Obama to Nominate John Brennan, 'Kill List' Architect, as New CIA Chief

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It will be interesting to see how Obama and Democratic Party loyalists/apologists spin this selection....

Obama to Nominate John Brennan, 'Kill List' Architect, as New CIA Chief

John Brennan's career spans from the dark days of Bush's torture program to Obama's secretive 'kill list'

The Associated Press is reporting Monday morning that Obama's top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan—who has also been Obama's right hand man when it comes to governing the administration's program of extrajudicial assassinations known as the 'kill list'—will now be nominated to head the CIA.

Brennan was previously considered for the top CIA position by Obama at the beginning of the his presidency in 2009, but that consideration was withdrawn after voices of opposition raised substantial concern about Brennan's involvement with the CIA's torture program which flourished during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Among those concerned were military psychologists and civilian opponents of the torture program who penned an open letter at the time calling on the newly-elected Obama to reject Brennan from consideration. They wrote:

Mr. Brennan served as a high official in George Tenet's CIA and supported Tenet's policies, including "enhanced interrogations" as well as "renditions" to torturing countries. According to his own statements, Mr. Brennan was a supporter of the "dark side" policies, wishing only to have some legal justification supplied in order to protect CIA operatives. [...]

The use of these tactics goes against the moral fiber of our country and is never justified. This is true whether these "enhanced interrogation" techniques are used directly by U.S. forces, as in the CIA's "black sites," or by other countries acting as our surrogates, as in the "renditions" program where individuals are taken to countries practicing torture, resulting in suffering inflicted by that country's forces. [...]

In order to restore American credibility and the rule of law, our country needs a clear and decisive repudiation of the "dark side" at this crucial turning point in our history. We need officials to clearly and without ambivalence assert the rule of law. Mr. Brennan is not an appropriate choice to lead us in this direction. The country cannot afford to have him as director of our most important intelligence agencies.

Though Brennan was taken out of consideration for the CIA position, months later he was appointed by Obama to be his chief counterterrorism advisor, where he was instrumental in developing what has become known as the 'disposition matrix' or 'kill list' program following reporting that emerged in the Washington Post in 2012.

In a public speech in 2012, Brennan defended the Obama administration's drone program, but was met with protest by CodePink's Medea Benjamin, who challenged the legitimacy and legality of the program that Brennan is largely viewed as running:

As Common Dreams reported in May of a last year, Brennan also used his position in the White House to "seize the lead" in secretly determining who would die in the increasingly aggressive US assassination program overseas.

US officials with firsthand knowledge of how the government determines who gets put on the CIA and Pentagon's lists for 'targeted killing' have confessed concern over the implications and nature of the process. In conversations with the Associated Press, one official involved -- who spoke with assurances of anonymity -- said that some of those carrying out the policy have become leery of "how easy it has become to kill someone," under the rules established under the Obama administration and orchestrated by Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan.

Brennan, who last month offered the first public admission by a White House official of the existence of the clandestine drone assassination program in places like Pakistan and Yemen, has amassed unique powers by consolidating the decision-making process to a select and tightly-controlled group of people, according to AP's reporting.

"Under the new plan, Brennan's staff compiles the potential target list and runs the names past agencies such as the State Department at a weekly White House meeting," the report cites officials as describing. "Previously, targets were first discussed in meetings run by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen at the time, with Brennan being just one of the voices in the debate. Brennan ultimately would make the case to the president, but a larger number of officials would end up drawn into the discussion."

Many critics of the secretive program have called for its end, but even attempts for more transparency or simply a legal justification by the White House for the extrajudicial attacks—some of which have seen the assassination of US citizens living abroad—have been rebuffed by officials or scuttled by recent court action.

“Anyone who thought U.S. targeted killing outside of armed conflict was a narrow, emergency-based exception to the requirement of due process before a death sentence is being proven conclusively wrong,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, following details of the program presented in the Washington Post series. “The danger of dispensing with due process is obvious because without it, we cannot be assured that the people in the government’s death database truly present a concrete, imminent threat to the country. What we do know is that tragic mistakes have been made, hundreds of civilian bystanders have died, and our government has even killed a 16-year-old U.S. citizen without acknowledging let alone explaining his death. A bureaucratized paramilitary killing program that targets people far from any battlefield is not just unlawful, it will create more enemies than it kills.”

Despite those concerns, John Brennan—the chief architect of the program—if nominated by Obama and approved by the Senate, is about to get a significant promotion.

John Brennan as Obama's Dick Cheney

For additional perspective on the nomination, Amy Goodman interviewed EmptyWheel's Marcy Wheeler on Democracy Now! Monday.

Wheeler, who has written extensively on Brennan's role in some of the government's most controversial programs in recent years, noted that in addition to his support for torture and the assassination under the last two presidents, Obama's pick should be of heightened concerned due to Brennan's propensity for "lying" to the public and making gross misrepresentations of key issues.

Citing several examples, Wheeler told listeners that "when John Brennan says something, you shouldn’t necessarily believe John Brennan."

