a comparison

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109 Responses

  1. MattS says:

    A comparison between what exactly? Some column labels would help.

  2. wfgodbold says:

    Dorner and Obama, it looks like.

  3. Nicholas Weaver says:

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!!

    Great one.

    The only thing I'd change is
    "Legal Authority:"
    Self Declared / Self Declared

    :)

  4. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, and it isn't the Nobel Prize for Peace. It is the Nobel Prize for Not Being Named George W Bush.

  5. Dan Irving says:

    /clap

  6. Keith says:

    It is a silly comparison though. I disagree with much of what Barack Obama has done, his gutting of civil rights and due process is appalling. But comparing a bunch of misguided loons supporting Dorner on twitter with people voting for president you are making a mistake in comparing categories.

    To claim silence on the part of the media with respect to Obama's drone decisions is disingenuous itself. NBC broke the story. I have seen it on a number of other media outlets.

    Post a slanted propaganda piece if you like, but just be aware that it is propaganda.

  7. Clark says:

    @Keith:

    > It is a silly comparison… comparing a bunch of misguided loons supporting Dorner on twitter with people voting for president you are making a mistake in comparing categories.

    What mistake am I making? Being too stupid to realize that winning an popularity contest gives you special magical powers to kill American children without accumulating sin or stain?

  8. Sam says:

    So we're counting drone strikes as "Obama kills" but ignoring any kills made by Dorner prior to his crime spree?

    We're comparing quotes from a lunatic's manifesto to the statements of politicians?

    Exactly what does this teach me, other than that context matters?

  9. naught_for_naught says:

    To me it seems pretty simple. Al Qaeda is a military organization, without a national identity and a self avowed enemy of the U.S. and its allies. It has clearly demonstrated its ongoing commitment to American interests and the interests of our allies and its willingness to kill military, political and civilian targets without discretion. After 9/11 the U.S. has acknowledged this threat and through the Bush Doctrine stated that the U.S. will attack any and all potential threats to the U.S. where ever they are. Obama has continued this policy.

    If a U.S. citizen takes sides with Al Qaeda, s/he effectively declares him- herself as a military belligerent, which effectively makes him or her a legitimate military target. I have no problem with that.

  10. Lizard says:

    " Being too stupid to realize that winning an popularity contest gives you special magical powers to kill American children without accumulating sin or stain?"

    'Round these here parts, we call that 'democracy'. :)

  11. Dan says:

    You're quoting Dorner's opinion on the first lady's hairstyle to make the case that Obama, duly elected President of the United States, is equivalent to this random guy who has a hundred fucking retweets. What an awful, offensive, piece of shit, full of cherry picked bullshit comparisons.

    Frankly, Dorner's manifesto is better (up to spelling, grammar, and editing skills anyway). At least he has an actual fucking point, other than "both these niggers suck, AMIRITE!"

  12. Dan Irving says:

    "If a U.S. citizen takes sides with Al Qaeda, s/he effectively declares him- herself as a military belligerent, which effectively makes him or her a legitimate military target. I have no problem with that."

    No – *you* don't get to decide which side your on. The government gets to do that with no oversight. Also – they get to decide what 'imminent' means. Also – this kind of fiat power is rife for misuse. Sure, right now they might be targeting bad guys but they get to decide who is the 'bad guy' What happens 30 years down the road when they decide that *you* are the bad guy.

  13. NM says:

    Not a facepalm big enough.
    I've long enjoyed reading this website and while I've sometimes disagreed, this is some Rush Limbaugh level stuff. It doesn't deserve to sully the rest of this site.

  14. Ken says:

    Dan, there are many critiques of the proposed comparison. You choose to leap straight to "any criticism of Obama is racist." Thanks for being everything FreeRepublic would say that an Obama supporter can be.

  15. NM says:

    Oh and drones are on nytimes.com right now. . . .
    I completely disagree with extra-judicial drone strikes, but damn what a terrible piece.

  16. Dan Irving says:

    @Clark,

    I like how people are picking one or two items from your list and saying that, since the comparison *could* be argued to be specious then the entire article is invalid.

    Next they'll be trotting out straw men.

  17. Clark says:

    @NM:

    > I've long enjoyed reading this website and while I've sometimes disagreed, this is some Rush Limbaugh level stuff. It doesn't deserve to sully the rest of this site.

    Please explain what logical or rhetorical error I'm making, instead of just tarring me / us / this with the Limbaugh (who I can't stand, by the way) brush.

  18. Ken says:

    The Limbaugh comparison is completely unfair. Clark is svelte, not a serial divorcee, eschews drugs, and is only interested in underaged Dominican boys as a potential labor force.

  19. Dan Irving says:

    To be fair, the percentage of children killed by Dorner is dwarfed by Obama.

  20. Dan says:

    Well, thanks for showing me your true colors, Ken… I was actually hoping you'd show up to condemn or disavow this crap. I'm glad you and the good ol' boys at FreeRepublic are getting along so well.

    And for the record, I didn't "leap straight to" racism.

    I think I made a pretty significant point about how superficial and stupid this article was.

    THEN, in addition, I implied that the author is a racist.

    Which was a little over-the-top and trollish, I admit… but I kinda wanted to see if Clark would log on to the comments and explain how many black friends he has.

  21. Dan Irving says:

    @Dan – wow, your cognitive dissonance is simply breathtaking.

  22. LongCat says:

    I like that Dan can see a race-neutral discussion of two black men and his brain immediately leaps to the word "niggers." Word association games are fun.

  23. Ken says:

    Gosh, Dan. Since all you ever do is show up to whine about how you don't like the posts, in similarly butthurt tones of pearl-clutching outrage, it's not clear to me why you're here at all.

    Surely this is bad for your tender mental health. Wouldn't you be better off elsewhere?

