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• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

February 06, 2013

"When I Use a Word," Humpty-Dumpty Said, "It Means Just What the President Chooses It to Mean—Neither More Nor Less"

Humpty_Dumpty_Tenniel.jpgThe recently-leaked Obama Department of Justice white paper explains the executive branch can kill U.S. citizens when "the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack." Except it turns out they're using "imminent" to mean "non-imminent":

...the condition that an operational leader present an "imminent" threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future...the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat, making the use of force appropriate.

As Glenn Greenwald points out, this is a "warped and incredibly broad definition." But one thing it's not is new. Instead, it's yet another way in which Obama is turning out to be exactly the same as George W. Bush. This redefinition of what constitutes an "imminent" threat first appeared in the Bush administration's 2002 National Security Strategy:

We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.

Condoleezza Rice said much the same thing in a December, 2002 article: technology requires new thinking about when a threat actually becomes "imminent." So as a matter of common sense, the United States must be prepared to take action, when necessary, before threats have fully materialized.

So the Obama administration doesn't get any credit for creativity here. However, they can still be justifiably proud of their decision that "dead military-age male" now means "combatant."

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at February 6, 2013 08:07 PM

Its KARMA. The chickens come home to roost and I might mention each chicken carries two television guided Hellfire missiles.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 6, 2013 10:02 PM

We had the same thought concerning Humpty and the meaning of words. In fact, my comment over at Greenwald's place uses a few lines from Alice in Wonderland:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

Ya know, I'm beginning to think that when Alice went down that rabbit hole, the realm of Wonderland in which she found herself made more sense than the US of A in the decade+ since 9/11. We're well on into NewSpeak these days, and the amazing thing is how easily NewSpeak is picked up by those in power and the media and then by the public...and very few even bat an eye.

Posted by: Roman Berry at February 7, 2013 03:21 AM


But still the dark stain
Spreads between their shoulder blades
A mute reminder
Of the poppy fields and graves----Pink Floyd

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 7, 2013 12:06 PM

WE can't steal the Pakistanis' land without a drone. The last ten years PROVE these massive land invasions are simply too expensive in BLOOD&TREASURE. Drones are cost effective. Should a few Americans get killed along the way, its the cost of business.
These memos assure US that there won't be LONG&WASTEFUL trials TRYING to determine the guilt or innocence of those killed Americans.(of course they are guilty and deserving death, somebody said so)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 7, 2013 01:05 PM

the World Court needs to break some eggs and rule that this is illegal- if they haven't already

Posted by: frankenduf at February 7, 2013 02:06 PM

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up
and also the rest of the website is very good.

Posted by: barbecue electrique tefal at February 7, 2013 07:11 PM

read article, copy, paste:

Posted by: godoggo at February 7, 2013 08:16 PM

Wow, someone commented "at greenwald's place"?

What high society.

Errrr, aaaaahhh.... uhmmmm... I mean... doesn't anyone bother asking what makes greenwald some kind of expert here? Dude doesn't know shit about this subject or any other; dude knows only sucking Donkey cock and uttering derogatory phrasing toward Evil Rethuglicans.

Kinda like our host, Jonny black.

I suppose your Gang Meliorism, Jewish Smartguy Branch must make you prideful or something.

Maybe if your name were celtic and not ashkenazic, maybe if you were Hugh, maybe you'd get scalped in a bris.

Hugh's bris.

Sounds about right.

Posted by: Satchel Paige at February 7, 2013 09:26 PM

I can't help feeling that comment is partly my fault. Oh, the guilt. Anyway, no more outbursts from me, promise.

Posted by: godoggo at February 7, 2013 11:01 PM

Anyway, I guess it's untrue that "Satchel Paige is mellow."

Posted by: godoggo at February 7, 2013 11:09 PM

or is clued into what is going on...

Posted by: Susan at February 8, 2013 02:05 AM

"New technology" is code for power and control of markets, and nationalist pride. "New thinking" is a code for propag andizing the public into subtle defeatism.