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/07

John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/john-brennan-dishonesty-cia-director-nomination

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norske
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Comments

Bush --> Obama is what you'd call a seamless transition.

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Scappoose
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Quote Scappoose:

Bush --> Obama is what you'd call a seamless transition.

That, and what Glen Ford deemed "The More Effective Evil"

http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Golly Gosh & Gee Whiz -

with all the imaginary cliff distractions and pretend divisionary theatrics - who (beside the totally deaf and dumb) coulda seen this coming?

When they put many things out there all at once to dilute potential serious debate on any one item - is the result dilution or delusion?

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Rodger97321
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Quote Rodger97321:When they put many things out there all at once to dilute potential serious debate on any one item - is the result dilution or delusion?

Dilution or delusion... both seem to obtain the desired result.... war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US continue full speed ahead....

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norske
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As I have pointed out here from time to time, fascinating to observe what has become the new normal... Give Obama a few more years and he could surpass the crimes, lies and mass slaughters of Nixon; the crimes, lies, befuddlement. assaults on the working class and the poor and mass slaughters of Reagan; the crimes, lies and deceit of Bush; the lies, crimes, mass slaughter and hubris of Clinton; and the psychopathy of Cheney/Bush... Personally, I think he can do it...

Just think what could become normal, what Democrats will be willing to accept and apologize for in a few more years....

"In his assessment of the decision, the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald argues that it should not be shocking that Brennan—who was withdrawn from consideration for CIA chief in 2008 because of his association with the CIA's torture program under President Bush—has now been brought back by President Obama in 2013.

Greenwald called Obama's nomination of Brennan a "symptom of Obama's own extremism [in the controversial areas of torture, targeted killings, and the US drone policy], not a cause."

Calling it a fitting choice, Greenwald said the decision

is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush's most radical policies is not only Obama's choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus."

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/07

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CODEPINK Says No to John Brennan for the CIA

Today President Obama nominated John Brennan to be head of the CIA. This nomination is an example of the Obama administration’s continuation of the disastrous post-9/11 policies of the Bush administration. Once CODEPINK heard about the coming nomination, we decided to protest in front of the white house. Within just a couple of hours banners were made, the press was called, and other CODEPINKers were alerted....

The main architect of this drone policy that has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents, including 176 children in Pakistan alone, is President Obama’s counterterrorism chief and his pick for the next director of the CIA: John Brennan.,,,,

http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-liberal/2013/01/codepink-says-no-to-joh...

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norske
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I agree that the Wesley Clark, Breshinski justifications for the drones fail. Brennan is a thug. I have criticized Obama for his "good war" myths about Afghanistan, and even with the weight of the legions in cynical calculations, giving in to the military justification for the drone strikes and the image of being the Great Terrorist Killer are tragic. The silver lining with Hagel is his get out quicker thinking. With Brennan, I just hope for lightening to strike because God just can't take it anymore.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
With Brennan, I just hope for lightening to strike because God just can't take it anymore.
I wouldn't worry about God. He's pretty capable of taking care of himself, if everything they say about him is true. Brennan is probably an unwise choice, but only for political reasons. Drones with prior notification is the optimal choice of strategy for satisfying Geneva dictates to minimize collateral damage. Brennan knows how to do that. Of course, this doesn't pass the ick factor for the Bluebirds and Lollipos folks. Hiding behind innocent civilians creates a lot of ick.

(I don't remember Obama saying anything about this being a "good war". You seem to have been criticizing something that never existed.).

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You do know that John Brennan is the one who said that All Military age males in the area of a drone strike are considered Enemy Combatants -

The guy is a Lying murderous thug with plenty of blood on his hands - and as a representative of the US government - serving both Democrats and Republicans, makes all that innocent blood on our collective hands.

At least Obama has shown that the dems are no less murderous than the rethugs - and when its Team Blue at the helm any and all depravities are A-OK.

Never again do I want to hear how the democrats are a Lesser Evil - what a crock.

Ps - you can google the Obama Good War quote which he used during the 2008 presidential elections.

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Scappoose
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you can google the Obama Good War quote which he used during the 2008 presidential elections.
I took your advice and tried that. I found tons of comments by other people who referred to Obama's "good war" and "bad war", but failed to find what Obama actually said that is being interpreted as "good war". I expected a quote from a speech, or perhaps from something he had written. No luck. However, with so many people referring to it as a "good war", I'll probably have to accept that this is likely something he actually said.

All reports are that you are correct about Brennan's statements. I didn't know that. It has no impact on the actual numbers of collateral damage, or how they got to be collateral damage, but was a dishonest accounting trick to lower the numbers of reportable collateral damage. I'm convinced. John Brennan is a bad guy.

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Thanks Art for being open to info - we don't see that much in todays partisan world.

Now go read about Jacob Jack Lew considered to be Obama's replacement for Treasury Sec. Whats your opinion on him?

