Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules.

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I, you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.

But my words like silent raindrops fell,

And echoed

In the wells of silence

Here are the rules.

The other day George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.

If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can’t the rest of us?

This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.

A friend of mine a couple of days ago, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:

No argument from me.  Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon.  Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.

So let’s see… if Obama doesn’t want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he’ll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik’s question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.  

Ford’s pardon of Nixon killed Ford politically, and not prosecuting Bush and Cheney has to kill Obama politically.

There has to be a political price to pay for not doing it, or he will not do it. Why would he, if there is no price to pay for not doing it and the price for doing it is high?

With things like the petition, Fertik’s insistent embarrassing questioning, people like Ari Melber doing their best to force the issue into the media, people need to force the price for not doing it so high that Obama and Holder cannot ignore it.

People did it to Ford. If people are willing to let Obama slide on this, then there is no reason Obama will not let Bush and Cheney slide on torture and war crimes.

It’s not up to Obama. It’s up to us. It’s up to me. It’s up to you.

Maybe, Going Forward, We Should Just Let Bernie Madoff Off?

Jane Hamsher at Huffington Post, January 12, 2008

If Obama were to announce right now that he was going to prosecute those who engaged in torture and war crimes, I understand it could trigger a rash of unwanted pardons before Bush left office and therefore it’s smart for him to hold his cards close.

But the reason that’s being given for not pursuing prosecutions makes little sense:

“My orientation’s going to be to move forward,” Obama said. The attorney general has to stay above politics and “uphold the Constitution,” Obama added, but his administration will focus on “getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.”

Any decision to not pursue those who broke the law is in no way “above politics” — and if we were going to apply this principle across the board, it would have as Ari Melber notes rather strange implications:

No one argues against prosecuting Bernie Madoff so that the Justice Department can focus on fixing the economy, going forward. In fact, faithfully and uniformly enforcing the law is crucial to “getting things right in the future.” Any deterrence produced via criminal sanction is undermined when future, potential offenders see that a law is not actually enforced. People are more likely to follow the law when they see that breaking it carries consequences. This is such a basic foundation of our criminal system, justified by the elemental rationales of deterrence and retribution, it is quite hard to imagine that so many seasoned attorneys and Washington journalists honestly believe that the best way “forward” is to undermine deterrence and the rule of law. 

Obama decision to appoint Eric Holder and Leon Panetta, who have made strong statements against torture, does indeed imply that he intends to “get it right” going forward. 

But it is disconcerting that, as Glenn Greenwald observes, Obama indicated yesterday he is looking for a way to set up a system outside the courts where evidence obtained by torture can be used against Guantanamo detainees. 

Glenn discusses Obama’s interview with George Stephanopolous:

What he’s saying is quite clear.  There are detainees who the U.S. may not be able to convict in a court of law.  Why not?  Because the evidence that we believe establishes their guilt was obtained by torture, and it is therefore likely inadmissible in our courts (torture-obtained evidence is inadmissible in all courts in the civilized world; one might say it’s a defining attribute of being civilized).  But Obama wants to detain them anyway — even though we can’t convict them of anything in our courts of law.  So before he can close Guantanamo, he wants a new, special court to be created — presumably by an act of Congress — where evidence obtained by torture (confessions and the like) can be used to justify someone’s detention and where, presumably, other safeguards are abolished.   That’s what he means when he refers to “creating a process.”

The synergy between right-wing fans of 24 who think torture is cool, members of the Bush administration who carried it out and the DC chattering class who mainstreamed it has created a climate where the political threat of directly dealing with the legacy of torture looms large. 

But 70,000 people demanding a Special Prosecutor on argues that the political price to be paid for sweeping everything under the carpet might be even bigger.

Jane Hamsher blogs at

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Don’t expect me to or even ask me to tell you why you should sign the petition.  

You already know why you should sign the petition. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you why you should sign the petition.

There is no more debate on these matters. The only people who want to continue debating these matters are war criminals who want to be let off the hook and supporters of letting war criminals off the hook.

Obama’s Duty To Prosecute Bush For War Crimes, Patriot Daily, December 29, 2008

Signing the petition drafted by budhydharma and Docudharma is not in defiance of our President-Elect Obama, but rather a sign of support for the difficult times that he and Holder will face when performing their clear constitutional duties.