  24. Luke says:

    I'm reminded of Scalia's recent trip to Princeton where one of the questioners completely misunderstood part of Scalia's argument. I think that classes on both rhetoric & informal logic need to become a part of the standard curriculum in schools. People would still have to apply effort without falling back on knee jerk emotional conclusions though so it probably wouldn't work.

    On a side note from comments on the other post Dan didn't like, I got the Civ V expansion and still haven't won without knocking off at least one other civ. Someone always comes along and starts something.

  25. Clark says:

    @Eric Arrr

    > Heh. And on that note…

    HAH!

    @Luke:

    > . I think that classes on both rhetoric & informal logic need to become a part of the standard curriculum in schools. People would still have to apply effort without falling back on knee jerk emotional conclusions though so it probably wouldn't work.

    To be fair, I didn't explicitly state what my point was in the form of a thesis statement, so some of Dan's confusion is understandable. Well, OK, not understandable, but defensible, perhaps.

    …but, yes, good point.

    People often get outraged at the things I say, and I calmly ask "what did I say that's false, or what moral axiom do I have that you disagree with?", and flustering is sometimes known to follow.

    The one thing I've learned today is that Dan doesn't like being made to think that perhaps extrajudicial killings are either all moral or all immoral, and he gets upset when someone points that out.

  26. Clark says:

    @Ken:

    > Clark is svelte

    Ken is just saying that because when we met in an online betting forum for underground nun fights, I was using a shirtless picture of Romeo + Juliet era Leonardo DiCaprio as my avatar and – I think – still hasn't realized that that wasn't really me.

    …at least, I HOPE that's the reason behind the drunken voicemails from him calling me "his little Leo".

    The alternative is far more horrifying – might he actually think I work in law enforcement?

  27. sorrykb says:

    Accusations of "selective editing" and the National Review article do stretch credulity a bit. It's entirely probable that the media outlets mentioned are not quoting Dorner's "manifesto" not because of their perceived political bias, but because he's a rambling madman, and the manifesto reveals just that and not much else. If I were to adopt a purely cynical point of view, the media outlets aren't showing political bias, they're simply focusing on the sensational aspects of the story.
    I've read my fair share of rambling "manifestos" (an unfortunate requirement of my former profession), and I've come to the conclusion that the writings of madmen (or mad women) at the farthest extremes on either side the political spectrum are fundamentally indistinguishable, at least in terms of valuation of their content. (In fact, I would argue, at the risk of mixing my metaphors, that the "spectrum" here becomes more of a circle, with all the most crazy gathered together in one spot.)
    Now, if the intent of the comparison chart was to make the point that public figures (and the rest of us, I suppose) shouldn't make the mistake of saying, "See, this deranged murderer agrees with my political opponents, therefore my political opponents are just like deranged murders…", well, OK, I get it, and I agree. But the intent isn't completely clear to me (It's Monday, and I might just need more caffeine.), and since the comments have veered off, as comments do, into entirely different territory, I thought I'd chime in with my own little rant. Ranting done now. And thanks — I don't always agree with what I read on Popehat, but it's almost always food for thought.

  28. Clark says:

    @sorrykb:

    > he's a rambling madman

    He's not though. He's absolutely taking evil actions (just as, I assert, Obama is by killing American citizens and – worse yet – establishing a legal precedent for why Americans can be condemned to death via a Star Chamber), but he's not crazy and he's not rambling.

    One thing (among many) that I dislike about contemporary American medicalize-it memes is the behavior of calling anything that's more than half a standard dev from the mean "crazy" or "mentally illy" or "unhealthy".

    There's LOTS of behaviors that I don't engage in: casual sex, heroin use, killing cops and their families, hanging out at underground dog fights, running for political office, betting on the horses, auditioning for reality shows, and more.

    Most of it doesn't appeal to me.

    Some of it horrifies me.

    …and some of it I think is actively evil.

    …but very little of it is far outside standard human nature.

    To prune down the definition of "normal" based not just on 21st century American norms, but on 21st century SWPL norms is to fail to understand huge swaths of human behavior.

    In another era gay couples, black-white couples, adoption across race lines, premarital sex, etc. would be "insane".

    There's no getting around the fact that Dorner attempting to kill his enemies is well within what we know of human behaviors across multiple races, religions, and cultures.

    The fact that it's stunningly uncommon among people with MFAs from Princeton doesn't make it crazy.

    Condemn it on moral grounds all you want (I will), but don't filter your perception of reality to make it accord with your moral code.

  29. Mike says:

    I find this post quite frustrating. Clark's asked for explanations of any fallacies or falsehoods; here are a few.

    1) Context-free comparison. This type of thing is fundamentally useless. You can find a ton of things I agree with Dorner on — does that make me a mass-murderer in waiting? I've also been a vegetarian, maybe I'm just like Hitler. Those gun-control quotes, and really everything up to the killings, are useless.

    2) Labelling those attacked in both instances as political enemies. Regardless of how Dorner justified his attacks, there is no plausible argument he is attacking those seeking to harm him. He attacked normal civilians on American soil. Obama has limited those targeted to people actively leading and working in organizations on foreign soil — where it's harder if not impossible to go through judicial process — seeking to harm the US and its citizens. Whether he unilaterally has that right (I don't think he does) is irrelevant, because one can legitimately be called self-defense even if misguided, the other can't.

    3) On the media response to killings. As has been pointed out above, mainstream media broke the story and has been writing extensively on it. This is deafening silence?

    Cute little comparisons are no substitute for actual thought and argument. If you disagree with me, well —

    People who disagree with Mike about stuff: Clark; Joseph Stalin. I rest my case.

  30. Clark says:

    @Mike:

    > Clark's asked for explanations of any fallacies or falsehoods; here are a few.

    Great! Thanks for engaging in a debate about ideas rather than name-calling; I appreciate it.