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Scappoose
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Quote Art:All reports are that you are correct about Brennan's statements.
Now I understand why Poly is so deathly afraid that he may be assassinated by President Obama.
Now go read about Jacob Jack Lew considered to be Obama's replacement for Treasury Sec.
I know absolutely nothing about him.

___

Apparently, Lew was COO of a Citigroup company that shorted the housing market. That, in itself, may be bad, maybe not. Dunno whether he had anything to do with promoting housing securities. His group was a hedge fund. Hedging is what they do. This may have just been a smart investment decision. Dunno yet. I'm also not sure that the huge bonus he got should be held against him. That's going to take some thought. Don't want to jump to conclusions. His plans for deficit reduction look OK to me.

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Hi Art - I started a thread on lew - check it out.

The guy worked in the Obama admin and wasone of the guys pushing the financial deregulation laws that Clinton is now famous for -

And worked at citi and received a 950k bonus in 2009 shortly after Citi was bailed out.

That makes him in my opinon another Bankster.

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That makes him in my opinon another Bankster.
How does it make him culpable?

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John Brennan vs. a Sixteen-Year-Old Boy

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/09-0

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Be it Kissinger, Reagan, Carter, Cheney/Bush, Brennan or Obama... there are no reluctant war criminals and those who torture and construct kill lists....

"No body of men can be induced to do another man's killing for him unless he can convince them that they may honorably do so. The percentage of blackguards and sadists who enjoy cruelty for its sake have to pretend that they are patriots and ministers of justice to secure the toleration of their fellow citizens". George Bernard Shaw

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1/9/13 -

posted by one of Thom's chatters today:

The Brennan nomination: A government of torturers and assassins

miksilvr
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Now go read about Jacob Jack Lew considered to be Obama's replacement for Treasury Sec. Whats your opinion on him?
I'm not studying Lew. Just picking up stuff that I hear. They're saying that he is a very tough and savvy negotiator. Boehner finds him very tough to deal with. They're saying that he was never in that community of investment bankers that colluded in the real estate bubble. [/quote]Lew, 57, has often been described as a ‘‘pragmatic liberal’’ who understands what it takes to make a deal even as he stands by his ideological views.[/quote]

We've read that the President intends to make even more demands on Republicans going forward, and this suggests that Lew was picked for just this reason. I'm optimistic. I think Lew my be a great pick.

Where's that new thread you said you were starting?

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Art, I have a memory of that term being cited in a discussion with or of Obama and foreign policy when the point was getting out of Iraq and Osama was still alive. Obama affirmed what many of you have asserted about the international consensus and process by which that war was begun and backed the mission as defined by Petreus, et al rather than turning off the switch. He took on being the War President Bush was not. As the elected Emperor, he decided to back the legions in Afghanistan instead of withdraw them.

We can construct various scenarios for this decision. That exercise tends to be about what we want others to think rather than what we are willing to learn. What I conclude is that Obama did not believe that the mission in Afghanistan was fultile or less than honorable, unlike his opinion of the Iraq War. I think he agreed about the error made in deflecting forces from the pursuit of terrorists to the PNACrap. His imperial vision of America is not theirs. How burned and on fire one gets fighting fire with fire is also hard to analyze, as it always is with the inside game.

It is clear that Obama is not building an Academy for Peacemaking in DC. Even if he might think it a good idea for later, he sees his job now as 'winning' or 'cutting our losses' in Afghanistan while preserving the infrastructure of the empire as a whole lot of shakin' is goin' on. Trying to think of any national leader who has put the going out of business sign up on an empire draws a blank. They always are trying to hold it together or figure out how to lay the ground to reclaim rather than abandon their realms. The "great" foreign policy master of European history was Metternich who made the art of entropy into a lethal release of tension instead of transition. Everything Kissinger says about his craft comes from the same place.

Brennan is a thug and enforcer for the mob. Empires manage to get laws passed or waived to have thugs enforce their domination. It is in the nature of empires to dominate, not embrace participatory governance. Perpetual War requires the suspension of normal constitutional practices as the new normal. Orwell is providing turbine generation revolutions sufficient to power a city in his grave.

drc2
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drc2, your position on this is well known by now. Noted and acknowledged. I don't really quibble with your facts. I don't think your position becomes any stronger with the prejudicial and emotional language. On balance, I find it off-putting. It is Utopian language. For myself, I find it much more productive to discuss these things dispassionately. However, we do have a first Amendment.

Now, where is that response from Scapoose?

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Lew appears not to be much more than your average hedge fund manager as opposed to the architects of the Bubble and Crash, and his take is part of the crappy normal we are supposed to ignore rather than the really big stuff. He did not make Greg Palast's list of the worst excuses for human beings, while Tiny Tim did get a whack. He appears to be a lot better educated than Romney for a hedger.

The fact that Boner dislikes him is great!

Obviously the jury is out because Lew is just now going on "trial" for our evaluation. It will have to come back in to hear and consider the evidence before deciding.

