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      So, May has a Brexit deal. It’s a terrible deal, which makes the UK subject to many EU laws, and which doesn’t allow Britain to withdraw from the deal if the EU doesn’t want it to. This has caused ministerial resignations, and Corbyn has come out against it. But the interesting part is what the […]
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The Culture of Cannibalism in US Politics: The Triumph of The Cyclop’s Values Over Democratic Citizenship

{The first essay in this series introduced a model I created to explain the cycle of corruption that plagues US politics. This essay looks into the roots of this corruption. It takes a long time to get to the payoff. Further, the conclusion is somewhat ex nihilo if you have not read the first essay. This said, for those who dare, I hope you find it worth the read.}
polyphemus2-3717

Polyphemos the cyclops would have eaten Odysseus, if his survival was dependent on the moral virtues of Silenus’s satyrs. Fortunately for Odysseus, and Silenus and his lot, Odysseus could depend on his fellow citizens. If Polyphemos had the majority of America’s elected representatives depending on him for their survival in his cave, the way that they are presently beholden to lobbyists’ money for their electoral survival, he could have had a ready supply of citizens for his daily meals.

Cyclopean virtues regularly triumph over the virtues of democratic citizenship in the political landscape of the United States. Given that the Declaration of Independence embodies the spirit and principles that ground the virtues of democratic citizenship, why is it that cyclopes, who eat humans, win the day in America? Answering this question requires that we journey back to Attic Greece and her proto-democratic foundations. Continue reading

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I wouldn’t want to talk about Obama either

smell farts1


These days it seems like the sippy-kup kidz of the Kool-aid Kingdom only want to talk about Orly Taitz or Levi’s Johnson, or they show up here and demand we issue renunciations of a losing candidate we didn’t like but voted for out of protest.  But they sure don’t talk about Mr. One-derful very much anymore.  I can’t blame them.

From Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

The American Propsect’s Adam Serwer notes that, yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman successfully inserted into the Homeland Security appropriations bill an amendment — supported by the Obama White House — to provide an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act’s mandates by authorizing the Defense Secretary to suppress long-concealed photographs of detainee abuse. Two courts had ruled — unanimously — that the American people have the right to see these photographs under FOIA, a 40-year-old law championed by the Democrats in the LBJ era and long considered a crowning jewel in their legislative achievements. But this Lieberman amendment, which is now likely to pass, undermines all of that and — as EBay founder Pierre Omidyar put it today — its central purpose is to “legalize suppression” of evidence of American war crimes. (emphasis added)

Glenzilla goes on to describe how a historian would describe the first nine months of the Obama administration’s record on Bush-era war crimes:

In February, the Obama DOJ went to court to block victims of rendition and torture from having a day in court, adopting in full the Bush argument that whatever was done to the victims is a “state secret” and national security would be harmed if the case proceeded.  The following week, the Obama DOJ invoked the same “secrecy” argument to insist that victims of illegal warrantless eavesdropping must be barred from a day in court, and when the Obama administration lost that argument, they engaged in a serious of extraordinarymanuevers to avoid complying with the court’s order that the case proceed, to the point where the GOP-appointed federal judge threatened the Government with sanctions for noncomplianceTwo weeks later, “the Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, [tried] to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails.”

In April, the Obama DOJ, in order to demand dismissal of a lawsuit brought against Bush officials for illegal spying on Americans, not only invoked the Bush/Cheney “state secrets” theory, but also invented a brand new “sovereign immunity” claim to insist Bush officials are immune from consequences for illegal domestic spying.  The same month — in the case brought by torture victims — an appeals court ruled against the Obama DOJ on its “secrecy” claims, yet the administration vowed to keep appealing to prevent any judicial review of the interrogation program.  In responses to these abuses, a handful of Democratic legislators re-introduced Bush-era legislation to restrict the President from asserting “state secrets” claims to dismiss lawsuits, but it stalled in Congress all year.  At the end of April and then again in August, the administration did respond to a FOIA lawsuit seeking the release of torture documents by releasing some of those documents, emphasizing that they had no choice in light of clear legal requirements.

In May, after the British High Court ruled that a torture victim had the right to obtain evidence in the possession of British intelligence agencies documeting the CIA’s abuse of him, the Obama administration threatened that it would cut off intelligence-sharing with Britain if the court revealed those facts, causing the court to conceal them.  Also in May, Obama announced he had changed his mind and would fight– rather than comply with — two separate, unanimous court orders compelling the disclosure of Bush-era torture photos, and weeks later, vowed he would do anything (including issue an Executive Order or support a new FISA exemption) to prevent disclosure of those photos even if he lost again, this time in the Supreme Court.  In June, the administration “objected to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security.”  In August, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder announced that while some rogue torturers may be subject to prosecution, any Bush officials who relied on Bush DOJ torture memos will “be protected from legal jeopardy.”  And all year long, the Obama DOJ fought (unsuccessfully) to keep encaged at Guantanamo a man whom Bush officials had tortured while knowing he was innocent.

CNN sure didn’t mention any of that when they were fact-checking Saturday Night Live.

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