-the-people time.  What's the typical pay scale for commissars during early-revolutionary periods?)


brutusettu's picture

I Was Going To Put this in the Open Thread, But*Spoilers*ZD30


There is so much Conspiracy Posting, surprising really, over at IMDB on the Zero Dark Thirty Board, that from time to time, I have to respond to the idea that Osama bin Laden wasn't killed in the raid on the Abbattban Copound...But@!


It works here too because, I have a 4th reason now that I'll add on as a PS here:


Raised Eyebrows, but the Conspiracy Theorists have a Point....I don't believe this for an instant, but this is how it would work:

1. Maya confirms OBL's death because she is compelled too from internal forces at work within her own psyche; (10 years of her life, obsession, finally she, unlike Ahab upon whom she is modeled, has her kill, etc, etc)

2. DNA does Not match, but CIA confirms OBL's death because nobody wants a war with Pakistan, (seriously nobody wants to go into the question of the US violating sovereign territory and killing some random guy...btw, Pakistan knows but also agrees with the no war scenario);

3. Al Queda confirms the death of Osama bin Laden, because OBL instructed them to do so, in that he does, with full sincerity, want the CIA to stop searching for him.

The Conspiracy Theorists may be nuts, but there is a logic behind their musings.

Lastly, and most importantly, Ms. Bigelow filmed the ending exactly in this fashion to leave open this possibility. This is how art is made, with side glances that look to be full on, with ambiguity shrouded in mystery.

Great Movie (Oh, a final lastly, the burial at sea and quickly were both entirely legitimate...you want no place to be worshiped, and the quicker and more respectfully done, the better. So this part of any conspiracy does not work)

Best Wishes, Traveller


PS: OBL wasn't killed at Abbattban. This was covered up so that Mr. Obama could claim credit, American's could celebrate in the streets across this great nation and, Democrats forever more could shuck off the sniveling-at-war-reputation that has been unfairly, albatross-like, strung round their necks, be seen as sufficiently martial in the testicle department, and finally so Barak Hussein Obama could be elected to a second term as the President of  the most powerful nation on earth!


A Win-Win-Win!   

Some stuff worth responding to in that post


the worst part was a very stupid gloss on power and civil disobedience.

Sierra Club now advocating civil disobedience


Charging the Fort, John Q & Dread Pirate Roberts near the lead.

brutusettu's picture

All going triumphant with a score to back it, round a corner, cannons in your face. Wha' happened to the score?*





Current POTUS and especially the Vice aren't huge fans of torture like before icydka, maybe, just maybe that might have something to do with Unqualified Reservation's lack of hearing about the US' role in torture.



So why was that writer hearing so much less about torture after its favorite fans were out of office and very possibly not replaced by different fans of torture?




*a hobbit free pop culture version of the pompous stream-of-consciousness/Kafka writer quoted above (apartment probably has a 10,000+ page collection of hundreds of novellas set in the same fictional universe)