Obama Taps John Brennan for Terrorism Adviser

President-Elect Barack Obama gets his man:

Barack Obama has picked John O. Brennan as his top adviser on counterterrorism, a role that will give the CIA veteran a powerful voice on the government's use of security contractors and on other sensitive issues in which he recently has played a private-sector role.

.... The president-elect's decision comes only six weeks after Brennan was forced to pull out of contention for the directorship of the CIA because of fears that his statements supporting some controversial interrogation techniques would have complicated his confirmation.

This reminds me of Bush's tendency towards recess appointments to get around Senate confirmation. [More...]

Brennan heads up a firm called the Analysis Corp, which is owned by Global Strategies:

London-based Global Strategies, has been a target of critical news accounts about harsh actions by its hired soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama has criticized the actions of similar firms, such as Blackwater Worldwide, and co-sponsored legislation to ensure that such firms are subject to U.S. laws even when operating overseas.

Not only that,

Brennan also has attracted personal criticism from human rights experts for defending the CIA's long-standing practice of forced renditions, or transfers, of terrorism suspects for interrogations, a position that forced the withdrawal in late November of his candidacy to head the CIA.

In prior positions, he also drew complaints:

He was chief of staff to then-CIA Director George J. Tenet from 1999 to 2001 and director of National Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2005 -- provoked an open complaint against his nomination as CIA director from 200 psychologists.

Obama's rationale:

Obama aides said the president-elect accepted Brennan's assurances that he played no role in setting abusive interrogation practices at the CIA and that he had expressed some private dissent about the practices. They said Obama also accepted the judgment of transition team advisers that Brennan was separated from any questionable practices by Global Strategies, which formally purchased Brennan's firm in 2007.

Big Tent Democrat has written a score of posts critical of Brennan, accessible here.

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    Senate Democrats endorse state terrorism (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Andreas on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:10:18 AM EST
    More significant is that the Senate Democrats endorse the state terrorism aimed at the Palestinian people.

    While president-elect Barack Obama has maintained a discreet silence on Washington's policy toward the bloodbath in Gaza since it began nearly two weeks ago, the resolution backed by his former Democratic colleagues in the US Senate speaks eloquently for him.

    There is no question that an Obama administration will maintain US imperialism's backing for Israeli aggression and repression of the Palestinian people and will continue funneling the over $3 billion in annual military aid that provides the Israeli Defense Forces with the weaponry now being used to massacre innocent civilians.

    Senate Democrats endorse Israeli war crimes
    By Bill Van Auken, 9 January 2009

    Turns my stomach (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:29:51 AM EST
    I know Hamas has done damage too, but the Israeli response has been obviously beyond the pale. The Senate is supposed to be our representatives. I don't know anyone who is not horrified by the Israeli actions. They certainly are not speaking for the American people on this.

    Here's Glenn Greenwalds (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:01:11 AM EST
    commentary on it yesterday over at Salon. Once again, his observations are sobering.

    Greenwald's commentary is singular... (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 02:23:38 AM EST
    Where's his Nobel Prize? As an "A-list blog" columnist he has shown unprecedented tenacity and courage in going after the thorniest issues: in a way that puts him at risk of being banned from the polite, post-partisan company of his conformist peers. And damn, the man knows how to translate his razor-sharp analysis into eloquent, succinct, persuasive prose.

    Same goes for Krugman. If it weren't for him and Greenwald, sometimes I swear, I'd open up a vein.

    Out on the perimeter, Anglachel is another life-line; and she was/is in a "scary smart", stratospheric class of her own. But she hasn't blogged in weeks. Sound the alarm - all hands on deck, please.


    What should they fire back with?? (2.33 / 3) (#57)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:09:03 PM EST
    If someone attacks someone bigger then themselves, they should be ready to be hit back hard.  

    It Certainly Looks That Way (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:19:09 AM EST
    If this will help, Obama camp said (none / 0) (#4)
    by andrys on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:09:39 AM EST
    it's "prepared to talk with Hamas."

    Subtitle is "Incoming administration will abandon Bush's isolation of Islamist group to initiate low-level diplomacy, say transition sources"

      I hope they find a way to decrease the power of the extremists on both sides.

      Obama has expressed concern for the Palestinian refugee plight before, and so - for that matter - has Hillary Clinton recently.  

      Obama seems to have an interest (mainly hidden while running for office) in seeing more be done for the Palestinian refugees.  He asked sympathizers to be patient while he's running.


    Half the Story (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:21:09 AM EST
    If this will help, Obama camp said it's "prepared to talk with Hamas."

    Subtitle is "Incoming administration will abandon Bush's isolation of Islamist group to initiate low-level diplomacy, say transition sources"

    Not just a break with BushCo, but a shift from Obama's repeated early stance. During his campaign he distinguished himself by saying that he was in fact willing to talk to Americas enemies except for Hamas.

    Although here is a different story from Israeli press today:

    "Sen. Obama strongly opposes talking to Hamas, a terrorist group committed to Israel's destruction. As president, he will work to isolate Hamas and target its resources, and rejects any dialogue until Hamas recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and abides by previous agreements."



    "Prepared to talk"... (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by pmj6 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:07:40 PM EST
    ...is unfortunately not the same thing as willing to talk. The Bush administration spent the last 8 years  "prepared to talk" with Iran--provided the latter first satisfied a long list of conditions that it wants to be the subject of negotiations, not something it has to sacrifice merely for the privilege of speaking to Bush representatives.

    In other words, the Bush policy on Gaza looks set to continue. The Brennan appointment looks like another move aimed at boxing-in Hillary (not that she promised to be any less pro-Israel).


    Wow (none / 0) (#99)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:40:31 PM EST
    You have it bad, if you think that any of this even remotely resembles BushCo policy. Obama has made it clear that he will be talking to Iran and the rest of the countries that BushCo froze out, without conditions.

    That is a huge difference. Obama drew the line with Hamas and stated clearly that he would not be willing to talk to them as long as they did not recognize Israel, etc.

    He has shifted his position regarding Hamas, obviously because of the mounting world condemnation of Israel's recent war crimes in Gaza.

    To say this is in any way a continuation of BushCo is patently absurd.


    Cripes... I clicked the link (none / 0) (#121)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 02:38:30 AM EST
    on the story cited in comment #48, which is a great read by the way.

    But, on the same page as the story (in the IsraeliNationalNews.com) there's an ad from NARTH: the National Association for Research and Therapy of ["unwanted"] Homosexuality. You have to see it to believe it.