As President, Obama will have the constitutional duty to faithfully execute our laws.

The constitutional oath of office will require President Obama to faithfully execute the office of President and preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. Our constitution also requires that our presidents “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  The principle of the rule of law is partially based on this Faithfully Execute clause which requires our President to comply with laws, our Constitution and treaties because our Constitution established a government of laws, not of men and women.

The Geneva Convention is one of the laws which must be faithfully executed.

Our constitution mandates that treaties are one of the laws that the President must faithfully execute.  Moreover, treaties are recognized as one of our supreme laws of the land alongside our Constitution and federal laws.  For over 200 years, the federal courts have reaffirmed that our President is bound by the laws of war, which include conventions. In fact, both Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)addressed issues of whether the US government was violating the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention.  Yet, some will whine that it is partisan to not exempt Bush from 200 years of precedent that governed presidents from both parties.

The Geneva Convention imposes a duty to prosecute former presidents who committed war crimes.

You already have your own reasons why you should sign the petition.

All the reasons that built up, piled one on top of the other for that past eight years as these criminals hijacked the country, dismantled the constitution and the rule of law, made their criminal friends fabulously wealthy, were directly responsible for the deaths of more than a million Iraqis in an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation, destroyed the global economy, wrecked America’s reputation around the world, and called you a traitor when you cried foul and set up schemes to spy on you and intimidate you into silence.

And tortured people in your name. Tortured people. In your name. Tortured people with the blackest, most heinous and most evil torture methods known to humanity. Tortured people with methods that America has pressed war criminal charges against other countries citizens for using. Tortured people with the most sadistic and evil methods the Spanish Inquisition and more recently the Khmer Rouge made a regular habit of using as an oppression tool. Tortured people with methods that have been universally condemned and outlawed by virtually every country and society on earth.

You already know. You already know all of your own reasons why you should sign the petition.

Sign The Goddamn War Crimes Petition Already!

Thanks for your help.


Skip to comment form

    • Edger on January 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm


    • Edger on January 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm


  1. think of you when I read this.  Enjoy!!!

    • Diane G on January 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    the whole series edger.

    That point does bear repetition. Emailed it to Maddow.

    • Edger on January 13, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Arianna Huffington: Memo to Obama: Moving Forward Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Also Look Back

    In one week, the U.S. Constitution will be front and center as Barack Obama solemnly swears to “preserve, protect, and defend” it.  Given all that has happened over the last eight years, that oath is not nearly as pro-forma as it used to be.   During his final press conference yesterday, President Bush said that when it came time “to protect the homeland” he would “worry about the Constitution of the United States.”  It wasn’t clear, as it hasn’t been for most of his time in office, whether his concern was directed at upholding the document or circumventing it.  So one of the questions facing the new president is: Will his promise to protect and defend the Constitution include an investigation into the assaults on it perpetrated by members of the Bush administration?

    Read the rest here…

    • Edger on January 14, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Call for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate U.S. Torture

       The Center for Constitutional Rights is calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to conduct a full, independent and public inquiry into the role of high-ranking U.S. officials in the abuse and torture of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and elsewhere around the world.

       With each week, more appalling government memos and documents come to light from a Freedom of Information Act request CCR filed with the American Civil Liberties Union, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace: the Bush Administration has systematically encouraged torture techniques prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and the Covenant against Torture.

       Our clients who have been released from Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib describe a deliberate program of abuse. Other CCR clients have been shipped off by our government to countries like Syria and Egypt to be interrogated under torture, a practice called ?extraordinary rendition? chronicled in an early-February New Yorker article and a Bob Herbert?s column in The Times.

       The Bush Administration has brought us down to a moral level unimaginable since the end of World War II, despite the fact that experts in interrogation know that torture produces bad intelligence and false confessions only fans the flames of hatred the world over and puts our own troops in danger.

       People like Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales must be held accountable for the dangerous policies they have put in place, but they will never investigate themselves.

       Please tell Congress and the president this must end. Join CCR and other groups like Human Rights Watch to call for a Special Prosecutor today!

    • Viet71 on January 14, 2009 at 12:28 am

    you have found a home.

    You are great.

    • dkmich on January 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

    he is looking for a way to set up a system outside the courts where evidence obtained by torture can be used against Guantanamo detainees.  

    Deans speech about the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party is as true today as it has ever been.


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