    > 1) Context-free comparison.

    Semi-valid point.

    This was performance art, not a disertation .

    > You can find a ton of things I agree with Dorner on – I've also been a vegetarian, maybe I'm just like Hitler.

    I agree with your that the "Hitler was a vegetarian attack" is moronic, but that's because vegetarianism is – we all think – almost entirely orthogonal to thoughts about killing Jews.

    I suggest that my comparisons were carefully chosen, and were not orthogonal. They were intended to show that Dorner believes in a modern 21st century democratic welfare state. As does Obama.

    Dorner's problem with the State is, if anything, that it's not quite authoritarian enough: he wants the little people to have their guns taken away from them. Guns should, he seems to think, only be allowed to agents of the State: cops and the military. As does Obama.

    Dorner thinks that the president of the US is a good moral man, with a hot wife. As does Obama.

    Dorner thinks that if you Know The TruthTM, you can make a list of people who deserve to die for their crimes, and then go ahead and kill them, without recourse to courts, judges, or juries. As does Obama.

    > there is no plausible argument Dorner is attacking those seeking to harm
    > him.

    I'm sure that there's a plausible argument.

    > He attacked normal civilians

    Why do you say that they're normal civilians?

    I'll tell you – because under our American concept of civilization and our American system of government, any allegation to the contrary is just an allegation until proven in court.

    Please apply that same standard to Obama: he's made a list of thousands of enemies. Some (many?) of them are Americans.

    Obama may think that they pose a threat to him, but under our American concept of civilization and our American system of government, any allegation to the contrary is just an allegation until proven in court.

    > Obama has limited those targeted to people actively leading and working in organizations on foreign soil

    Says who?

    Obama?

    > — where it's harder if not impossible to go through
    judicial process — seeking to harm the US and its citizens.

    Says who?

    Obama?

  31. Jacob Henner says:

    The problem so many others here have pointed to is that so many of these comparisons are not relevant. They both like Michelle's bangs? Ok, so? They both favor some gun control, so what? The police aren't after Dormer for hypocrisy. There are probably a lot more similarities you could have pointed out; did they both play basketball? Did they both have a Y chromosome? Did they both have a goverment job?

    It seems like the point you wanted to make was about unlawful killings, and the media's response to them. Those are fair points, so just make them. But, by throwing in all the irrelevant comparisons, it just seems like you are trying to come up with as many as possible, just to pad them out and pile them up. For example, what does it matter what either of their "thoughts on gun owners" are?

  32. Jacob Henner says:

    or the killing dogs & farm animals thing…how was that relevant, except for the purposes of character attack?

  33. sorrykb says:

    @Clark: I'm not saying that we should just dismiss anything Dorner said by saying, "Well, he's crazy. Let's move on."
    Maybe you and I differ on definitions. To me, insanity is most definitely within the range of human behavior.
    I'm with you on the drone strikes and I imagine on most if not every point of the growing lawlessness of the current administration's actions. (Sure, it's a holdover from the previous administration — I condemned it then — but it's greatly expanded).
    But I'm still not understanding the point you're making with this article. I genuinely believed you were pointing out the logical fallacy of making simple comparisons. I'd welcome clarification.

  34. PLW says:

    A little OT, but I don't quite get all the fuss re: the drone strikes and Americans. Is it evil because they are American? I understand it may be illegal because they are American, but evil? Is it less evil if they are Canadian?

    I actually think it matters for the parallel you are trying to draw. Because, otherwise, we could put pretty much any leader of any country in the right-hand column.

  35. Mike says:

    Clark,

    Thanks for the response.

    "Dorner believes in a modern 21st century democratic welfare state. As does Obama." As do I, as do many many millions of people. So what?

    "Guns should, he seems to think, only be allowed to agents of the State: cops and the military. As does Obama." Really? Based on Obama's proposal to revisit the assault weapon ban? You can say if you want that the ban is arbitrary in its definition of assault weapon, but if you're saying it will apply to all guns, we're not operating in the same universe.

    "Dorner thinks that the president of the US is a good moral man, with a hot wife. As does Obama." I debated leaving this alone instead of contrasting it with "I suggest that my comparisons were carefully chosen, and were not orthogonal," because I assume the second part at least is tongue-in-cheek, but you're not really helping your case with either part here.

    "Dorner thinks that if you Know The Truth(TM), you can make a list of people who deserve to die for their crimes, and then go ahead and kill them, without recourse to courts, judges, or juries. As does Obama." Not really. Obama's list (a) isn't about past crimes, but future intentions with capability; and (b) at least purports to consist of people that it's difficult-to-impossible to capture and submit to courts, judges, and juries. How can that be irrelevant?

    And that's how I apply the same standard to Obama. And please note that I'm not excusing his actions. I find them indefensible. My personal view is that, if you can't get these people before a court, then (absent actual — not Obamanian — imminent threat or a declaration of war) you can't touch them.

    That's the funny thing. You and I actually agree on the substance of the drone policies, but your attack here sounds shrill and unhinged to me. Your comparisons here seem a lot closer to my fellow liberals' comparing Bush to Hitler than the rational discourse you say you value.

  36. Jesse says:

    Dorner has only killed 3, not 5 as you state. The link you provide in the 5 confirms this. 3 killed 2 injured.

  37. Sam says:

    So you don't consider Michelle's bangs (as someone else also pointed out) as orthogonal to the issue at hand?

    "They were intended to show that Dorner believes in a modern 21st century democratic welfare state. As does Obama."

    If that was your intention, based on the responses it was poorly achieved.

  38. eponym says:

    "I suggest that my comparisons were carefully chosen, and were not orthogonal. They were intended to show that Dorner believes in a modern 21st century democratic welfare state. As does Obama."

