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March 08, 2011


I know ONE thing Obama is thinking

"I picked the wrong term to quit smoking."

Outside the chain of command? How do you think that might be effective?

All I'm saying is that he doesn't have to be the one to pick up the phone or deliver a message, be it from inside or outside the chain of command, to whomever he thinks needs to hear it. I don't have anything very specific in mind, since I don't know who he might choose from his White House staff or the executive branch (all of which is, in some sense, his staff). I just know he has a lot of people working for him, one way or another, and numerous channels of communication, directly through the chain of command or otherwise, by which he can make his displeasure clear. Who knows? Maybe he's already working on it.

How might that be effective? By making it clear that the message comes from the President of the United States of America, perhaps without saying so in so many words.

Maybe this is all fantastic and silly, since I have no direct experience with how things get done in the executive branch. But, generally speaking, it seems to me that there should be various options available to, you know, The Most Powerful Man in the World, as they say.

This is an interaction that is based on gameness. It is an interaction designed to 'break' someone.

I think the interaction is based on the same basic discipline that the military has in all interactions: from the first day of boot camp, he was instructed how to respond to those in charge of him. He is now being instructed to say "aye" instead of "yes." When dealing with another service, it is expected and courteous to use the appopriate titles and responses. For example, in the Army, it is okay to call an e-5 through e-8 "sergeant," whereas in the Marines they are addressed by full title. I have been instructed of this multiple times by marines even when they do not out rank me, because that is courtesy.

My limited experience in a military confinement facility (investigating a confined soldier for additional charges) demonstrated to me that they do have strict military discipline, as a method to control (kind of a broken windows theory). Compared with visiting the County Jail where I worked briefly at the public defenders, I would much prefer the military confinement, because the discipline is maintained with all inmates.

Nakedness, solitary confinement, lack of exercise seems indefensible, but being instructed how to respond, not being allowed to sleep between 5 am and 8 pm (who gets to do that?) and only getting one book and limited TV time do not seem like concerns that the POTUS really needs to be involved in.

"Mush From The Wimp"

That was the in-house headline of a Boston Globe editorial during the Poppy Bush administration. Early editions of the paper hit the streets before anybody noticed that the printers had failed to substitute the Broderspeak version of the headline that appeared in later editions. Clutching-pearl futures went up briefly. I forget whether anybody got fired over the "mistake".

I only mention this because Obama's answer to the Manning treatment question, in his press conference just now, reminded me of it.


I only mention this because Obama's answer to the Manning treatment question, in his press conference just now, reminded me of it.

What did he say?

President Obama, at presser:

With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well.
Very presidential and commander-in-chiefy? Or mush? Opinions will surely differ.


I don't read that as mush, I read it as full backing of the DoD. So Manning will be subjected to the regime of isolation, sleep deprivation, constant observation, no exercise, forced nudity, and humiliation for another several months at least, with Obama accepting and passing on the assurance that things are just fine.

He is countenancing torture.

Prolonged isolation is torture. Prolonged sleep disruption is torture. Both of them do long-term damage. Manning will have ended close to a year of this by the time the wheels of military "justice" finish grinding.

The Secretary of the Navy needs to hear from people with expertise, and our members of Congress need to hear from us rabble. I wouldn't waste a breath on the President. He's


Hit the enter key before my last word. Fill in the blank for yourself.

Also, meant to say 'Manning will have endured close to a year of this'.

Must go seek pictures of kittens.

Sapient: So be disappointed in Obama. Play your part!

I am not overly disappointed in Obama. It's not as if I expected the second coming of Lenin. As for playing my part, why certainly:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://palinyoubetcha2012.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Oliver2_5x2_51.jpg&imgrefurl=http://palinyoubetcha2012.com/wordpress/%3Fp%3D11161&usg=__kU2SnPvHqlvqbHgaa2dMJLTWPrs=&h=216&w=188&sz=58&hl=en&start=3&zoom=1&tbnid=hT_ML1YIRghYEM:&tbnh=107&tbnw=93&ei=7o16TaaoGMqIrgHdk_GzBg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Doliver%2Btwist%2Bmay%2Bi%2Bhave%2Bsome%2Bmore%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D1895%26bih%3D826%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1>May I have some more, sir?

All I'm saying is that he doesn't have to be the one to pick up the phone or deliver a message, be it from inside or outside the chain of command, to whomever he thinks needs to hear it

Thanks for the answer, hsh.