    Three billion is often cited, but all told it's over five billion; which is two billion dollars more depressing than three.

    Depressing. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:06:47 AM EST

    Stay Away (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:52:55 AM EST
    from all sharp objects oldpro. We don't want to lose you!

    Not to worry... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:12:03 AM EST
    when the time comes, I'll take pills and the cocktail.

    I avoid sharp objects in the normal course of events...I am a klutz and a compulsive multi-tasker, resulting in a constant state of black and blue from bumping into furniture as I hurridly cut corners.  Sigh...


    I broke my arm in November (none / 0) (#42)
    by sallywally on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:46:10 AM EST
    tripping over my own furniture which has been arranged in the exact same way for at least 8 years...

    Good excuse to buy new antiques!!


    You broke the furniture (none / 0) (#101)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:00:18 PM EST
    as well as your arm?

    No broken bones here but it's 'bruise city' most of the time.  I could have passed for an abuse victim almost any week of the year.

    Couple of weeks ago I sat down on a couch in the Habitat store and a metal display reindeer fell on my head.  Nice gash.  Not much blood...no stitches.

    You know what they say:  "No brains, no headaches."


    CDN Ctzn, did you follow the discussion (none / 0) (#68)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:10:25 PM EST
    of the Obama poster campaign on Wednesday's, or was it Thursday's, open thread? Increasingly, it appears the Big Brother poster aesthetic may be a matter of style reflecting substance.

    It's no accident that the artist, Stephen Fairey, who does the Obama posters also recently did the cover for a re-release of Orwell's "1984". He was commissioned expressly because his graphics have that retro totalitarian quality. The subject has been addressed in some papers including WaPo, LA Times.


    Sorry (none / 0) (#111)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:09:56 PM EST
    I missed that one. I'll try to dig it out of the archives.
    Are you back on this side of the Border or still in the "Great White North"? Speaking of which, how about those Canuck Kids winning another World Junior Hockey Gold eh?

    It's the latter, for the next few weeks... (none / 0) (#112)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:29:30 PM EST
    then on to Europe for a couple of months.

    Now, about Canada's National Pastime, the unassailable sport of hockey. I stopped following it years ago when I first moved to the US; evidently many, if not most, Americans don't think it's worth watching on TV. Still, I'm mighty proud of those boys with the World Gold. My younger brother is a total hockey fanatic (i.e. he missed our grandmother's wake to watch a game) and he keeps me somewhat apprised.

    OT: I'm sick about Gaza but I can't quite articulate the intensity right now. However, this was very heartening. It's a Statement on Gaza from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). Here's a small excerpt:

    The Canadian Association of University Teachers is joining others in the international community in calling for an immediate end to the Israeli military action in Gaza...

    CAUT is especially concerned about the destruction of civilian infrastructure within Gaza - including educational facilities.On 27 December, Human Rights Watch reported that an Israeli air-to-ground missile struck a group of students leaving the Gaza Training College, adjacent to the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in downtown Gaza City, killing eight students and wounding 19 others. Two days later, on 29 December 2008, Israel bombed the Islamic University of Gaza, destroying the science laboratory block and destroying or damaging other blocks of buildings, including the library. Although Israel has claimed that the science laboratory facilities were used as "a research and development center for Hamas weapons," this claim has been denied by officials of the Islamic University, and according to the New York Times of January 1, 2009, Israel has not produced any evidence for its claim. On January 3, the Israeli air force destroyed the American International School, and, on January 6, 30 people were killed and 55 injured when Israeli artillery shells landed outside a United Nations-run school in Gaza...

    *It appears the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has issued no statement on the subject to date.


    Thanks For The Update (none / 0) (#114)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:37:32 PM EST
    I concur with your feelings regarding Gaza. I've truely been loosing sleep recently over it. It is absolutely staggering to see the degree of denial to the problem and downright misinformation that is being circulated as fact.
    What I find particularly frustrating is that people nod their heads and seem to be saying how terrible things are but in reality they can't wait for the subject to change or for the next distraction to come along so they don't have to face the truth; that being that most people here seem to really not give a damn.
    It kind of reminds me of Barbera Bush's reaction to Katrina; not wanting her beautiful mind to be troubled by other peoples problems. So, we too pay lip service to the problem and can't wait to move on. I just wish we could be as passionate about this incredible evil that's occuring right now in Gaza, as we are about the BCS National Championship or NFL Playoffs, or who gets seated in the Senate, of if Blago is getting impeached...
    We're great at pounding our chests and berating the attrocities in history (ie. the Holocost) and can't imagine how people could have allowed that to happen, while a major human rights violation is occuring  NOW and we're afraid to speak up or take to the streets in a show of solidarity for the victims in Gaza.
    This is not just a Jewish/Paletinian trajedy, this is a human tragedy, and when I see humanity suffering when it doesn't have to and shouldn't have to, my blood boils.
    Sorry for rambling.

    Permission to ramble away... (none / 0) (#115)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:04:17 PM EST
    Loosing sleep here too, for real. Can't run a glass of water or have a meal without pain of privilege. Here's to solidarity with you and all fellow travelers who feel for the people of Gaza. Sorry that sounds all corny and passe and Che.

    Till next time, let's raise a glass and/or down a recommended dose of prescription meds.


    That's "losing" sleep... (none / 0) (#117)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 12:06:27 AM EST
    Seems spelling is one of the first things to go when you're losing it: sleep that is. Funny how one corrects overly obvious spelling errors so as to not look stoopid.

    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Pepe on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:03:36 AM EST
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

    And we get fooled.... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:38:46 PM EST
    over and over and over again.

    I cannot stand it anymore knowing that for the (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by suzieg on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:37:54 AM EST
    next 4 years I either have to stop believing most of what my president has to say or be extremely skeptical and he's not even sworn in yet... Some change!!!!

    No matter who is president (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:35:23 AM EST
    it is always, always wise to maintain skepticism and keep a watchful eye out.

    Believe nothing.  Demand evidence.


    But At Least (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:32:51 AM EST
    he gets to be in an upcoming "Spiderman" comic. Yet another signpost on the steady decline of society.

    Don't forget (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:36:31 AM EST
    The commemorative plates and coin sets.

    "Sure to be Collectables!" (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:39:25 AM EST
    They are PRICELESS at 19.99 for 2 :) (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:10:42 PM EST
    Or at least that is what the commercial said.

    Yes, those kind eyes (none / 0) (#86)
    by BernieO on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:09:23 PM EST
    and broad smile.....

    lol!~ that cracks me up everytime (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by nycstray on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:27:36 PM EST
    I still have a hard time believing the commercials are real when I see them!