    I don't think you've really cited appropriate evidence to prove this point. They both like Michelle Obama's haircut, they both support gun control, and they have both either committed extra-judicial killings or ordered them. Furthermore, the connection between "welfare state" and "extra-judicial killings" seems pretty tenuous.

  39. Jeff W says:

    Until I got to the bottom of the list I thought Clark was comparing Gyro Gearloose to the head of the Beagle Boys.

  40. Dan Irving says:

    Obama's list (a) isn't about past crimes, but future intentions with capability; and (b) at least purports to consist of people that it's difficult-to-impossible to capture and submit to courts, judges, and juries. How can that be irrelevant?

    a) Future intentions and capability? Thought crimes warrant a drone strike now? Who decides if these 'future intentions' warrant being put in a kill list? Obama? Someone he selects? Who has oversight to ensure we don't kill, oh, a 16 year old American citizen who is only somewhat tangentially related to Al Qaeda?

    b) Who determines if the people on said kill list are 'difficult-to-impossible to capture and submit to courts'? Obama? Someone he selects?

    Maybe Clark is just fed up with Executive privilege. He lived through 8 years of Bush and now 8 years of Obama – with hardly any change in policy. Hell – under the Obama administration, drone strikes are at an all time high with the death toll to include 176 children.

    Let me bold that – 176 children have been killed by US Drone Attacks

    Seeing as the Obama administration has conducted 86% of the drone strikes to day I'd say the blood of a fair amount of those 176 children is on his hands. (Unless he can do no wrong in which case those 176 deaths came under Bush's 53 strikes – he wasn't going after AQ, he was really trying to kill children)

    I know that's why I'm mad about this whole situation. One rogue cop has the nation all atwitter but the death of 176 brown kids … nada.

    And BTW – not Joe Stalin. Maybe you have a fever?

  41. Ben says:

    First post. I love the website, particularly the legal news and commentary, ponies, and 1st amendment issues. I am not a fan of this piece for the reasons Mike mentions. I think this piece was in very poor taste – the earlier commenter had it right that these types of comparisons, which are largely irrelevant to actual point, smack of Limbaughism.

    Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still think the office of the president should be treated with respect. If you think that the president's use of drone strikes amounts to extra-judicial murder, and that repeated use of such strikes makes him a mass murderer, then honestly advocate for impeachment or imprisonment and a change in foreign policy. "Hitler was a vegetarian"-type guilt-by-association comparisons only serve to solidify the political divide rather than opening up a real dialog.

    Personally I don't think the US should be conducting secret drone strikes anywhere except during wartime, and I think the "War on terrorism" a joke. If I had any say then I'd want to pull US troops out of 100 countries and slash the military budget 1T.

  42. Jacob Henner says:

    @Dan he wasn't mistaking your avatar for Stalin. He was (jokingly) saying that people who are opposed to him ideologically include both Clark and Stalin, therefore Clark is like Stalin.

  43. Mike says:

    Dan Irving,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Like I've said, I agree with a number of your critiques about the drone program. But that doesn't make Obama anything like Dorner, and it's inflammatory and disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

    As to the thought crimes, there's a line there as in all things. We've distinguished thought crimes from actual crimes by various ways to define attempt, that I'm sure Ken (and maybe Clark? I don't know his background) can explain a lot better since I'm on the civil side. By intentions and capability, I meant to (but clearly didn't, as I see now) imply some level of attempt requirement in.

    Also, people keep saying that no one cares about the drone programs. A lot of people care. That's why there's so many people talking about it. And your concern isn't new, it's been around forever; recently, we had it under Bush when one blonde girl going missing caused more consternation than people being waterboarded. Doesn't make it okay now, but it's always nice to keep a little perspective.

  44. Charles Rice says:

    Yes, lots of bullshit parallels between A and B.

    AND ONE KEY PARALLEL: They both kill people for no other reason that they think it is a good idea.

    Here's a thinking experiment:
    Bush went into Iraq to find and destroy WMDs that could be used against Americans based on information he got from whom?

    Obama blows up Americans and foreign nationals, their families, friends, and whomever else is within 50 feet, based on information he got from whom?

    Imagine GWB, with his silly smirk and goofy snicker, defending drone strikes. "Well, sheeeeit, that fella had one of them towels on his head. You can see it right there… on that sat'lite pho-to-graph."

    How does Obama's justification differ from my hypothetical, but plausible, defense from GWB?

    How does that justification differ from the crazy rant from Dorner?

  45. Ken says:

    Isn't it more than a little odd that it's not inflammatory to talk about how the President of the United States is claiming the power to kill any human being on the face of the earth based on unreviewed and unreviewable executive decisions, but it is inflammatory to post a rhetorical device on an obscure blog about it?

    I know which one inflames me more.

  46. Daublin says:

    Guys, notice that the two sides of the table are not exactly the same. One row is different: the size of each person's power base.

    It is hard to deny that Democrats give Obama a pass for things that, were he anyone else, would be called evil and incompetent. But since he's giving out favors to 66 million people, he is above the law.

  47. Mike says:

    Ken,

    Is that what he was doing? I thought he was making facile comparisons of the President of the United States to an unhinged mass murderer. Not to mention making most of the same comparisons between me and millions of other people and this same mass murderer. But I suppose it's all in how you look at it.

  48. Daublin says:

    @Mike: you write that Obama's targets are "people that it's difficult-to-impossible to capture and submit to courts, judges, and juries".

    How is that different from Dorner? I don't know a lot about him, but from the little I've read, I'd guess that Dorner's targets would also be difficult to impossible to prosecute in the nominal judicial system.

    Please think carefully about your justification for Obama's killings. You get to kill someone if: you want to, and the judicial system says no. Of course, you also get to kill someone if: you want to, and the judicial system says yes.

  49. eponym says:

    "It is hard to deny that Democrats give Obama a pass for things that, were he anyone else, would be called evil and incompetent. But since he's giving out favors to 66 million people, he is above the law."