How inconvenient for sapient that he posted acknowledging that there is in fact something wrong with the way Manning is being treated before Obama's presser -- otherwise he could go right back to square one, denying that there's any problem.

Maybe he will anyway...

Nell, I've never said that there's no "problem" with the way Manning and other prisoners are treated in this country. I just think it's worth figuring out what the problem is, and how it should be fixed. If all prisoners' "problems" need to be fixed by a personal phone call from the President, our legal system isn't much of a system.

He needs to make a lot of calls. No time like the present:


My theory of Obama tracks the plot device of the film "Surrogates", wherein folks who just can't handle the boring, painful torrent of life's hurricane retire to a dream state on their beds and enable and direct cyborg "surrogates" to go forth.

Kind of like blogging, or Twofacedbook, which, by the way, is my new entrepreneurial notion, though I predict patent challenges.

I think the real Obama is reclining on a chaise in a bunker beneath the White House and directing his limp cyborg through the motions because real Obama -- who coulda been a contenda for Jesus effing Christ -- decided early on that he couldn't handle the nasty crucifixion bit that comes with the territory.

One can hope that real (is that the real one? -- cue some creepy music) Obama will rip off the goggles and headphones and stagger to and mount the Cross in his pajamas and bathrobe and look to the smaller crosses on the left (Manning, and then maybe a ninth-grade biology teacher) and the right (the Pakistani woman whose hut just got taken out by a drone attack, and perhaps a former Medicaid recipient in vermin-land Arizona, Texas, or Wisconsin) and with a nod of his head before he ascends announce the default of $14 billion of U.S. Government debt and just unplug the entire corrupt, murderous enterprise called the United States of America.


$14 trillion -- every cent.

Can we get Will Smith or does it have to be Morgan Freeman?

Cast Samuel L. Jackson and Ezekiel 25, verse 17:

Skip this at work.


Maybe we can get Dwayne or Darryl Hickman for the Boehner-like crybaby sitting in the chair when it all come down.

That last being a joke, or maybe a metaphor.

I lose track.

Also, skip at work.

More of Jackson and Ezekiel 25:17:


In this scene, I see Tim Roth as the faux-pimp, faux Muslim Brotherhood James O'Keefe and along with his faux-ho girlfriend he's just chosen to sting the wrong mofo from ACORN, Planned Parenthood, NPR, and whomever they target next.

Not so much of a metaphor. More of a prediction.

The problem has been stated, repeatedly and factually: Bradley Manning is being subjected to prolonged psychological torture. President Obama is aware of the conditions under which Manning is held and accepts the military's assurances that this "meets our standards".

It's hard not to be reminded of the repeated U.S. government acceptance of assurances by the Egyptian military that none of the prisoners we sent them would be subjected to torture. Just a box to check off.

Manning has been held in isolation, under a regime of sleep disruption and constant observation, while being permitted no real exercise, for a solid eight months or more. The treatment is "justified" by a Prevention of Injury order that has been recommended against 16 different times by the brig medical staff, and also (don't know whether more than once) by the Army Staff Judge Advocate. The brig commander has brushed aside all objections. So the torture will continue until either the Secretary of the Navy overrules the bogus PoI, or until the charges against Manning are formally referred to court martial, at which point his lawyer gets a chance to to get another set of officers to determine if the regime is punitive (Article 13 hearing). That will not likely happen for at least several months.

Meanwhile, Obama owns this, just as the Clinton and Bush administrations own the torture of prisoners sent to Egypt.

(In Bush's case, this "outsourced" torture was just one category among several -- U.S. military torture in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq; U.S. contractor torture in Iraq and Afghanistan, CIA torture in "black sites" around the world).

Crowley just got fired for his remarks condemning the treatment of Manning.


Change you can believe in.

Crowley, as a State Dept spokesperson inevitably is, was an irritating, arrogant tool. But just the once, caught in a classic Washington gaffe, he screwed up his courage and did something useful:

...one young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He paused. “None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place”. And he went on lengthening his answer, explaining why in Washington’s view, “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made”.

But still, he’d said it. And the fact he felt strongly enough to say it seems to me an extraordinary insight into the tensions within the administration over Wikileaks.

A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. “Are you on the record?” I would not be writing this if he’d said no. There was an uncomfortable pause. “Sure.

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