What is it with Republicans telling utterly tasteless, often appalling “jokes”?
Often, “humor” is nothing more than an excuse for some racist or misogynistic bottom feeder to express his hostility and then excuse it by saying it was just in good fun.
The most recent “joke” happened at a Massachusetts Republican Party St. Patrick’s Day breakfast and was “met with scattered laughter”. Why it even got that response is beyond comprehension. Via Blue Mass Group:
Among the speakers was the Sheriff of Plymouth County, Joe McDonald. He did venture into the tasteless. Here’s what he thought was funny - a joke about assassinating President Obama. …
McDonald offered a joke about Barack Obama being visited in a dream by three past presidents, who offered advice on how to improve the country. Lincoln’s advice: “Go to the theater.”
Apparently, Sheriff Joe (what is it with vile Republicans named Joe?) thinks nothing of suggesting that President Obama should be assassinated. What do you want to bet this idiot calls himself “pro-life”?
After getting criticized for his sharp wit and flawless judgment, Think Progress is reporting that he’s doubling down. Not only is he standing by what he said, he’s justifying it by claiming that the joke is 150 years old… and then compared his critics to Nazis:
“The irony of it is, it’s perfectly OK for them [liberals] to make those jokes about President Bush or someone from the other side of the aisle. I can imagine what some of this place comes from not 2013 United States, it’s more like Nazi Germany in 1938.” [...]
“The basic concept of it has been around since the Andrew Johnson administration…”
See, if a joke has been around long enough, it stops being offensive. Who knew?
Think Progress noted, “as a public safety official who has taken an oath of office, he is held to a higher standard that some unnamed liberals or political activists of the 1860s.”
That would work out better if Sheriff Joe held himself to any standards to begin with.
More details here.
The administration’s legal justification for drone strikes, outlined in a Justice Department paper that became public Monday night, states that an “informed, high-level official” can approve a strike against an Al Qaeda official, including an American citizen, even without evidence that the targeted person is planning a specific operation.”
“An ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require … clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” says the policy paper [...] [T]he paper says a capture operation can be ruled out by a determination that the risk to American troops is too great. In almost every case, such operations have in fact been ruled out, U.S. officials say. [...]
But the broad authority asserted in the paper to kill Al Qaeda figures even when they have not been tied to an impending attack contrasts with the narrow way the drone strike program has been described by administration officials. [...] The policy paper makes it clear, however, that the U.S. doesn’t need evidence tying a militant to a specific plot to mark him for death. [...]
The decision to order a lethal strike falls either to the president or his designee, an “informed, high-level official,” in the words of the paper. No court or third party has a right to review it, the paper says.
“The administration’s concept of ‘imminent threat’ appears to require neither imminence nor a specific threat,” said C. Dixon Osburn, director of Human Rights First, a Washington activist group. “Accepted principles of international law require both.”
After I posted Mark Karlin’s The U.S. is “now a nation where a handful of people decide who shall live and who shall die” along with a video from the Rachel Maddow Show in which she reacts to the newly revealed “white paper” memo from the Obama administration, I experienced a Moment of “Here we go again.” I was immediately labeled an “emo-prog“:
A tag dreamt up by self-proclaimed liberals to preemptively blunt any criticism of Obama, even when the same standards were applied to actions undertaken by the previous President.
Apparently questioning the authority of a president– no matter who he is– when it comes to secrecy and using drones to kill Americans is very emo-proggy. And apparently, the people who use that infantile term don’t like to answer questions like, “What if a President Paul Ryan were to have these same powers? Whose to say the powers wouldn’t be abused?” or, “Consider how you’d feel if you were to substitute the name Bush for Obama.”
Instead they insist that we should trust President Obama because he means well and is intelligent and caring– which he is, but that’s irrelevant. Under his watch, these drone attacks are still occurring, so no matter how great a guy he is, there are legal and moral issues to consider.
There are also really, really bad precedents to consider.
These same Obama supporters also refuse to respond to my link to this: AUDIO: President Obama literally asked us to “hold him accountable.”