    Clearly, people voted for Obama because they wanted favors, while people voted for Romney because of their stern patriotism and rationality.

  50. eponym says:

    "I don't know a lot about him, but from the little I've read, I'd guess that Dorner's targets would also be difficult to impossible to prosecute in the nominal judicial system."

    Am I missing the joke?

  51. Jacob Henner says:

    Ken, you recently wrote that we should avoid making an "enemy of my enemy is a friend" argument, because he is a "madman" and a "lunatic," and even if he is right about flaws in the system, the basic argument is not sound.

    Isn't this a similar argument; "The friend (moral doppelganger) of my enemy (Obama) is my enemy (Dorner)"? Or maybe with those persons reversed? Anyway, although it may be true, the argument is unconvicing.

  52. Mike says:

    Daublin,

    They'd actually be incredibly easy to capture and submit to courts, judges and juries. Just incredibly difficult to convict. Which, in fact, is the opposite of the people Obama claims to be targeting. I don't think you have the point you thought you did here.

  53. Jacob Henner says:

    Also, I have heard plenty about the "kill list" from the media. NYT, ongoing coverage on Maddow's show, Greenwald, Slate, even Buzzfeed politics. My own senator, Wyden, has been dogged about getting this out there (he is somewhat muzzled by security classification). I would like to hear it reported even more, but the premise that there has been "no" coverage, or that it hasn't "inflamed" is unfair. It has inflamed plenty of people, far more than this post, it just hasn't changed anything

  54. Orv says:

    Ah, I see the right has finally found its equivalent of the "Bush is Hitler" meme. Good for you. Y'all have fun with it.

  55. Dan says:

    > Wouldn't you be better off elsewhere?

    Apparently so; thanks, Ken.

  56. Clark says:

    @Ben:

    > I think this piece was in very poor taste

    Thank you – I always appreciate feedback that tells me I'm hitting the mark.

    > Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still think the office of the president should be treated with respect.

    I wouldn't call you "old fashioned". Something more like "boot looking fan of authoritarianism" would be more focused.

    > If you think that the president's use of drone strikes amounts to extra-judicial murder, and that repeated use of such strikes makes him a mass murderer, then honestly advocate for impeachment or imprisonment

    Why?

    One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms — H L Mencken

    My goal is not merely to indict Obama as an authoritarian, but to actively degrade and disrespect the office of the president…and the entire government he heads.

    Nazi Germany didn't need a better Fuhrer – it needed to be destroyed.

    > If I had any say then I'd want to pull US troops out of 100 countries and slash the military budget 1T.

    Well, we agree on some things!

  57. Orv says:

    Dorner is settling a dispute without having to resort to government courts or a government monopoly on force. In that respect, he's living the Libertarian dream. Presumably any dispute that couldn't be resolved with money would be resolved this way, in a true Libertarian society.

  58. cb says:

    "…instead of just tarring me…"

    from the same guy who put up the post and later used the phrase "boot looking fan of authoritarianism"

    fwiw, I think there are lots of reasonable arguments against the policies in question and few reasonable ones in favor. But I think your 'performance art' is just stupid

  59. Xenocles says:

    The Office of the President has to earn respect from the citizens. The only people obliged to show it a minimum level of respect are people in uniform – and that minimum is quite low, I assure you.

  60. sorrykb says:

    Ken wrote:

    Isn't it more than a little odd that it's not inflammatory to talk about how the President of the United States is claiming the power to kill any human being on the face of the earth based on unreviewed and unreviewable executive decisions, but it is inflammatory to post a rhetorical device on an obscure blog about it?

    The problem with the latter is not so much inflammatory but that it doesn't work as a rhetorical device. If the comparison was sincere as it seems to be, then I'd agree with Olaf who argued earlier that it's a false equivalence.
    To be blunt, it's intellectually lazy, a rhetorical lapse that's made worse by the fact that there are so many strong and well-considered arguments that can be made.

  61. Clark says:

    @Orv :

    > Dorner is settling a dispute without having to resort to government courts or a government monopoly on force. In that respect, he's living the Libertarian dream.

    Indeed, both Dorner and Obama are living in a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, answerable to no court or higher power. Dorner, though, suffers a handicap: he does not have a teacher's union and $68 billion dollar education department to catechize children with the proper understanding that it's OK to kill people on nothing more than your own say so if you've got the Divine Democratic Right of Kings.

  62. jstok says:

    a comparison:

    Clark:
    My goal is not merely to indict Obama as an authoritarian, but to actively degrade and disrespect the office of the president…and the entire government he heads.

    Nazi Germany didn't need a better Fuhrer – it needed to be destroyed.
    Dorner:
    this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur

    Clark:
    Something more like "boot looking fan of authoritarianism" would be more focused.

    Dorner:
    Those of you who "go along to get along" have no backbone and destroy the foundation of courage. You are the enablers of those who are guilty of misconduct. You are just as guilty as those who break the code of ethics and oath you swore.

    You're right, this is fun.

    For the record, I agree with you regarding the drone strikes. I disagree with your method to attempt to artistically illustrate the problem.

  63. JR says:

    @Clark

    My goal is not merely to indict Obama as an authoritarian, but to actively degrade and disrespect the office of the president…and the entire government he heads.

    Nazi Germany didn't need a better Fuhrer – it needed to be destroyed.

    This post seems to me a rather weak cry to arms. It is also missing what most other anti-establishment protests (or protests of any kind for that matter) lack; a reasoned method of transition and feasible structure with which to replace it that can plausibly overcome the human flaws making the current system such a disaster.
    It is very rude to expect that a person write in a manner to be determined by a reader. And having said that, I come to popehat for writing of substance. It has been very educational for me on matters of the first amendment and its use, among other related topics.
    I am sad to say that this post, and the mediocre level of debate to which it gave rise, would easily camouflage itself on eatliver.