    While I am glad to see a black man (none / 0) (#54)
    by vicndabx on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:54:25 AM EST
    elected president.  The profiteering off the historic election is disgusting to me.

    You can't make a profit (none / 0) (#104)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:21:00 PM EST
    on it if some fool doesn't buy it.

    Barnum was right, tho...there IS one born every minute.


    What next? Dancing with the stars? (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:36:43 AM EST
    Or maybe they can hand that one off to Michelle.

    I somehow think that... (none / 0) (#27)
    by EL seattle on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:45:05 AM EST
    ... Obama was a disco kid back in the day.  So I'm not sure that ballroom dancing is his thing, really.

    (Now, if he came out and admitted that the mosh pit is where he'd always felt the most comfortable, that would actually be pretty cool, I think.  But it would be a heckuva surprise at this point.)


    Nah, not disco (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by sj on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    Actually the dude can't dance.  He did a little dancing when he was on the Ellen Degeneres show as he came onstage.  Some people shouldn't try to dance.

    If you're tempted to say it's not so bad, try watching the clip with the sound off.


    No rhythm? (none / 0) (#38)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:27:13 AM EST
    Careful with that axe Eugene... (none / 0) (#122)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 02:55:49 AM EST
    Just riffing off your "no rhythm" remark Oldpro, and your other comments about being accident-prone ;-)

    I thought I saw a photo of Obama... (none / 0) (#47)
    by EL seattle on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:06:39 AM EST
    ... circa 1980 or so that looked a bit Saturday Night Fever-ish to me. But I could be wrong.

    Personally, I hope he recognized the opportunity that he had with the Marvel comics tie-in.  Assuming that he read comics as a kid, he could have said to the Marvel folks "Hey, me and Spiderman?  Cool.  But only if you include an appearence by my favorite character from when I was a kid.  (Maybe the Vision? or Luke Cage? or Shang-Chi? or Blade? or even Howard the Duck...?)  I think that would tell us a lot more about the human the guy than a lot of the near-deification we've seen over the past year or so.


    So Bill Clinton would have won (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:39:30 AM EST
    that dance challenge?

    oh hell yes! not even in doubt baby...Big Dawg #1 (none / 0) (#77)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:04:40 PM EST
    I dunno (none / 0) (#79)
    by sj on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:17:38 PM EST
    I haven't seen either Clinton rock out :)  When HRC was on Ellen she entered smiling and waving, not dancing.  

    So smart, that lady.  Even in the small things.


    We do have historical evidence. (none / 0) (#80)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:25:54 PM EST
    See Inaugural Balls and Times Sq. Dec. 31/09.

    Not the same type of dancing (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by sj on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:38:35 PM EST
    Which is why I said I never saw either Clinton try to rock out.

    Now if we're talking couples dancing of the slower variety, I can say that the Clintons look lovely, don't they?  They remind me of my Mom and Dad.  No one who ever saw them dance could doubt they loved and appreciated each other.  

    But I still can't talk apples to apples since I personally haven't seen the Obamas slow dance.


    No hopey, (5.00 / 10) (#6)
    by kmblue on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:15:46 AM EST
    no changey.

    How horrifying is it to have Jeralyn be reminded of Bush by Obama when Obama is not even sworn in?

    I can't help but think that we now have (5.00 / 9) (#7)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:12:48 AM EST
    to look behind the top-tier appointments that have been so lauded by Democrats and ask whether these are just window dressing designed to placate and lull, and assess whether the secondary appointments and staffing are the ones that best reflect Obama's philosophy and agenda and intended policy.

    For some reason, the explanation that boils down to, "I went along with it and did nothing to stop it, but, hey, it wasn't MY policy," gives me no comfort - it's more like a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    That's an explanation that echoes the comments and attitude of far too many Democrats in Congress who think that claiming powerlessness - "but there was nothing we could do!" -  gets them off the hook.

    This is disappointing and demoralizing, unless you are a current or former member of the Gang of Eight, in which case you are probably relieved that the truth of the extent of your complicity is probably less likely to be exposed with John Brennan in the house.

    This is my concern, as well. (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:15:21 AM EST
    The Panetta nomination to the CIA became "an all systems go" for Senator Feinstein, after being assured that Panetta would have "professionals" around him.  Moreover, it seems as if the Brennan appointment (no confirmation necessary) was on the heels of the all systems go statement.  Mrs Clinton is as smart as they come, so I trust she is geared up for this.

    This is not at all disappointing to me (5.00 / 7) (#41)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    since some of us saw exactly this coming in the campaign statements that pleased conservatives -- and the nonthinking Dems who drank the koolaid and shut down discussion, demanding that we jump aboard.

    Even on some blogs that shall go unnamed.

    So, we were demoralized already.  And so, what's four to eight years more?  Been there, done that.


    Come on, you're going to miss the (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:50:41 AM EST

    Ha. It was over (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:22:36 AM EST
    when the Best Man, Biden, opened his mouth again.

    A friend who loved Obama said: (none / 0) (#74)
    by hairspray on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:25:57 PM EST
    "Frankly, Obama was the white guy with the tan skin, that all."  Now that is probably why it was so important to get rid of the white woman.

    Anne, you're getting some rather (none / 0) (#123)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:08:29 AM EST
    admonishing replies in response to saying you are "disappointed and demoralized" with obama's appointments.

    However, if I understand your comment correctly, your feelings are more on the order of having your worst fears come true; rather than having to do with surprise or lack of foresight over the way things are going.


    Yes, that's it, exactly. (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by Anne on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 09:17:25 AM EST
    His words have been enough at odds with his actions that I didn't trust him enough to vote for him (I was one of those who left the top of the ticket blank, and for the first time since I started voting did not cast a vote for president).  Once he was elected, I decided to suspend my skepticism and general uneasiness while he announced his nominations and appointments, thinking that if he got the right people installed, perhaps the collective wisdom, and just the dynamics of governing would prevail over what I see as his inability to ever draw the line or close the door on any policy, even if it is 180 degrees from progressive.

    No, he hasn't officially taken over, but the Brennan appointment and some of his other decisions are showing us once again that he's not really going to be changing much - he'll still be giving speeches that lull people into thinking he will, but behind the scenes it will be mostly business as usual.

    Some people may be willing to give the Brennan appointment a pass, but I think if you are serious about ending the policies of torture and rendition and the wholesale collection of data on Americans, you don't install someone in your administration who has a company that specializes in the technology related to that collection, among other things, and that is in turn owned by a larger company that specializes in "security solutions," a la Blackwater and other groups that allow the US to outsource torture.

