Richard Nixon on the Torture Memos

The Rule of Slinky.Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

Frost: By definition.

Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

Nixon’s Views on Presidential Power: Excerpts from an Interview with David Frost [Landmark Supreme Court Cases]

Official: Obama doesn’t want interrogation charges [AP/TPM]


Honestly, I don’t know why Barry bothers anymore. The whole point of not going there is to heal the rifts in the nation after eight long years. But the only people who would clamor and rant and rave about going after Dubya and Cheney and the rest of them are already doing it.

Scoreboard? K-Lo hasn’t been converted, and never will be now that Black Eagle has show the sheer cheek to go and talk to a bunch of 22-year-olds in Indiana. It’s kind of hard to bag K-Lo together with the rest of the fundies but… oh, no, wait a minute, yes it is easy to do just that. So with the exception of people who, you know, actually nice and caring Christians, the religious right is gone. And, in truth: never gettable.

Most people like the economic policies, and the economy is slowly coming about (although the bankruptcy of Chrysler at the end of the month will probably cause some amount of downstream panic and — to be honest — the debt scares the shit out of me). But raise taxes on the top bracket from 35% to 39%, and then you instantaneously become both a socialist and a fascist. While some people may have latched onto Ron Paul as a fad, the true believers were never going to un-go Galt. And thus: teabaggers.

The House GOP is long gone. The Senate GOP is willing to screw around with Minnesota for just as long as they can before Al Franken gets seated. Top Texan dingbats actually talked about secession.

But nooooo…. Republicans are Americans too. Republicans are our friends.

Shit — Rahm was supposed to be the smart one. This is still 51/49 America. And the Dems are, for the first time in decades, clearly on the good end of that equation. It’s time to push, Rahm. Now or never, motherfucker.

@chicago bureau: The whole point of not going there is to heal the rifts in the nation after eight long years.

Look what it did for Ford.

Barry’s clearly picking his shots. Obviously the principle doesn’t persuade him, nor do the politics. Same with DOMA/DADT, which he’s sandbagging until someone else takes the lead. Like I say, dude’s shrewd — unlike Billary, you don’t even see the triangulation.

Ya know the psychological profile of the typical authoritarian is someone who really is shit-scared of everything. They really are quaking cowards, their world is filled with monsters under the bed, thats why they worship power and authority and are so eager to follow, they need someone to protect them from the boogerman.

I think Cheney and W really were panicked and freaked and thought that the al queada boogerman was coming to get them, and that the situation after 9-11 really was an imminent existential threat to us, as opposed to a fluke lucky hit by a bunch of crazed dipshits.

The poor fucks. So dumb, so evil.

@Prommie: You’re giving them too little credit.

That crew was waiting for years for a chance to reassert the imperial presidency that Cheney in particular thought was tragically discarded after Nixon. They saw 9/11 as an opportunity, not a disaster.

And the existential threat? Well, that’s how you keep the masses in line and appropriate your power. Worked very well for six decades, until the battery died last fall.

TJ/ BREAKING: NYT wins a Pulitzer (Breaking News) for its coverage of the most momentous story of our likfetime, the Spitzer scandal.
Other finalists included the Star and US Weekly.

@Mistress Cynica: Other finalists included the Star and US Weekly. What, they needed photos that included a trombone to do the Pulitzer name proud?

@Mistress Cynica:

I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you, to discover that John Ziegler was not awarded a Pulitzer for exposing the fact that Katie Couric engaged in vicious attack journalism when she scurrilously asked Sarah Palin what newspaper she reads in the morning.

@nojo: Well, of course, they are lying manipulating corrupt evil scumbags, and used it all to the hilt, but I do also think they were personally scared little wussbags, too.

@Mistress Cynica: The fucking Spitzer fucking scandal? The one we are gonna find out someday was a political takedown by the Bush admin leaking info it got through the total information awareness program to one of its corrupt hack prosecutors?

@Serolf Divad: It had been 3 days since I had seen or heard the word “Palin,” and you have to go and bring it up, thanks a fucking lot. Now I have to start over.


I can’t say the word “Sarah Palin” without affecting a wry, if subtle smile. I love that woman and what she’s done to the GOP. All the films of Bill Moyers, Michael Moore, and eveything written in The Nation, Harpers and Mother Jones over the past 30 years has done less to damage the Republican brand than our good friend Mrs. Palin.

Go Sarah!

@Serolf Divad: I’ve been meaning to ask, is that buckminster fuller?

DEVELOPING HARD: In a poll taken matching up the last four governors of New York, David Patterson came in… fourth. And for those of you playing at home, that means that more people want Eliot Spitzer in office than those who want Paterson there. (For the record, M. Cuomo 39, Pataki-on-Rye 33, Whore Diamonds 14, Paterson 8.)


looks around, sees no one talking about science fiction, figures it’s safe in here

@Mistress Cynica: A local paper won a Pulitzer for this here series on “Sheriff” Joe Arpaio. Times being what they are, one of the reporters and the editor were laid off from that paper months ago and last week, the paper reduced its days a-printin’ to 3/week.

@Jamie Sommers: I just saw that on Gawker. Tommcatt and I are still talking fashion on the last thread, BTW.

Gore Vidal calls it the Wurlitzer Prize.

@chicago bureau: I’m surprised he placed so high. I would have thought ninth or twentieth or something. Honestly. We lost Spitzer for this?

Pfft. I’m thinking about jacking up one of my cousins.

@SanFranLefty: Because he’s a petty criminal and just a moron in general.