  64. eponym says:

    "Dorner, though, suffers a handicap: he does not have a teacher's union and $68 billion dollar education department to catechize children with the proper understanding that it's OK to kill people on nothing more than your own say so if you've got the Divine Democratic Right of Kings."

    Do you think that this is actually taught in schools? If you do, I'd love to hear why. If you don't, I'd love to hear why your rhetorical device justifies the implication of a falsehood.

  65. James Pollock says:

    "It is hard to deny that Democrats give Obama a pass for things that, were he anyone else, would be called evil and incompetent. But since he's giving out favors to 66 million people, he is above the law."

    Um, I'll deny that. Both halves.

  66. Ben says:

    @Clark:

    Thank you for your insult. I am literally glowing over here. What I really love about it is that I am a boot loving person rather than a boot licking person. It's not that I'm a kiss-ass, but rather that I'm begging to get my ass kicked. I'd like to think so.

    Now I'll say something nice about you: You post about right-libertarian vs. left-libertarian was very entertaining. Nice use of an xkcd comic.

    @Ken:

    >Isn't it more than a little odd…?

    The fact that the president is claiming the power to kill any human being on the face of the earth is absolutely more inflammatory than this blog post, but it's gasoline inflammatory, not nuclear bomb inflammatory – I might blow up about it but I won't destroy the city. This post is only isopropyl inflammatory or I wouldn't have been willing to come close. I just think going full we-must-kill-the-fuhrer is excessive. I'm worried Clark might accidentally set the house on fire is what I'm saying.

    In an case I'm not allowed to post on the president's blog, or at least he doesn't read it, so that's a moot point. And here I was lucky enough to be called out by Clark, so, bonus.

  67. Owen says:

    Here's what we need to improve the political discourse in this country – more people comparing politicians and elected officials to serial killers and Nazis!

  68. Kevin says:

    Clark wrote: "Indeed, both Dorner and Obama are living in a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, answerable to no court or higher power."

    But Obama is subject to SCOTUS (in theory) and Congress. We could stop him by vote, without violence. That's the key point of comparison and the one I thought you intended to imply.

    Some here are distracted by the funny parts you inserted and others by cases where drone strikes may be justified, but the real provocation is that Obama's authority and continued assassinations are ultimately our responsibility.

  69. Martin says:

    @Ken, it's kind of disappointing to hear you defend Clark's post with "what Obama does is more offensive, so why are y'all getting upset at Clark?" Is the new rule at the blog that one should only be bothered by the most offensive thing around? Or that two wrongs make a right? I understand that this issue of extra-judicial killings inflames you (as it does me), but that doesn't mean you need to blindly defend every poorly-reasoned, poorly-thought-out attempt to raise awareness about it. Clark's method of raising awareness of an important issue seems to be wrapping a note around a brick and throwing it through a window. It's a bad plan. People tend to pay lots of attention to the fact that some idiot threw a brick and broke a window, and relatively little attention to the stuff on the note…

  70. James Pope says:

    Wow, you should repost that over at FreeRepublic or Breitbart. What an amazing and insightful post that's clearly designed to create a dialogue between different opinions! Please, for your next post you should demonstrate why homosexuals are sexual deviants and Obama is from Hawaii, therefore ObamaCare is evil and Sarah Palin was right! We've got to stop those stupid evil Lefties from voting for Obama again!

  71. Clark says:

    @Ben

    > @Clark: Thank you for your insult. I am literally glowing over here.

    Ben,

    The word you're looking for is "figuratively".

  72. Clark says:

    @Kevin:

    > But Obama is subject to SCOTUS (in theory) and Congress. We could stop him by vote, without violence.

    In theory we could, in practice we don't.

    @Daublin got it:

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/02/11/a-comparison/comment-page-2/#comment-984662

    Guys, notice that the two sides of the table are not exactly the same. One row is different: the size of each person's power base.

    It is hard to deny that Democrats give Obama a pass for things that, were he anyone else, would be called evil and incompetent. But since he's giving out favors to 66 million people, he is above the law.

    Your theory that the political process works is flawed, because it doesn't conform to reality. In reality, a man popular enough to get 66 million votes is allowed to kill American citizens on nothing more than his say-so.

    THAT is the point of my post.

  73. Guns says:

    By god Clark, you mean to say that leaders of global superpowers, when faced with impossibly complex problems, sometimes get blood on their hands, JUST LIKE SERIAL KILLERS??? And that the media and the public sometimes tend to take these differing contexts into account when passing judgement?

    Truly, you have opened my eyes. I do not think I wish to live in this world anymore. Please point me to the nearest fascist state, where I will not have to stomach the ignorant and hypocritical opinions of the masses and the media.

  74. Ben says:

    @Clark:

    > The word you're looking for is "figuratively".

    Actually I meant to make a stupid joke about being radioactive, but I guess that one slipped by.

  75. Daublin says:

    I expect that many of the people Obama is killing would get off if they went before a court. It's not just an issue of capture. There are also issues of jurisdiction, hard evidence, and the small detail of whether they did anything.

    On jurisdiction, how sure are we that Pakistan would extradite their own citizens? "Diplomatic" is not the word I'd use for U.S.-Pakistan relations right now.

  76. Dan Irving says:

    @Clark,

    By God you really shook the tree and got all us monkeys flinging poo. Well done sir, well done!

  77. MrQuizzles says:

    So the main problem with this post is that it's not an article that discusses the current administration's abuse of power and their attempts at legal justification of it, which is what Clark's post-hoc justification of the post purports it to be. Would you like to discuss the current administration's abuse of power and their attempts at justifying it legally? Then write an article that does that. I'd be happy to read it. Don't give me this hyperbolic nonsense instead. It basically just says "Obama is a murderer and nobody cares" without actually discussing it.