    More disturbing to me is that Brennan is being given domestic responsibilities - and I worry how he will be using his "experience" in this country; kind of puts Obama's FISA vote in a whole new light, I think.

    I'm wondering what the over/under is on when Obama issues his first executive order, and when he announces that before he can roll back the Bush orders that we all have found so alarming, he will first have to have the experts in his administration (Brennan, perhaps?) take an in-depth look at them to make sure they do " the right thing."


    To make myself perfectly clear :-) (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:38:55 PM EST
    I never would "admonish" Anne, whose work I always admire, as her commentary is one of the main reasons I keep coming here.  I agree with her on this, as on so much else, and just was offering a slightly different take -- perhaps because her comments are so good that there is little else to say.  So a reply is a way of saying "I read you," in the many meanings of that phrase.:-)

    "I read you" too, CC... (none / 0) (#136)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 04:39:48 PM EST
    I wasn't directing the comment toward you, or anybody in particular. Just wanted to assure Anne she was being appreciated and understood.

    If I read this correctly, (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:48:44 AM EST
    Obama has appointed someone who is soft on torture as a top advisor.

    What can one say?

    My guess (5.00 / 10) (#9)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:55:43 AM EST
    is that I am surprised that anyone is surprised.  Those who were paying attention during the campaign knew people like this would be appointed in an Obama administration.  Anyone who believed Obama would do a 180 on Bush policies, especially with regards to Iraq, Blackwater, Guantanemo, torture, etc. were not paying attention or completely fooling themselves.

    This makes me even more depressed that voters were blinded by personality and empty rhetoric of "hope" and "change".


    Mainly fooling themselves ... (5.00 / 8) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:18:50 AM EST
    Obama's views on these issues were usually said in simple declarative sentences.

    Many strong Obama supporters seemed to believe it was just political posturing and did not relate to the real policies he would enact.

    That's the kind of leap of faith I'm not willing to take.


    Rationalizations (5.00 / 14) (#13)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:39:45 AM EST
    People foisting Obama upon us consistently excused any of Obama's bizarre behavior. They had various ways of doing so.
    Emphasizing the "historic" nature of his candidacy was a good one.
    Saying that Clinton was just as bad was another all-purpose rejoinder. Demonizing Sarah Palin was good for the final stretch - while Obama went about courting the unsavory.

    And of course, the best one of all, as you wrote, he doesn't really mean it.

    I will never forget Obama's support and praise for Lieberman during the crucial potentially pivoting election of 2006. That was it for me. I couldn't even look at him anymore - but it was swept under the rug by people who were supposedly against the war.
    Most of these same people seldom even refer to the war in Iraq anymore. Bush-Obama and the media who love them have numbed us and dumbed us.

    Someday, I don't know how long it will take, someone will write a book chronicling the manipulation of the election of 2008. It rivals what transpired in 2000.


    Careful Now! (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by CDN Ctzn on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:36:38 AM EST
    Someone could parse your remarks and claim they're "racist".

    You're right Lentinel, I completely agreee: (none / 0) (#65)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:51:14 PM EST
    Someday, I don't know how long it will take, someone will write a book chronicling the manipulation of the election of 2008. It rivals what transpired in 2000.

    Imo, the book will be written by a GOP sympathizer and released just in time to wipe-out the Dems in the 2010 midterm elections. The book is in the works as we speak.


    Maybe a Kerry-Edwards (none / 0) (#102)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:06:52 PM EST

    Neither one got what they wanted from Obama and both have scores to settle, here and there...if not with him personally, with the team.


    Edwards may not write the tell-all book (none / 0) (#137)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 05:08:45 PM EST
    on the '08 Democratic Primaries, but he will be featured prominently in the story.

    *For instance, who persuaded him to actually run and then act as Obama's side-kick, attack dog during the primary debates?

    *When, how, and by whom was he persuaded to endorse Obama?  

    *Edwards, and those who put him up to it, knew in advance that the Reilly Hunter/adultery/love-child scandal would conveniently force him to drop out and leave the field to Obama.

    *Frankly, I think the MSM colluded to hold back the story until Edwards performed maximum service to Obama and maximum damage to Hillary.

    That's a lot of dirt - it's in the holding bin and it will fly in due time.


    Yes indeedy. (none / 0) (#139)
    by oldpro on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 09:29:37 PM EST
    What Can One Say? (none / 0) (#88)
    by daring grace on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:24:56 PM EST
    Well, today Obama is quoted as saying:

    "The president-elect also made it clear that Blair and Panetta would be charged with carrying out Obama's campaign pledges to dismantle some of the controversial intelligence programs authorized by President Bush, particularly the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques.

    ""Under my administration, the United States does not torture," Obama said, adding that it "is important for us to do that not only because that's who we are but also because ultimately it will make us safer and help change hearts and minds in our struggle against extremists." "


    I think Obama's been studying the (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:48:20 PM EST
    work of Harry Houdini and David Copperfield, and that it will be more important to watch what he and his appointees are doing, as opposed to what he and they are saying.

    That's always the test (none / 0) (#92)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:56:19 PM EST
    of any man, as I found in relationships.

    And when I had to start dealing with wussy women in management, I applied the same test.  Voila, it's a gender-neutral assessment mechanism.:-)

    As for politics, I learned to apply that assessment mechanism in the '60s to candidates.  This year, I finally learned to apply it to an entire party.

    I finally found a good guy in my life.  But I'm still looking for a good boss.  I'm done looking for a political party that lives up to its platform.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#97)
    by daring grace on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:22:42 PM EST
    But until he's the actual president, instead of merely the president-in-waiting we have now, all I can judge him by his is words.

    These appointments--the seemingly good ones and the seemingly bad ones--don't mean anything more to me than his speeches now until he (and his administration) start making their moves. But they're all we have so we comment on the appointments and the speeches until we have something more.


    Ah, I consider the appointments (5.00 / 3) (#100)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:52:36 PM EST
    to be actions of considerable consequence, putting into power people who could screw up our lives even more and telling us just which parts of which speeches by Obama were WORM.

    And I consider the action of honoring Rick Warren to be among the most telling of Obama's appointments -- a tip to his unofficial kitchen cabinet.  And the action of picking Tim Kaine to head the party.  Both Warren and Kaine, plus several of Obama's appointments, tell me that the worst of what we worried about in Obama is real.  

    The waiting to see what he meant re women, gays, the war, health care, Social Security, and much more is over already.  See Favreau, Warren, Brennan, Daschle, etc.  