On the suspicious side, we have the fact that Obama has coddled the financial criminals and placated them rather than give them real cause to oppose him. They opposed him anyway, and here comes Elizabeth Warren and a building public consensus about the meaning of "bankster." If Lew, knowing and being known as an industry insider, can bring tough negotiations with credibility, he may make these clowns back down and accept some lumps of coal for the kindness of not being strung up in the public square. But, we have every reason to suspect the other side, that Lew will be a Good Old Boy and give the wink and nod as the tough negotiations are about what the public gets other than the bills.

My more serious concern is what WE are ready to do that Obama and Lew will have to consider as they think about what to do. We have to project more than a hope that HE or DC will do what we hope they might do. We have to let them know that we are fed up with this crap and ready for a new deal, not just memory, but the end of this Casino Insanity. I haven't met anyone who isn't pissed at these shitheads, and I want Obama and Lew to be more afraid of us than of the banksters.

Did anybody think Krugmann or Reich was going to get the job?

drc2
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That's one way of looking at it.

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Lew is No Liberal - he was an integral part of the Clinton team that pushed for financial deregulation and then went to work for Citibank where he was COO and ran the funds that pushed Shorting the Housing market and psuhed risky derivitives.

He left Citibank in early 2009 with a $950,000 bonus shortly after Citibank was bailed out.

He has testified Under Oath that he doesnt believe that financial deregulation had anything to do with the 2008 crash!

So he helped deregulte the financial industry, left gov and entered the banking sector and Directly profited from the rules he helped to pass - and when the whole shibang blew up took home a huge bonus from a bailed out bank and then reentered government and proceeded to fight off any re-regulation of Wall Street.

Is this not Exact pattern that has destroyed many livelyhoods around the nation?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/jacob-lew-another-brick-i_...

Lew is decidedly not just another banker profiting off a system already in place. Lewmdirectly helped create the system and profited of it on the way up the Bubble AND on the way down.

Is this now acceptable for democrats? It's par for the course for repubs - and it's par for the course for the Obama admin.

No wonder the DLC was disbanded - the Democratic Party is now wholy owned by the nefarious forces that pushed the DLC.

Not good for democracy, the rule of law or We the People. I'll also add that Lew sees Austerity as the corrct way forward - and not regulaton or holding banksters accountable.

These people are cancers and predators. The economy will Never return with these people holding the highest positions of power.

Ps to Art - the Lew post was under economics - nobody responded - maybe no one really cares if lew was a Austerity - bankster ecoomy crasher -

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Here's what I got out of your post that is useful.

Lew is No Liberal - he was an integral part of the Clinton team that pushed for financial deregulation and then went to work for Citibank where he was COO and ran the funds that pushed Shorting the Housing market and psuhed risky derivitives.

He left Citibank in early 2009 with a $950,000 bonus shortly after Citibank was bailed out.

He has testified Under Oath that he doesnt believe that financial deregulation had anything to do with the 2008 crash!

So he helped deregulte the financial industry, left gov and entered the banking sector and Directly profited from the rules he helped to pass - and when the whole shibang blew up took home a huge bonus from a bailed out bank and then reentered government and proceeded to fight off any re-regulation of Wall Street.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/jacob-lew-another-brick-i_...

Lewmdirectly helped create the system and profited of it on the way up the Bubble AND on the way down.

Is this now acceptable for democrats? It's par for the course for repubs - and it's par for the course for the Obama admin.

From what I've read. ome of it is questionable. Some not exactly true. Some is empty rhetoric. Some has merit. Some is pretty irrelevant to what I hope to see going forward. Andy Kroll has a point of view and he expresses it well.

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State Department Contractor talking to Defense Department Contractor:

"How can you tell if the child you are raping was raised Sunni or Shiah?"

"Well, I'll never tell - but I'll have to bill you double!"

"Yeah, just be sure to say Brennan or Netanyahu signed off on it like before - should go right through, no problem."

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Brennan is a bad accountant. He misrepresented the definition of enemy combattant in order to be able to report unrealistically low numbers of collateral damage from drone strikes. That was dishonest.

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Quote Art:

Brennan is a bad accountant. He misrepresented the definition of enemy combattant in order to be able to report unrealistically low numbers of collateral damage from drone strikes. That was dishonest.

Of course... it isn't that Brennan is a psychopath like his boss... he's just a poor accountant....

Thank goodness we have people in power to make "legal" that which is obscene... or as Howard Zinn wrote: "The rule of law, oh, how wonderful all those courses in Western Civilization all over the land. Remember those bad old days when people were exploited by feudalism? Everything was terrible in the middle ages - but now we have Western civilization, the rule of law. The Rule Of Law Has Regularized And Maximized The Injustice That Existed Before The Rule Of Law, That Is What The Rule Of Law Has Done. [.....] We all grow up with the notion that the law is holy. They asked Daniel Berrigan's mother what she thought of her son's breaking the law. He burned draft records - one of the most violent acts of this century - to protest the war, for which he was sentenced to prison, as criminals should be. They asked his mother who is in her eighties, what she thought of her son's breaking the law. And she looked straight in the interviewer's face, and she said, It's not God's law." Now we forget that. There is nothing sacred about the law. Think of who makes the laws. The law is not made by God, it is made by Strom Thurmond. If you have any notion about the sanctity and loveliness and reverence for the law, look at the legislators around the country who make the laws."

Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, droning of innocent children, assassinations, extra judicial murders... change the meaning of words and what the US at one time prosecuted and executed those in other nations for committing, all of a sudden becomes "legal".... Can't make this stuff up...

Thank goodness the US has a Nobel Peace Laureate Democratic President in charge... no telling what horrors would have been unleashed upon the world if Romney had been elected/appointed....

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norske
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Nope, Brennan is the psychopath the Imperially separated conscience of The President can follow and then go back to being himself again. Not saying it is good or healthy, but I like to keep the psychopathic frame to its facts and face the fact that it does not take psychpaths to do this. It does not work to call Obama a psychopath because he does not show it. The actions of the Emperor, of course, must be about these important matters of extreme gravitas. No real human being could do this job. Some relish it and others don't. Obama has accepted the idea that a reconciled and unified Empire is change enough and grounds for hope. I think he is wrong about getting what he wants and wrong about it being what we need.

I would like to see a Peace and Justice Movement trying to get the Progressive Caucus and other Democrats linked up so they can be part of either taking the Democratic Party over or being the big chunk needed to attract others who are alienated from the duopoly to a real electoral option. It is not enough to bemoan the Democrats. Third Parties on the Left need to go Tea Party on the Democratic Party instead of disdaining them from the sidelines.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

More than likely it is just a disagreement over semantics, and I am likely influenced by my 30 some odd years of working with those who are "mentally ill."

Many would consider those who facilitate the use of torture, rendition, indefinite detention, prosecution of whistle blowers, war crimes, crimes against humanity, assassination of US citizens, refusal to prosecute war criminals, droning of innocent men, women and CHILDREN, and lengthy assorted lists of crimes against the people of the US and the people of the rest of the world to be the work of a psychopath... I can see how some would like to label it as something else...

Good luck at working within the confines of the Democratic party to affect change, I wish you the best... How's it been working so far since Obama was elected in 2008? I kept reading about how this time, in 2012, Democratic party loyalists were really going to hold Obama accountable if he continued with Cheney/Bush's 4th term. Looking forward to seeing Obama's progressive side for once...

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norske
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Quote drc2:

I would like to see a Peace and Justice Movement trying to get the Progressive Caucus and other Democrats linked up so they can be part of either taking the Democratic Party over or being the big chunk needed to attract others who are alienated from the duopoly to a real electoral option.

What progressive caucus?

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13795-the-progressive-caucus-enabling-...

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The militants who have killed so many Americans, westerners of all kinds, their own fellow citizens, and who the Liberal Elite love so much and want to protect, are making good progress establishing a country of their own in Northern Mali. The French don't think they ought to be allowed to have a sovereign country. They will assume the burden of warfare initially in Mali. They might choose to use the daisy cutters and such, but more likely drones. Fortunately, there aren't many Mali citizens in the North. Perhaps, the french shoud just allow the terrorists to have their own country.

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Art
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Nomination Ignores War Crimes

President Obama has expended extraordinary efforts to protect from accountability all Bush-era officials responsible for torture, rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, programs that numerous human rights groups have insisted constitute war crimes and violations of U.S. criminal law.

The result is that support for those war crimes no longer carries any real stigma. By blocking any form of criminal and civil accountability for these acts, President Obama has transformed what were once universally unspeakable and taboo beliefs into little more than respectable, garden-variety political disagreements.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/01/07/the-right-or-wrong-exper...

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norske
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Sticks and Drones, and Company Men: The Selective Outrage of the Liberal Caste

Brennan, of course, is President Obama’s highly-trusted national security and counterterrorism advisor, the co-architect and co-executor, with Obama, of the expanded, worldwide drone assassination policy – so trusted that The New York Times has described him as “a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.”4

The “priest” reference is not a throwaway. This Times article is an extraordinary portrait of Obama and Brennan’s intimate pas de deux in executing deadly drone and rendition policies, and it’s a relationship that appears to many as saturated with theological significance. Obama, we are told, is “A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas,” who “believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions.” With Brennan’s “blessing,” of course: “Guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama …signs off on every [drone] strike.”

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2013/01/sticks-and-drones-and-company-men.html

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Obama's War Mongers

http://www.blackagendareport.com/category/us-politics/john-brennan

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

John ‘Little Cheney’ Brennan, the Neo-Con Don of the CIA – Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

With all the screeching, tearing and gnashing of teeth by GOP mouthpieces from silly little Lindsey Graham to angst driven decrepit old men, like Johnny McCain - trying to recapture his boyish Jet-Jockey sociopathy-concerning nominees for Secretary of State, there is an audible silence on behalf of the professional Congressional loud mouths - Not a word, not a peep, by those very same naysayers, questioning the 2nd nomination announced in President Obama’s speech, January 7, John Brennan.