    Maybe it's just me, but having read this blog for a good while, I expected something better and more thoughtful. I especially expect better from a law blog when discussing a legal issue. I don't expect a post that consists of nothing but what is essentially a really ugly infographic. Again, you didn't even attempt to discuss what you claim was the main issue being addressed within the post itself.

    Simply put, the quality of this post doesn't even come close to the quality I expect from this blog. If you want to post bile like this, then get your own blog for that. Don't leach off of this one. This one deserves better.

  78. Waldo says:

    I think the "support" part is severely misguided and gives the impression of partisan hackery (or just not very bright?). Since we're talking about extra-judicial killings of Americans, shouldn't the support be those who, you know, support extra-judicial killings of Americans? Unfortunately, there's wide bipartisan support for Obama's policies there.

  79. Jacob Henner says:

    One final quick word about the media "covering up" Dorner's political leanings. I actually see a lot of consistency there; as far as I can see, most major media outlets avoid discussing the ideology of mass killers. When it was Brevik, when it was Laughner, when it was OKC, you really didn't hear very much about the political motivations of the killer. Maybe the media doesn't want to be accused of blaming the political beliefs for the killings, maybe they don't want to give a platform to a killer (and thus encourage the next one). Obviously there are a few exceptions – the unibomber's manifesto was published, for example, but that was to try to ID and catch him (it worked).

  80. princessartemis says:

    @Jacob Henner, Within a day or two of Gifford's shooting and of Breivik's mass shooting, I had heard in the media mentions of their political affiliation. As I recall, with Loughner, it was within hours. I have not heard, in the media, anything about Dorner's affiliation. Granted, I do not now nor did I then watch much TV. However, I have seen some coverage, and with Loughner and Breivik, their politics came up very quickly. With the Newtown shooting, it was Asperger's that came up in the same specious capacity. With Dorner, I have not heard any such speculations.

    Whether that is consistent, I'm not going to judge. I will note that what I have heard regarding Dorner does seem somewhat free of that sort of casting about for a connection. It's rather…refreshing, to be honest, to not have to listen to reporters spitball tenuously connected facts.

  81. Thad says:

    I was going to make a comparison to the old "You know who ELSE favored gun control? HITLER" saw, but you went ahead and went full Godwin all by yourself in the comments.

    I think there's definitely a good point to be made in comparing the President — any of them in recent history — to a serial killer. Trotting out tangents about hairdos and gun control is a pretty piss-poor way to make that point.

    (I, too, believe Wayne LaPierre is a piece of shit. Does that make me a serial killer, or does it merely reflect my "thoughts on gun owners"?)

  82. Jacob Henner says:

    @princess
    yes, and as I said, there are exceptions, and sometimes it does get mentioned, especially early on. Sometimes some reporter takes a flier and gets brutally criticized for it, as happened when that reporter mistakenly stated that the Aurora shooter was in a local tea party group. Generally they avoid discussing it much at all, and they certainly don't dwell on it. All the responsible reporters in the MSM, and even the talking heads on opinion shows take the tacit "They're madmen, so don't try to make sense of their stated rationale" approach. I'm not saying that's always completely true, but that is the attitude of the press at large (discounting the fringes of course).

    Did you hear any actual excerpts from Brevik's exegesis in the press? I didn't, just a general description of it as white nationalist teutonic christian whatever. Did you see any quotes from Laughner's journals (or whatever they were)? I didn't, just a general description of it as right wing paranoid scizophrenic ramblings. I remember coverage of McVeigh as an ultra-right-wing turner diaries type, but not extensive coverage, no quoting or excerpting.

    Although it is sometimes mentioned, it's very rare that the press insinuates that some mass killer's political beliefs are at all relevant.

  83. Jacob Henner says:

    I said they avoid "discussing" it, and although I think that's mainly true, maybe I should have just said they don't dwell on it.

  84. MrQuizzles says:

    I also feel it worthwhile to note that Wayne LaPierre is the Executive Vice President of the NRA. The current president is David Keene. A lot of people seem to be confused about that, apparently including Dorner.

  85. princessartemis says:

    Yeah, saying they don't dwell on it would be more accurate and would be something I would agree with. For the most part, no, they don't dwell on such things. They do mention them, though, enough that it paints a picture of the perpetrator. That was my point.

  86. AlphaCentauri says:

    Re: Dorner and mental illness. IANAL, but I would say he is not "insane," i.e., he knows what he is doing is illegal and is capable of following the law if he chose to. But I believe he is mentally ill. There is little evidence his behavior in the past was consistent with his current behavior and attitudes. He apparently had a history of going off if someone used the n-word, but otherwise was not considered a risk by the military or police forces which gave him weapons and training. He appears to have undergone a recent fundamental change. That's a pretty good indication that there is mental illness involved.

    "Insanity" is a legal diagnosis, not a medical one.

  87. Rich Rostrom says:

    Clark • Feb 11, 2013 @3:20 pm:
    Nazi Germany didn't need a better Fuhrer – it needed to be destroyed.

    So, then, you endorse the monstrous crimes of Franklin Roosevelt, killer of hundreds of thousands of innocents (including many American citizens) in the so-called "good war" to "destroy Nazi Germany"?

    Clark • Feb 11, 2013 @4:51 pm: Indeed, both Dorner and Obama are living in a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, answerable to no court or higher power.

    Obama is acting as Chief Executive of the United States. And you know what? The United States exists "in a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, answerable to no court or higher power." As do all other sovereign states. There is no binding "international law", and no agent with authority to enforce it.

    The United States is under attack – intermittent, but ongoing – from forces which conceal their locations and identities. It is the business of the armed services of the United States to identify and locate these people, and to capture or kill them. Every day, ordinary enlisted soldiers and Marines do this. Sometimes a soldier or Marine decides that some person is an enemy, and shoots. Or he decides that person is not an enemy, and holds fire. He does so on his sole authority, answerable only to his superiors.