    Of Course (none / 0) (#128)
    by daring grace on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 11:21:14 AM EST
    Every political and governmental hiring/election has the potential to put people in power to screw up our lives. I'm sure Obama will be no different than any other politician we elect and will come up with some doozies in terms of ineptitude and bad judgment.

    But until things are actually up and running, I myself have little to say about which appointment will be bad (the worst) because I've seen evidence over the years that public servants aren't always who they seem to be, performance wise. For some reason the Supreme Court comes to mind and the disappointment two presidents felt with the work of two of their appointments to the SC: I'm thinking of Warren and Blackmun.

    Obama is the one I will pin responsibility on if any of his people screw up or continue the bad policies of the last eight years (or enact new bad policy now).

    Until that happens, yeah, I'm comfortable with wait and see. I don't know enough about the CIA and counter-terrorism to have an informed perspective about who is best for this seat anyway.


    Obama doesn't rule out extraordinary rendition (none / 0) (#124)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:42:43 AM EST
    Obama made some assuaging comments today which, no doubt, deflected criticism away from his appointment of John Brennan, who has shown little compunction about torture. Note that the LA Times story (cited in comment #88) also includes this caveat:
    The Obama team could decide to keep the CIA facilities under a modified framework and, for the first time, allow them to be visited by monitors from the Red Cross. But some experts believe that it is more likely that the U.S. will shut down the CIA prisons and rely more heavily on "extraordinary renditions," the practice of turning captives over to the custody of other countries.

    Evidently, torture may continue to be outsourced, in the future as in the past. Sure, Obama has assured us that "America doesn't torture", but now he needs to expressly state that no other country will torture in our name.


    That is a fantastic (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by lilburro on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 11:39:30 AM EST
    and scary artcle.  More from your LATimes link:

    "Critics accused the CIA of using renditions to deliver suspects to nations known to engage in torture. But if the United States is no longer willing to hold suspects itself, Obama may have little choice.

    'I think it's reasonable to expect [that Obama] would be much more careful about turning prisoners over,' said another former U.S. intelligence official who has advised the Obama team. 'But I would not expect there would be a policy against ever doing renditions.'

    John Brennan, a former high-ranking CIA official selected by Obama to serve as his counter-terrorism advisor, could hold wide influence over many of these matters." [emphasis mine]

    Well, Yes Obama 'Could' Continue the Policy (none / 0) (#129)
    by daring grace on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 11:34:51 AM EST
    and I would welcome (make that demand) a commitment from Obama in so many words that his administration will not turn prisoners over to countries for torture.

    But this WaPo article about the use of extraordinary rendition points out that as a strategy, historically, it hasn't always involved torture, as in its use during the Clinton years.

    And then the writer makes this statement (circa 2007):

    "It's probably a good bet that Congress or the next administration will reform the program, or abolish it outright."

    Dueling speculative journalism, to be sure...


    What is so special about (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:24:40 AM EST
    Brennan's expertise that Obama feels the need to have him on board his team? I wish he would explain that.

    FWIW (none / 0) (#127)
    by daring grace on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 10:58:06 AM EST
    Richard Clarke on the Brennan and Panetta appointments:

    "Can you name someone who knows more about counter-terrorism than John Brennan? I think John has very recent operational experience. He did a great job running the National Counter-Terrorism Center. He has extensive history at the CIA. He knows as much about terrorism as anyone I know, from an operational perspective."

    Myself, I don't know enough about this subject to name anyone who is knowledgeable about counter-terrorism, let alone who is best. Maybe some of those around here who are more informed on these issues could counter Clarke with better choices.


    I wrote a few diaries (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:40:01 AM EST
    on Brennan.  

    Brennan as chair of the INSA - the intel trade association.
    Brennan's new appointment.
    Why Brennan's claims to have clean hands are a crock of sh*t.

    Now I'm glad I kept attacking him after he withdrew his candidacy, because he didn't go away after all.

    Brennan LOVES intelligence contracting and has helped make the relationship between the business world and the government world much more intimate - they share secrets, they plan together even.  The book to read is "Spies for Hire" by Tim Shorrock.  Also IIRC Brennan's company TAC maintains part of the terrorist watch list.  It seems likely he will recommend contracting with his own company.  I fail to see how that is not a conflict of interest along the same lines as lobbying.  Here is a good article on the stuff they do.  Is Obama going to work around using them?  Why have an intelligence adviser - though intellligent, which Brennan is - who disagrees with you on so many basic questions?

    thanks for doing the spade work on this (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:44:44 AM EST
    Seems like he is the very definition of the revolving door from government-business-lobbyist for that business. A one man k-street project. In the most sensitive area possible. Nice.

    Why? Triangulation? (none / 0) (#28)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:46:38 AM EST
    Very Bush family like. (none / 0) (#72)
    by hairspray on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:18:26 PM EST
    In "An American Dynasty" by Kevin Phillips we see how the Bush dynasty were hip deep in finance-weapons-intelligence.  The book chronicles the rise of the CIA during the '20' and on to todayunder the direction of the Prescott Bush dynasty.  This paradigm is what has led to our being a militaristic society.  Brennan is just more of the same.  I hope this scenario doesn't trap Hillary into compromising positions.

    You nailed it lilburro in more ways than one! (none / 0) (#125)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:58:03 AM EST
    Please keep this stuff coming. It's vital to our "national security interests", seriously. Brennan's modus operandi is diametrically opposed to Obama's global promise of "winning hearts and minds". Here in the "homeland", we are readily wooed by words, but in the world at large Brennan's machinations will matter far more than Obama's rhetoric.

    Plus (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:44:13 AM EST
    Brennan might be able to work with this guy.

    I love the smell of hope and change in the morning!

    Good point. Although (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:07:22 AM EST
    I prefer bacon and eggs myself.

    Wonderful: (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:51:02 AM EST
    "We are aware that Mr. Lynn lobbied for Raytheon, and are working with Mr. Lynn to craft a role for him that is consistent with the President-elect's high standards while balancing the need to fill this critical national security position," Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

    Translation: (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:06:03 PM EST
    We are hard at work, trying to figure out how to have our cake and eat it, too.

    Obama is going to prove over and over again that he regards his judgment as being so superior that he can make exceptions to whatever hard-and-fast standards he established as Candidate Obama, and that no one should find such exceptions troubling in the least.



    Except that (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:10:55 PM EST
    he doesn't have to prove anything for it to be accepted by the obotomized media -- and public.

    If it is pronounced from on high, it just is.  