“For the last four years, as my Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, John developed and has overseen our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy — a collaborative effort across the government, including intelligence and defense and homeland security, and law enforcement agencies,” said Obama. “And so think about the results. More al Qaeda leaders and commanders have been removed from the battlefield than at any time since 9/11.”

So with Obama’s obvious great admiration for this secret agent man, why is Congress so silent?

Maybe it’s because John Brennan is the poster boy for the continuation of the war crimes of the Bush Administration and, therefore, the fair haired child of those same neo-cons who put us into the bloody, immoral wars on Iraqi citizens, on Afghani citizens and the systematic destruction of human rights and civil rights of peoples all over the planet to include the destruction of the basic human and civil rights of American citizens.

http://freakoutnation.com/2013/01/13/john-little-cheney-brennan-the-neo-con-don-of-the-cia-meet-the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss/

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

IMO, the following says it all.

It is the press release from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the letter that he sent to CIA-director nominee John O. Brennan.

Quote Sen. Ron Wyden:

John O. Brennan,
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. Brennan:

Congratulations on your nomination to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I appreciated the opportunity to speak to you last week, and I look forward to meeting with you prior to your hearing to continue our discussion in more detail. I would also appreciate your help in providing me with responses to a number of questions that I and others have asked on topics relevant to your nomination.

First, as you may be aware, I have asked repeatedly over the past two years to see the secret legal opinions that contain the executive branch's understanding of the President's authority to kill American citizens in the course of counterterrorism operations. Senior intelligence officials have said publicly that they have the authority to knowingly use lethal force against Americans in the course of counterterrorism operations, and have indicated that there are secret legal opinions issued by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that explain the basis for this authority. I have asked repeatedly to see these opinions, and I have been provided with some relevant information on the topic, but I have yet to see the opinions themselves.

Both you and the Attorney General gave public speeches on this topic early last year, and these speeches were a welcome step in the direction of more transparency and openness, but as I noted at the time, these speeches left a large number of important questions unanswered. A federal judge recently noted in a Freedom of Information Act case that "no lawyer worth his salt would equate Mr. Holder's statements with the sort of robust analysis that one finds in a properly constructed legal opinion," and I assume that Attorney General Holder would agree that this was not his intent.

As I have said before, this situation is unacceptable. For the executive branch to claim that intelligence agencies have the authority to knowingly kill American citizens but refuse to provide Congress with any and all legal opinions that explain the executive branch's understanding of this authority represents an alarming and indefensible assertion of executive prerogative. There are clearly some circumstances in which the President has the authority to use lethal force against Americans who have taken up arms against the United States, just as President Lincoln had the authority to order Union troops to take military action against Confederate forces during the Civil War, But it is critically important for Congress and the American public to have full knowledge of how the executive branch understands 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. I have an obligation from my oath of office to review any classified legal opinions that lay out the federal government's official views on this issue, and I will not be satisfied until I have received them. So, please ensure that these opinions are provided to me, along with the other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and our cleared staff, and that we receive written assurances that future legal opinions on this topic will also he provided.

Second, as you may be aware, my staff and I have been asking for over a year for the complete list of countries in which the intelligence community has used its lethal counterterrorism authorities. To my surprise and dismay, the intelligence community has declined to provide me with the complete list. In my judgment, every member of the Senate Intelligence Committee should know (or be able to find out) all of the countries where United States intelligence agencies have killed or attempted to kill people. The fact that this request was denied reflects poorly on the Obama Administration's commitment to cooperation with congressional oversight. So, please ensure that the full list of countries is provided to me, along with the other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and our cleared staff.

Third, over two years ago Senator Feingold and I wrote to the Attorney General regarding two classified opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, including an opinion that interprets common commercial service agreements. We asked the Attorney General to declassify both of these opinions, and to revoke the opinion pertaining to commercial service agreements. Last summer, I repeated this request, and noted that the opinion regarding commercial service agreements has direct relevance to ongoing congressional debates regarding cybersecurity legislation. The Justice Department still has not responded to these letters. Please ensure that I receive a response, so that I can review this response as I consider your nomination.

Fourth, in December 2010 Senator Feingold and I wrote a classified letter to the Attorney General regarding the interpretation of a particular statute. Early last year, I repeated my request for a response to this letter. The Justice Department still has not responded to these letters. Please ensure that I receive a response, so that I can review this response as I consider your nomination.

I recognize that these requests encompass a substantial amount of information. I would note, however, that all of these requests date back more than one year, and all but one of them date back more than two years. Taken together, these failures to respond start to form a pattern in which the executive branch is evading congressional oversight by simply not responding to congressional requests for information. I ask that you help correct this problem by ensuring that I receive prompt, substantive responses to all of these requests.