My point: It is okay, mandatory in fact, to question authority, especially when that authority invites you to hold him accountable. Especially when deliberately killing Americans is involved. Especially when Congress isn’t. Again, the Times:
… an “informed, high-level official” can approve a strike against an Al Qaeda official, including an American citizen, even without evidence that the targeted person is planning a specific operation…
…The decision to order a lethal strike falls either to the president or his designee, an “informed, high-level official,” in the words of the paper. No court or third party has a right to review it…
Here is more analysis and a lot of questions from Rachel, including questions about the president’s choice of John Brennan to be the next CIA director:
“These things are based on facts. Facts that I cannot tell you. So I cannot reference them because I cannot tell you them, but they are facts.”
“Right. Exactly. They go into how you conduct your offensive operations. That’s the thing we want to know about.”
“Now a bipartisan group of 11 U.S. Senators has written to President Obama asking him to release what is still secret about why the administration and the president think that it is legal to kill Americans this way. Quote: ‘It is vitally for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority so that Congress and the public can decide whether this authority has been properly defined and whether the president’s power to deliberately kill American citizens is subject to appropriate limitations and safeguards.‘”
The issue here is who’s a bad guy and how do you figure it out? If this is the means by which we’re going to decide not that you’re going to be arrested and tried, but the means by which we will decide whether the president can order you dead, then on what basis is the president making that decision? How do they determine who is a bad guy? Or as Oregon Senator Ron Wyden put it in a question, a written question to the president’s CIA nominee John Brennan, ‘How much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American can be lawfully killed?‘”
“Following naturally on from that, and this is the one that keeps me up at night, does the president have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender before killing them?”
“If you’re an American citizen and the president is going to kill you, do you have the right to give yourself up instead so you don’t get killed? And how do you know you should do that if the president’s decision that he is going to kill you is a secret decision that nobody ever tells you? And are we right also in only imagining this kind of thing happening in places like Yemen or Pakistan”
Quoting again from Senator Wyden here, ‘Are there any geographic limitations on the intelligence community’s authority to use lethal force against Americans? Do any intelligence agencies have the authority to carry out lethal operations inside the United States?’ Good question.”
Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin (bolding is mine):
For months, the White House has been leaking how President Obama “carefully” reviews a kill list (assassination) of alleged terrorists (and who knows what other troublemakers end up on the potential target list?). Off-the-record comments (and some on the record) are meant to reassure Americans that the president doesn’t take the authorization of kills (with the attendant “collateral damage” of civilians and children if a drone strike) lightly, but seriously contemplates who ends up dead as a sanctioned hit. [...]
The authority Obama has assumed without any legislative or court permission goes well beyond the Bush/Cheney torture protocol; this is a kill list, not just a rendition order. The condemning of a person to death without due legal process, without habeas corpus, violates the Constitution in the most fundamental way. In doing so, Obama is undercutting and eroding the most basic guarantee in our legal system, at a time when the tide, ironically, is turning against capital punishment in the US. [...]
Disturbing is a word that is an understatement to this now established and acted upon executive act that provides plenty of leeway for whoever is president to decide what is an associated group, and designate the “informed, high-level official[s] of the US government” who recommend people to be taken out by drones, bombs, snipers or assassins… The United States has not only lost its moral high ground, which has been eroding for years, but it is now a nation where a handful of people decide who shall live and who shall die.
Please read the entire post here.
Via a New York Times email alert:
An Idaho man accused of firing two shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama or his staff. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, made his first court appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Thursday, one day after he was arrested at a western Pennsylvania hotel. He will be taken back from a federal court in Pittsburgh to face the charges in Washington, D.C.
Ortega will remain in federal custody at least until a magistrate in Washington can determine if he should remain jailed until his trial on the charge, which carries up to life in prison.
And via another one from Politico:
An Idaho man was charged Thursday with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama during an incident last week in which shots were fired at the White House. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, was arrested Wednesday in western Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, a broken window was discovered on a residence floor of the White House, along with several bullets that may have come from Friday’s shooting. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were traveling in California at the time of the shooting incident.
For more information… http://www.politico.com
Kudos to President Obama for doing what BushCo couldn’t and wouldn’t do, because, you know, Bush didn’t “spend that much time on him.” He just couldn’t be bothered with pesky things like vigilance.
Before Osama bin Laden died at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in May, his terror wish list reportedly included attacking the United States on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and shooting down President Obama’s helicopter or plane while the president was in the air. [...]
[I]ntelligence gathered during the May 2 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan revealed that the al Qaeda head discussed with his operations planners a wide array of potential attacks against the U.S. and senior American officials.
There were no actual “plots” in the works, but this was on OBL’s to-do list. Good riddance.
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