    Shameless blather beyond belief (none / 0) (#55)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:57:07 AM EST
    unless, that is, we opt to believe that President Obama will be making our mortgage payments.

    Since a sizeable proportion of the American public apparently did fall for such or similar nonsense, what the heck: blather on, boyz.


    Disgusting (5.00 / 9) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:11:34 AM EST
    Nothing destroys our own souls faster.  Ask about 50% of the United States military families how the encouraged brutality has changed their own families or the issues we deal with now among ourselves.  We are all different and we all long for how we all used to be within ourselves, our families and marriages, and with each other...trusting/at ease.  I realize that there will always be a price to pay during times of war, but torture tortures everyone in the room, and everyone that those people live with after that, and everyone who works with and around the tortured and torturing.  I'm with oldpro.  I'm depressed.

    good grief! (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:30:25 AM EST
    well I am sorry to hear it but I cannot say I am in any way surprised by it...Panetta is a sop to the left with Brennan still in there with PEBO's ear...

    ostriches shocked

    Buyer Beware! (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:52:52 AM EST
    Now people are beginning to realize that he never was the progressive they thought. In fact I think we'll find he's further to the right than even his critic's thought. He really believes he can play both ends against the middle and win. I can hardly wait to see who he nominates to the Supreme Ct!

    There were a lot of people who never (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:53:15 AM EST
    believed Obama was a progressive, couldn't buy into the theory that he was just masquerading as a centrist-with-conservative-possibilities until Inauguration Day, thought his choice of advisors said more about what lay ahead than anything he was saying in speeches that were mesmerising huge crowds, who never bought the hope hype.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that once the election was over and done, I made a conscious effort to look ahead, to leave the rancor and other negative feelings from the previous year hehind and generate some hope that maybe, just possibly, this would be a good thing for the country, that I would be proven wrong about how I thought this was going to go.

    Trust me when I tell you that it does not please me, I take no satisfaction, and I feel no joy in what is happening; "I told you so" just isn't what I wanted to feel at the tip of my tongue.  I am still trying, and pretty much failing, to remember that his presidency has not officially started, and maybe - maybe - the ship of state is not going to founder on the rocks for lack of a clear and progressive course.  

    Your reminder that there will be Supreme Court appointments looming makes me want to reach for the Advil and the Zantac, so thanks a lot for that!  

    Maybe I will just think about football instead...

    Three-quarter's of the earth's surface is covered by water...the rest is covered by Ed Reed...GO RAVENS!


    Yep... (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by otherlisa on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:57:46 PM EST
    I sorta avoided the blogosphere during the "he's our nominee, everyone come together" period, but there were plenty of us saying that Obama was no progressive. The clues were obvious. And here we are.

    Go Chargers!


    And he's itching to spend... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:43:47 PM EST
    a trillion dollars (cue Dr. Evil with pinky raised)...how is that for a scary sobering thought.

    I hope he has cleared it with the Party in China otherwise the Mayans are lookin' on the money about 2012...game over.

    Party up just in case everybody!


    Sorry to burst that bubble.... (none / 0) (#66)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:01:02 PM EST
    apparently U.S. debt is losing its appeal in China.
    I read an article in the NYT but can't get it to link.

    I hear the same... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:11:09 PM EST
    thats what I was getting at, unless Obama already worked it out with the Chairman I don't know where he's gonna get another trillion from.

    Dubai? The Saudis? (none / 0) (#103)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 05:14:55 PM EST
    Here you go. (none / 0) (#70)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:15:42 PM EST
    Nostradamus 2012 (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by vicndabx on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:01:45 AM EST
    while channel surfing last nite, I came across this show on the the history channel.  I joked with my girlfriend that Obama was eerily like the character portrayed as the "antichrist" (repeat this was a joke) in that he was soooo loved by sooo many folks and it appears (right now at least) that many would follow him off a cliff.  With the appt. of Brennan, O and the Dems the stance on Israel, and this "let's be tougher than those guys stance on all things international," I worry I'm being dragged to the cliff's edge along w/those who would go willingly.  I am prepared at this point to give O and the Dems the benefit of the doubt, but you can best believe I'll be telling all my family and friends to keep a sharply critical eye on this administration.

    As a top advisor to Obama (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:29:29 AM EST
    Brennan is going to be rather reluctant to and psychologically constrained from criticizing the policies of president who has brought him into his inner circle and who listens to what he has to say... and who then as president will make his own decisions and policy directives.

    Obama's recent appointee to head up the Office of Legal Counsel, Jay Bybee and John Yoo of torture memo notoriety's old haunt, Dawn Johnsen is author of an issue brief: "All the President's Lawyers:  How to Avoid Another "Torture Opinion" Debacle" and an article on guidelines for the President's legal advisors and had this to say about the subject of torture during a conference at The ACS: video

    It is possible that Brennans appointment is a way of shutting him up and controlling him. A leash and a muzzle on a pit bull?

    No, it is not. (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by Democratic Cat on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:05:21 AM EST
    This comment falls into lentinel's "he doesn't really mean it" category.

    I think a much better way to shut (5.00 / 10) (#15)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:12:21 AM EST
    Brennan up - and make sure he is shut down - is to not give him a position in the Obama administration at all.


    It's not like Brennan is on the inside and Obama is deciding to keep him there - Brennan is in the private sector and Obama is inviting him to be on the inside - again.  

    This is what Analysis Corp does:

    Providing mission critical intelligence support and technical solutions to the Intelligence Community.  The Analysis Corporation (TAC) is at the forefront of the effort of safeguarding U.S. national security interests. Since its inception in 1990, TAC has been making important contributions in the counterterrorism (CT) and national security realm by supporting national watchlisting activities as well as other CT requirements. TAC's core competencies include: innovative information technology solutions, leading CT analytic and intelligence expertise, and integrated intelligence and security operations support.

    Is there anyone who doesn't think that the acquisition of Analysis Corp by Global Strategies was to enable GS to better do what it was/is doing?  And given what that job is, how is it that Brennan is shielded from association with what GS does and has been criticized for doing, and why are we expected to just swallow this stuff hook, line and sinker?

    Here's another thought to ponder: with Brennan on the inside, what are the chances that there would be any investigation of any of those questionable activities of GS?  Not that Democratic-led investigations ever seem to end in anything but sternly-worded letters, but still.

    I don't think anyone should take comfort in this appointment, or have much confidence that much will really be changing.