I am also attaching a number of more specific questions about the executive branch's legal analysis regarding the killing of American citizens. I hope that these questions are directly addressed in the secret legal opinions, but to the extent that they are not, please ensure that I receive answers to them. I would also urge the executive branch to make all of these answers available to the public as well, As I have noted before, individual Americans generally do not expect to know every detail about sensitive military and intelligence operations, but voters absolutely have a need and a right to understand the boundaries of what is and is not permitted under the law, so that they can debate what should and should not be legal and ratify or reject decisions that elected officials make on their behalf. And I believe that every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them.

Finally, as you know, the Senate Intelligence Committee recently completed a 6000 page report on the use of torture and coercive interrogations by the CIA. Please be prepared to discuss the major findings and conclusions of this report. I am particularly interested in getting your reaction to the report's revelation that the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress, and your view on what steps should be taken to correct inaccurate statements that were made to the public.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. I look forward to discussing these issues with you further.

Sincerely,
Ron Wyden

==================

Attachment: Specific Questions Regarding the President's Authority to Use Lethal Force Against Americans

• How much evidence does the President need to determine that a particular American can be lawfully killed? Senior Administration officials have stated that the individual must pose a "significant" or “imminent” threat, but how much evidence is required to determine that this is the case?

• Does the President have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender before killing them? Does this obligation change if the President's determination that a particular American is a valid target has not been publicly announced or publicly reported?

• Senior officials have stated that the use of lethal force is permitted in situations where capture is not feasible. What standard is used to determine whether it is feasible to capture a particular American?

• Is the legal basis for the intelligence community's lethal counterterrorism operations the 2001 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or the President's Commander-in-Chief authority?

• 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'?

• The United States Constitution states that no American may "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Attorney General's 2012 speech at Northwestern University, which addressed the use of lethal force, referred to past Supreme Court cases that have applied this protection, and made apparent references to three cases in particular (Ex Parte Quirnin, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and Mathews. v. Eldridge). However, none of these cases specifically addresses the government's ability to kill Americans without trial. Given this distinction, what is the rationale for applying these particular decisions to the question of when the President may legally kill an American?

• The Attorney General's speech also stated that "Where national security operations are at stake, due process takes into account the realities of combat." This is another apparent reference to the Supreme Court's Hamdi v. Rumsfeld decision. But in the Hamdi case the Supreme Court appears to have used a different, more traditional definition of "combat" — the Hamdi case involved the rights of an American who had been captured in Afghanistan, but the Attorney General noted that his speech referred to the use of lethal force "outside the hot battlefield of Afghanistan." What impact, if any, does this broader definition of "combat" have on the applicable legal principles?

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Kafka in the Airby JOSEPH GROSSO

As Barack Obama embarks on his second term media discourse predicatively overflows with talk of how he could avoid the final term doldrums. And this of course all will lead toward talk of an alleged legacy from years from now. In that vain, and in a most pressing way, perhaps the legacy question could and should be answered now. Perhaps it should go by the name of Faheem Qureshi, the young man who in 2009 was the sole survivor of the first drone strike that Barack Obama ordered as president. Before that attack Qureshi, still just a teenager, was one of the top students in his class. After having his skull fractured in the attack and almost being blinded brain damage has made it a struggle for him ever since; or Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, the 16 year-old American citizen who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen.

There are thousands of such names that have died in the some 300 drone strikes ordered by Obama that have not only turned an entire region into a quasi concentration camp but have ushered in a new era of warfare, one even more callous and impersonal, made up of kill lists, macabre “baseball cards” in the words of one official- an era when an American justice department reserves the right to target and murder American citizens without an ounce of due process and even refuses to issue the legal briefs used to justify such an action.

A report titled Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan published by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of Stanford Law School and the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law makes the implications of this plain:

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.

Read more@:http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/15/kafka-in-the-air/

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Who Says You Can Kill Americans, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT OBAMA has refused to tell Congress or the American people why he believes the Constitution gives, or fails to deny, him the authority to secretly target and kill American citizens who he suspects are involved in terrorist activities overseas. So far he has killed three that we know of.

Presidents had never before, to our knowledge, targeted specific Americans for military strikes. There are no court decisions that tell us if he is acting lawfully. Mr. Obama tells us not to worry, though, because his lawyers say it is fine, because experts guide the decisions and because his advisers have set up a careful process to help him decide whom he should kill.

Read more@:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/opinion/who-says-you-can-kill-americans-mr-president.html?_r=0

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What I get from the Wyden letter is a long, hard shell Pentagon stonewall of Congress on almost everything the legions are doing overseas. Wyden is officially polite and respectful, but there is little doubt left about any expected cooperation if you read between the lines.

The historical account is not going to be about Obama and his drones and new departure in imperial presidency theory. It is going to be about his allowing the military to play out its strategy in Afghanistan, et al, and to play his part with them instead of watching with reluctance. He will bear the responsibility for his part, but to act as if "he" is taking it farther and making the mess a lot worse, I doubt that will be the conclusion. There are far less personal ways to understand the appeal and failure of "the surge." He let the military do what they thought would work and doing otherwise would have been complicated.