    If a grunt in the field can do that, the Commander-in-Chief can do that. The difference, of course, is that the C-in-C has no superiors – the buck stops with him.

    You, perhaps, would prefer "judicial review". Perhaps you would be happier if every gun in America's arsenal had a permission switch to be activated by a judge, who would review the evidence before a soldier fires a shot.

  88. Tim says:

    This is not clever, it is calculated, and the obvious way you tried to make back door accusations should be embarrassing to you and everyone else that posts here. I suppose this makes all us armed forces members war criminals for participating in actions initiated by the president.

    If you have something to say, say it. Don't lay down 1 liners knowing ignorant people will form their own idiot opinions based on your crap.

  89. Patrick says:

    This post in no way embarrasses me.

    As for ignorant people with idiot opinions, I can see that at least one wasn't fooled by this post.

  90. Erik says:

    You are suggesting Obama's drone strike policy is fundamentally the same as Dorner's 'policy' on who he killed. This implies that if one thinks Dorner should not have killed people, Obama should not have.

    However, this ignores the actual conversation that needs to be had over drone strikes. If there is a person who cannot be detained or extradited, and is plotting and imminent attack, what should be done? There are a variety of good answers, and unilateral executive action is not one I endorse. Yet there are certainly many plausible arrangements (judicial oversight for example) where the targets still get killed by drones. A very reasonable person could agree that the US should kill people with drones without a full trial, with some level of checks that is subject to debate.

    This is not true of Dorner's actions. No one could seriously suggest that an individual should be allowed to shoot fellow citizens who are within easy reach of courts, regardless of personal motivation. That is simply not a rational policy.

    I get that you are trying to play up the whole "we should be upset about killings in other countries too", but by doing so you make light of the serious political question arising from the issue, which in my view is intellectually dishonest.

  91. James Pollock says:

    When speaking of "the media", it's fairly important to distinguish between the actual news operations, and the punditry/opinion programming, because in this area, there's a severe difference. News is supposed to be relatively free of opinions and limited to facts (what happened?) while opinion is all about opinions (why did this happen, and what does it mean that this happened?)

    The biggest problem with opinion pieces is that while the claim is that opinion is applied to facts, what actually happens is that facts are applied to opinions… and facts which don't fit the opinion either get spun until they do or they get ignored completely. It's the opinion folks (of every stripe!) who jump on whatever slim shred of evidence that supports their interpretation of what happened.

  92. spinetingler says:

    This post debases the other-wise fairly-outstanding quality of the Popehat. Disappointing, really.

    Also: " They were intended to show that Dorner believes in a modern 21st century democratic welfare state. As does Obama."

    As apparently do 66 million other Americans.

  93. Jess says:

    For cryin out loud some folks need to lighten up around here. I love when Clark posts stuff like this.

  94. Chris says:

    This post is below the quality of this site. I have long understood that a majority of the Popehat crew are of an opposite political persuasion than I, and that is fine.

    But this? This is just noise. It's dirty, it's ugly, and it does nothing to forward discourse. End drone attacks? I'm all for it. Blame teacher's unions for drone attacks by accusing them of 'brainwashing' our youth? That's intellectually dishonest and just plain childish.

  95. Ken says:

    I, too, am disappointed by this post.

    Sorry. Not by the post. By some of the comments to it.

    Disappointed and embarrassed.

    Seriously.

  96. David says:

    I would like to see some of the folks who call this site or its posters "partisan" or "political" preface their remarks with a summary of how they think the posters here vote or march. That would be clarifying. So here's a template:

    Poster Party
    (D?|R?|L?|S?|
    C?|G?|O?|Ø?)
    Orientation
    (Left?|Right?|Center?|Bottom?|
    Top?|Down?|Strange?|Charm?)
    Ken:
    Patrick:
    David:
    Derrick:
    Grandy:
    Charles:
    Clark:
    Via Angus:
  97. Ken says:

    Well, I know that Via Angus is heavily in favor of agricultural subsidies.

    Also, I don't think my orientation is anybody's . . . ok, wait, I see. Never mind.

  98. Joe Pullen says:

    it does nothing to forward discourse.

    Gosh did I miss a memo or something.

  99. Ken says:

    I appreciate that, in an effort not to overwhelm Popehat's servers, people are posting some of their butthurt over this post in the comments to a completely unrelated post by Orin Kerr over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

  100. Clark says:

    @ Jess:

    > For cryin out loud some folks need to lighten up around here. I love when Clark posts stuff like this.

    One hot chick likes my post. A lot of butt-hurt whining men don't.

    More crazy posts coming up !

  101. zeek says:

    I love how Ken's response is the childish 4chanism of 'butthurt' now. The level of discourse on this site is wanting.

  102. Ken says:

    It's picking up speed, too. We're just going to disappoint you. You'll never get your money's worth. Best to get out when you can.

  103. Grifter says:

    Well, I know that Via Angus is heavily in favor of agricultural subsidies.

    I see what you did there…

  104. Jess says:

    Wow the last time I had that much influence over someone's postings is when I told Craig Brittain to stop acting like an idiot, oh wait . . . .

  105. Jess says:

    The reality behind the "hot chick" https://vimeo.com/60515690

  106. Julie says:

    Yah, I feel totally debased just for having viewed this. The comments thread, anyway. I thought the OP was pretty funny (not, maybe, "ponies" funny, but funny, in a dark, depressing kind of way), FWIW (which ain't much). I appear to be the only commenter who actively appreciates that you included commentary on Michele's bangs in your chart. Just remember, kids, when the President does it, it's not illegal.

  107. Jess says:

    @Julie – I’m so very sorry we have all disappointed you, I didn’t realize this was a popularity contest.