    Disagree (5.00 / 7) (#17)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:24:53 AM EST
    Why do you think Obama shifted his views on FISA?  This NPR account, for ex., suggests Brennan played a role in that:

    But that's actually not so clear anymore. In explaining his FISA switch, Obama said the telecom issue was less important to him than U.S. national security. He said he mainly wanted more civil liberty safeguards in the FISA program, and he said the legislation had been improved in that respect.

    "That, in my mind, met my basic concerns. And given that all the information I've received is that the underlying program itself actually is important and useful to American security, as long as it has these constraints on them, I felt it was more important for me to go ahead and support this compromise," Obama said.

    What's important in that statement is Obama's reference to "the information I've received." He's advised on intelligence matters by John Brennan, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Like many intelligence professionals, Brennan says the FISA program is essential to the fight against terrorism.

    By adopting Brennan's view, Obama improves his standing with the intelligence community; for someone looking ahead to a presidential administration, that's important.

    Obama's stance was anti-FISA; we know that Brennan was for it, and I doubt that he shut up in his role as adviser to Obama.

    Plus it seems clear that Obama likes the guy; you don't control somebody by giving them homeland security to play with.

    And also digby made a point a while ago, concerning some things Hayden said to Congress about American being safer with Bush interrogation policies, etc.  If you really believed that, how could you consciously serve Obama and NOT try to get him to stick to some of those policies?  My main concern is with Brennan & rendition - if he thinks rendition is a vital tool, that's scary.  Because I haven't heard rendition called out as frequently as torture, and rendition is kind of seen as a way to have it both ways - torture happens, but you didn't directly do it.  Unfortunately I think many people are willing to do that kind of hair-splitting to justify rendition.


    It worked. (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Edger on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:51:10 AM EST
    Both yours and Anne's replies are getting closer to the intensity of criticisms that I've levelled at the selection (appointment?) of Obama all along, since long before his nomination. But neither of you appear to be there yet.

    George W. Obama? Or Hillary R. Bush?

    It's unfortunate that whoever the nominee was could have been forced to the left a long time ago.

    But "pragmatism" won the day. Or rather fear won the day, and the (continued) selling, and buying, or fear, is what won him the presidency.

    We are a too easily manipulated society. Voluntarily.

    The Taking of America, 1,2,3.


    If we had started a movement (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:22:07 AM EST
    a year or more ago to get enough people to make it clear to democratic candidates, all democratic candidates, that they would lose the congressional majority and not win the presidency in 2008 unless and until the democratic congressional leadership had defunded and ended the Iraq occupation, repealed the MCA, shelved telecom immunity, impeached Bush and Cheney, and laid war crimes charges where needed, those things would all have been completed or nearly completed by now and Obama could have cakewalked his way in the biggest landslide in history in November 2008... instead of finishing with a relatively slim edge over McCain. Christ, Mcain should have been buried before he started.

    An Obama would now have an unassailable mandate and would not now be pandering to republicans or wingnut terrorists like Brennan.

    Unless he is one of them?

    The whole situation right now is utterly stupid, imo.

    Once people vote their leverage evaporates.

    Maybe enough people will smarten up in time for 2012, but I doubt it. People have the power to turn everything upside down, lead the followers in Washington, and force them to do the right things. But people buy fear too easily.

    We have 4 years. can we get it right this time? Starting now? Or watch Rome fall?


    So, maybe Sunstein wasn't (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:47:21 AM EST
    the person who persuaded Obama to vote for the FISA revise afterall.

    Oh, pleeeze!! (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by hairspray on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:29:50 PM EST
    You're welcome ;-) (none / 0) (#135)
    by Edger on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:46:37 PM EST
    For someone who bull never used to (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:02:33 PM EST
    cut any ice with.....what the H - E - double hockey sticks are you talking about Edger?

    Check my reply to lilburro :-) (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Edger on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:46:01 PM EST
    wwgg say! (none / 0) (#40)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:31:41 AM EST
    and what will Glen G say! I shudder to think. Poor gullible progressives.....

    I think Obama is making decisions (none / 0) (#60)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:20:05 PM EST
    based on his every-single-morning-7-days-a-week-for-at-least-the-next-4-years security briefings and the fact that he - and he alone - now bears the responsibility.

    Makes you wonder what the potus learns in these briefings that we don't.

    So what you're implying here (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:53:29 PM EST
    is that Bush was probably right in what he did too?  Because he sat in those meetings for 8 years and learned things we don't know, and that's why he did what he did.

    Well (none / 0) (#78)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:06:28 PM EST
    That's certainly what Bush's supporters argued, all those years.  While I'm sure we can all agree that the President knows lots of stuff that we don't, it still strikes me as a rather faith-based mode of support.

    I didn't imply anything about Bush, (none / 0) (#83)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:52:38 PM EST
    please don't choose to infer that I did. I was only discussing Obama.

    My first, of many, experiences with this sort of thing, was as a Jr. in college.

    For the previous two years I and many of my fellow students had watched with disbelief the decisions and actions of our Student Senate. Our SS had a pretty serious budget back then, in excess of $500,000 if I remember correctly.

    Anyway, I went and campaigned and got my own bad self elected to the Senate to shake some sense into these people.

    Then I sat in the meetings and learned the constraints and issues they had to deal with found that with very few exceptions the decisions made were essentially the right ones. And even the "wrong" ones were mostly only fractionally or debatably wrong.

    I could describe innumerable similar experiences, both small and large.

    So there is no confusion, this is neither a defense of Obama or Bush.


    This is Cheney's legacy... (none / 0) (#87)
    by pmj6 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:19:10 PM EST
    ...seed the intel community with fellow paranoiacs who then impart their worldview to the completely green Obama, who then...acts just like the previous completely inexperienced president fed information by paranoiacs...

    Yeah... (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 12:51:13 PM EST
    and being an eternal cynic, makes you wonder what the motives of the guys who write the briefings are.

    We were always saying how the Bush admin. were such fear-peddlers...maybe Bush, and now Obama, are just the middle men...they get peddled fear by the briefers and turn it right around.

    As always, I could be wrong...but I find it very very hard to believe it's that dangerous out there that we have to torture and occupy to survive as a nation.


    From the article.. (none / 0) (#67)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:07:26 PM EST
    On Tuesday, the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama, said Americans should get used to the prospect of "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come" as he seeks to finance an $800 billion economic stimulus package.

    Normally, China would be the most avid taker of the debt required to pay for those deficits, mainly short-term Treasury securities. In the past five years, China has spent as much as one-seventh of its entire economic output on the purchase of foreign debt - largely U.S. Treasury bonds and American mortgage-backed securities.