America, the Great Satan, the Global Bully and Master Terrorist is not Obama's creation either. The drones deserve this attention for sure, and we need not excuse Obama for his time in the Emperor's seat, but we make a better point when we note that the Empire has been too big and too evil to stop with good intentions. WE need to realize this to do our part.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the letter
All excellent questions. This is the reason so many Oregonians are proud of their Senator. I hope he gets some answers.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The campaign against John Brennan

Advocates are concerned about Brennan’s distressing record on civil liberties from his long career in intelligence under both the Bush and Obama administrations. CAIR, the country’s most prominent Muslim civil society group, and the ACLU, the civil liberties organization, have both already expressed concern about Brennan’s nomination.

But today, two liberal groups are turning up the pressure by mobilizing their members against the nominee. Calling Brennan the “assassination czar” of the Obama administration, CREDO, the increasingly active grassroots mobilizing group fueled by its cell phone business, and Demand Progress, a million-plus member civil rights organization, will begin mobilizing their members later this morning to urge the Senate to reject Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director.

Becky Bond, CREDO’s political director, said promoting Brennan sends a bad message. “Despite the virtual silence on both sides of the aisle when it comes to secret killings and extraordinary rendition, it’s still wrong now. What kind of message does it send to the rest of the world if the United States, a leading democracy, confirms ‘assassination czar’ John Brennan to head the CIA?”

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/10/the_campaign_against_john_brennan/

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Turning a Blind Eye: John Brennan

One wonders why Brennan’s nomination has been markedly less contentious. Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for The Guardian and author of “With Liberty and Justice for Some” suggests that Americans are turning a blind eye to the nation’s questionable counterterrorism policies that have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians across the globe: “Following Obama's lead, the country has decided to ignore the fact that it committed grievous crimes as part of the ‘War on Terror.’ Obama's Orwellian decree that we must ’look forward, not backward‘ has convinced huge numbers of citizens to sweep this all under the rug and pretend it never happened. That is what explains how Brennan went from radioactive and unconfirmable in 2008 to uncontroversial in 2013.” He adds that “by denying accountability for acts like torture of CIA detainees, President Obama helps remove them from the realm of unspeakable taboo.”

http://www.aaiusa.org/blog/entry/turning-a-blind-eye-john-brennan/

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think CREDO's actions are a really good thing. Brennan needs to answer some of these questions.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote norske:Becky Bond, CREDO’s political director, said promoting Brennan sends a bad message. “Despite the virtual silence on both sides of the aisle when it comes to secret killings and extraordinary rendition, it’s still wrong now. What kind of message does it send to the rest of the world if the United States, a leading democracy, confirms ‘assassination czar’ John Brennan to head the CIA?”

Much of that silence is due to fearful, self-protecting Congress people, IMO.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Perhaps it's because the outsourced detention of prisoners of war are no secret. It's all on the internet. Perhaps it's because there are no longer any secret killings. Funny how we call something secret, so secret that nobody can even say that it exists. The killings are all on the internet. Elsewise, why would there be complaints about them? The lack of information about collateral killings is because the Governments of Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan do not release the names and numbers. We do know all about the people killed in the Lt. Calley style atrocities. These have been in the news, including details on the courts-martial.

Perhaps the silence from Congress is because the people there, from Bernie Sanders to Ron Wyden, have a different opinion about whether the war is just and legal. CREDO needs to continue and intensify their actions along these lines. Get it all out in the open.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is where Dennis Kucinich is missing. He spoke out whenever he saw something that needed to be addressed and taken care of. He was not silent about the sending of drones into Libya in 2011, and questioned if Obama should be impeached for not declaring war and passing it through Congress for approval.

Just as the technology of internet was not yet precedented by a new spin on old laws, the new technology of drone war wasn't either. Kucinich was trying to stop drones from becoming "we're not sending troops, so it's not war," which would give unnoticed new dictatorial power to the White House, and would be completely against the Constitution.

That kind of earnest attitude toward his Congressional job got Kucinich gerrymandered out to Fox News.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm
Quote Karolina:

This is where Dennis Kucinich is missing. He spoke out whenever he saw something that needed to be addressed and taken care of. He was not silent about the sending of drones into Libya in 2011, and questioned if Obama should be impeached for not declaring war and passing it through Congress for approval.

I supported Kucinich as my own lessor evil rationalization compared to the warmongers of Obama and Romney... but there are many instances of his acting like a good and proper suck up to the Democratic party. The system is rigged... doesn't really matters much who heads it...

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote norske:I supported Kucinich as my own lessor evil rationalization compared to the warmongers of Obama and Romney... but there are many instances of his acting like a good and proper suck up to the Democratic party. The system is rigged... doesn't really matters much who heads it...

Sounds more like Kucinich is a bit rigged. We need someone with plenty of charisma, and energy, who can stand up to the 21st century Robber Barons and unrig the system. FDR, Lincoln, or JFK would be fine.....

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

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