My dad is one of nine kids — the oldest one, my favorite, decided to go all Human Stain on us and pass for white. I wasn’t angry with him; I didn’t think he was a traitor or anything. Even back then I knew the one-drop rule was stupid. I just missed him because passing for white meant that he had to disappear from our lives…

Before he started passing, he married a white woman, and they had at least two, maybe four, kids. The two I remember were about my age, and we used to play together. That marriage fell apart, and my cousins moved out way of state. I’m a little fuzzy on the next part, but I believe my uncle married another white woman, had some more kids, but they were in a different state, so I only have a vague memory of meeting some random cousins, if it’s a real memory. I’m not sure.

Then my uncle fell off the face of the Earth. That’s when the whole concept of passing was explained to me. If you pass, you have to create a whole new history for yourself, and you have to leave your darker-skinned family behind. Someone had my uncle’s contact information, because he’d show up for funerals, but that was the only time I saw him. The last time I saw him was in 1987, at a funeral, and I asked him why he left us. I told him that I missed him, that I loved him, and I begged him for his phone number. He hugged me and wrote down his number. When I tried it later, it wasn’t in service.

I used to visit my grandmother a lot. She was raising three of my cousins whose mother (Grandmom’s youngest daughter) had died because of medical malpractice. We were nine when she died. After my cousins were adults, my grandmother moved into an apartment, and my dad would visit her every Sunday. Sometimes I’d go with, and one day she showed me a picture of a cousin of mine. This cousin was the daughter of my uncle who passed for white. Grandmom talked about her a lot, but I don’t think they ever met.

My grandmother buried four of her children. I can’t imagine the pain. But really, she only buried three, because when my uncle who passed died, no one let us know. It was by chance that a family friend saw the obituary in some random paper, and that’s how my grandmother found out that her first-born had died.

While waiting for the train this morning, I read an email from one of my cousins. I guess he has been friending everyone on FB with our last name. Guess who he found. Yep, the youngest of my uncle’s kids. The subject was, “NEW COUSIN!! DID YOU KNOW [NAME REDACTED]?” And the text was, “This is [redacted]. I’ve included her on this email. We had a LOOOONG and INTERESTING conversation last night. She is [redacted]’s daughter. ARE THERE ANY OTHER COUSINS OUT THERE THAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT?”

And my heart sank. This kid just found out that everything her father told her is a lie, and she can’t talk to him about it. She has siblings she never knew about. She has close to 30 first cousins. She’s part black.

She probably doesn’t care about the black part, but that’s a lot to digest, and I’m worried her brain will asplode.

I would have much rather she find us. Instead of wondering why he didn’t know about her, my cousin should have wondered why she didn’t know about *us*.

So, I replied to the email and said that her dad was a private person, that my dad idolized him when they were younger, that her grandmother was a kind, loving strong woman who loved her very, very much. And I sent her a friend request. And I’m gonna beat the beejesus out of my other cousin for turning this child’s life upside down. (I think she’s 18-21 years old, but I’m not sure.) However old she is, her life has been changed dramatically. If she wants, she can speak with aunts and uncles who can tell her stories about what her dad was like growing up. I dunno. I just think petty criminal moron cousin should have thought a little bit before he went yapping. I mean, what if this kid’s mom is still alive and had no knowledge of us. Maybe he passed because the mom wouldn’t marry him otherwise. Meh. Who knows? I just think the whole situation could have been finessed better.


Wow, that’s quite a story…my partner’s niece is in a similar situation: her biological father was African-American, but they aren’t telling her about him. She assumes that her step-father (half-Fillipino) is her biodad.

This seems wrong to me, particularly because race is a factor in some diseases…but of course, no-one is saying anything because it is a VERY touchy subject….

@JNOV: That’s a hell of a story. My wife just talked to a friend whose brother killed himself last week and that seems almost tame compared to what you wrote about. It’s hard to imagine that people decide to cut themselves off from everyone and everything they knew growing up in the first place. With the easy flow of information today I suspect a whole lot of old secrets like your cousin’s are in the process of being exposed. I can only hope in the long run that’s a good thing.

Tommmcatt, we may have already passed the point where anybody is going to be able to keep secrets like these for very long.

@JNOV: I wish I could hug you right now.

@JNOV: Whoa. Wow. Write this up as a short story in the New Yorker. I am so fascinated by the topic of “passing” and even not in small part because I learned recently that my last name is not my last name, but instead my immigrant great-grandfather totally changed his name to a random last name that is now mine, and he changed his identity to avoid WW-I anti-Semitism and anti-German/Polish impulses in this country.

I love you! And you! And you! And you!

We still haven’t heard from our found cousin yet. Maybe she hasn’t logged on FB. Maybe her head asploded. Who knows.

I learned a couple of things after I told you this story. My dad met this little girl when she was about five. She probably has no memory of it, and my uncle brought his wife along, too. So maybe the wife knew about us, but it’s hard to say b/c my dad looks pretty white. Maybe my uncle was trying to find a way to tell the truth. I don’t know. All I know is that no one contacted us when he died which means they didn’t really know about us, or they didn’t want us at the funeral.

My father and my uncle were very close, so maybe my uncle just missed my dad and wanted to see him. Maybe my uncle didn’t like the rest of the family so much and didn’t mind cutting them out of his life. Some of my aunts and uncles are kinda crappy.

I also found out that a friend of the family ran into my dad on the street and that’s how we found out my uncle died. The obit was dug up later.

My idiot cousin that found her now thinks we should all get together. I’m like, ummmmm, no thanks. If the 26 of us got together in one place, I’d be afraid the po po would raid the joint b/c half of them are probably wanted. I don’t want to suffer a collateral-damage beat down. Last time I spoke with one of my cousins, she told me how she steals condoms from work and sells them on the block for $1 each. ::facepalm::

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