    But now, Beijing is seeking to pay for its own $600 billion economic stimulus - just as tax revenue falls sharply as the Chinese economy slows. Regulators have ordered banks to lend more money to small and midsize enterprises, many of which are struggling with slower exports, and Chinese bankers say they are being instructed to lend more to local governments to allow them to build new roads and other projects as part of the stimulus program.

    "All the key drivers of China's Treasury purchases are disappearing," said Ben Simpfendorfer, an economist in the Hong Kong office of the Royal Bank of Scotland. "There's a waning appetite for dollars and a waning appetite for Treasuries. And that complicates the outlook for interest rates."

    On the plus side they added this...

    The shift could pose some challenges to the U.S. government in the near future but eventually may even produce salutary effects on the world economy.

    He should say... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:16:04 PM EST
    our kids and grandkids should get used to the prospect of starting well behind the 8-ball.

    Being the one held responsible (none / 0) (#73)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 01:22:17 PM EST
    is a powerful motivator.

    We hold people responsible?...:) n/t (none / 0) (#81)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:35:35 PM EST
    You funny. (none / 0) (#84)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 02:58:50 PM EST
    Actually I don't think it's that they're held responsible, it's that they are responsible.

    I hear you... (none / 0) (#90)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 03:33:55 PM EST
    I obsolve them of all responsibility for this American, if that helps:)  

    Not really (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:06:50 PM EST
    Once you gave confronted the accuracy of our past concocted "intel" in several too numerous very personal ways and it was 100% FUBAR ......NOT REALLY

    This is (none / 0) (#94)
    by JThomas on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:02:56 PM EST
    an amusing echo chamber here.
    ODS run rampant.
    Pre-emptive guilt laid on the new president.
    When he allows torture to actually occur on his watch..get back to me.
    I know, why wait for actual events to occur before you condemn him. Beat the republicans to the punch,I guess.

    Me, I tend to wait until something to happen before I cast the first stone..but hey, enjoy the circle jerk.

    Is it permissible (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:29:40 PM EST
    for people to believe that if participants in Bush's torture policy are not going to be criminally punished for their complicity, at the very least they shouldn't be rewarded with influential jobs in the next administration?

    What? (none / 0) (#105)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:12:51 PM EST
    Now Brennan was criminally involved?

    The guy defended his boss.  He was not part of DoO.  

    Can we not condemn the guy for things he didn't do?


    Wrong (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:53:47 PM EST
    as D/Executive Director (D/EXDIR), he was in the chain of command between Operations and the Director of the CIA.

    So he is accountable for Operations.  I am not making this up.  Check my diary or WSJ.    


    Hm (none / 0) (#116)
    by Steve M on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:13:04 PM EST
    Do you need to have ODS to believe he was complicit?

    ODS? (none / 0) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 04:10:47 PM EST
    A president is shaping his policy and his world view by who he surrounds himself with.  Now if Obama wants to explain this selection to us, we need to hear it.  Or he can act like a "decider" and blow us all off.

    As the article (none / 0) (#107)
    by JThomas on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:43:48 PM EST
    indicated Brennan broke sharply with the Bush administration on Iran and other middle east ''absolutist'' policies. He sought a more nuanced approach in the middle east including working with Hezzbollah in Lebanon due to their political influence.

    He is considered a Middle East expert,having been there for a couple of decades and is known as a man with ''unrivaled integrity''.

    It seems to me that someone like this could be an asset when trying to re-design american policy in the region. Brennan had the courage to speak out against the Bush admin while they were in power. Call me crazy but I think he might be useful to Obama. Yes, he made some intemperate remarks about rendition and interrogation techniques but he is not going to be dictating policy in that area.


    you're right (none / 0) (#110)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 07:04:45 PM EST
    Brennan won't have ANYTHING to do with terror policy!  Jk.  

    You know he's not going to be in the Department of...Health, right?


    Again, (none / 0) (#118)
    by JThomas on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 02:18:28 AM EST
    you are assuming that after Obama flatly declared today that there will be no torture under his administration that he is going to turn around and tell brennan...go torture.

    I just am choosing to believe what Obama is saying....and you dont..fine,your perogative.


    According to (none / 0) (#120)
    by JThomas on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 02:34:43 AM EST
    the Post article, Brennan voiced dissent in the CIA on enhanced interrogation methods.
    He was not the director, so he could not overrule bush or tenant. I suppose he should have quit but he did not. He also was voicing dissent against belligerant non-diplomacy policy with Iran.
    If everyone quit that disagreed with these policies, would the CIA be better off back then?

    yes, Brennan (none / 0) (#131)
    by lilburro on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 11:45:16 AM EST
    has said that he opposed some of the Bush policy.  But there is no record of that actually happening.  Maybe Brennan should suggest a Congressional investigation of the CIA.  Then we could find out if he was lying or telling the truth.  Then again, since he withdrew from positions that would have required Congressional confirmation, we can assume he's not so confident everyone would find his "dissent" sufficient.

    Rand Beers quit the administration right before Iraq, and has openly opposed torture and rendition.  He began advising Kerry weeks after he quit working for Bush.  He's signed onto the Campaign to Ban Torture which is one of the most comprehensive declarations I am aware of on the subject.

    Brennan on the other hand made a few extra bucks by going on TV and defending rendition as a vital tool.  

    Brennan's no hero in my book, and he never will be.


    I concede he (none / 0) (#138)
    by JThomas on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 07:08:22 PM EST
    is no angel,nor a hero. I just know that he seems to be an expert in counterterrorism and while I believe that Obama and Panetta have made it clear no torture will be tolerated, no attacks in america can be tolerated either...that would cripple the new administration. So if  guys like Brennan are kept on a leash and can keep our vigilance high, I can live with him.

    How is this (none / 0) (#106)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 06:17:17 PM EST
    in any way similar to a recess appointment?

    tantrum? (none / 0) (#113)
    by diogenes on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:35:26 PM EST
    It is similar to a Bush recess appointment because Obama appointed someone not to the liking of the left and does not require the person to be blessed by those of the left.

    And this reminds me... (none / 0) (#132)
    by House on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 12:18:08 PM EST
    "This reminds me of Bush's tendency towards recess appointments to get around Senate confirmation."

    Of why you are such an idiot. Maybe in your Bush Deranged World George Bush created the recess appointment but the facts are otherwise. Bill Clinton, for example, used the recess appointment 140 times in his administration and he did not have to face the ridiculous filibuster of his appointments like Bush did.

    Learn some history. Learn some facts and maybe you will not make a fool out of yourself in public.