Posted by: Lewis at February 8, 2013 02:12 AM

Lewis: Good Points!!!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 8, 2013 12:44 PM

I thank HIM THAT IS BECAUSE HE IS for the 2nd Amendment. I'll tell ya why, Satchel Paige is who he is and people like that scare the holy shit out of me. My Dad taught me to be that way. Basically a closeted marxist with a Jew's last name who faught during WWII & Korea, he had a good idea on what's going on with Jew Haters. I got a Jew's last name too.
Ole Satchel here ain't too very rare a bird either. Damn, seems like one behind every tree. And really, I'd like to find any one group that don't. (Paid off politicians don't count, folks. They're just there for the dollar)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 9, 2013 02:07 AM

I suspect not so much an actual Jew-hater as trying to say something clever and failing.

Posted by: godoggo at February 9, 2013 10:39 AM

Well, if I've killed another blog, then sorry everybody.

Posted by: godoggo at February 9, 2013 02:39 PM

I see where the U.N. is "concerned" over the number of CHILDREN WE kill each YEAR in Afghanistan. One imagines that the ability for the U.N. to get an accurate body count of the kids KILLED in Pakistan, Yemen, etc., etc., is limited to anecdotal evidence by the surrounding population, therefore to be discounted as lies. They are saying that WE KILL too many. I'm guessing one or two or maybe a dozen or so is STILL OK.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 10, 2013 02:27 PM

Is a "Jew-hater" the enantiomer to the pretentious putz who gives any Jewish "intellectual" a free pass on critical examination?

How does one's wording "prove" that one is a "Jew-hater"?

Poignant questions unanswerable by Thimbledick Black or any of his "fans" who comment here.

Posted by: Sandy Koufax at February 11, 2013 12:48 PM

Well, I'm dumbstruck. Random anonymous fans of Jonathan Schwarz's unfunny comedy and ignorant non-insights into politics have determined that my posts are bigoted and uninformed.

Truly, no greater irony exists.

Posted by: Satchel Paige at February 11, 2013 12:51 PM

Shut up, Satchel.

As a White Person, I must confess and confirm, this website here is Stuff I Like. Helps me feel superior and informed. Plus, since I'm Jewish and all, I feel like I belong here.

Posted by: Sandy Koufax at February 11, 2013 12:52 PM

well, i'm neither white nor superior nor particularly informed, but i feel mightily like saying fuck you, satchel, that's a great name you're befouling.

Posted by: Jesus B Ochoa at February 11, 2013 02:36 PM

And I think Blackie Jonson is befouling the concept of "comedy" with his tribalist bullshit non-humor and his insight-free "comic explorations" of political matters.

Ignorance is a source of pride here at ATR, second only to tribalist bullshit.

Satchel was wise and wily and very adept at movement.

What are you good at, Hayzeus Oat Show-uh, besides blaming everything on bigotry and racism because that tactit makes it easy to obscure your own complicity and juvenile partisanship?

Please, share -- with some of that priceless Schwarz humor that lacks comedic blackness.

Thanks buster.

Posted by: Satchel Paige at February 11, 2013 03:20 PM

Perhaps "Jew Hater" was a little "too strong" a statement, Satchel. Even my Dad didn't care much for Judeaism and tried to discourage me. He MOST CERTAINLY didn't "hate " me. He explained that it was "problematic" to practice it in the south at that time and the neighbors did their best to prove him right. YOUR post seemed to be in the same order.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 11, 2013 03:20 PM

Oh no, it's the same guy who played Dr Evil trying to lecture me on wise human perspectives.

I'm stunned.

That was supposed to be subtly moralizing humor there, eh Miguel? Your real last name wouldn't be Perez would it? Like Perez Hilton? Or Shimon Peres?


I'll try to keep up with you pretentiously unfunny Fancy Parchment bearers. Shit, maybe you'll just keep hammering a tired theme like Perrin witih O'Donoghue.

Posted by: Satchel Paige at February 11, 2013 04:49 PM

Satchel: I was raised in the south where the local bill boards said " Be a man, join the Klan" or "Impeach Earl Warren" and "strange fruit" wasn't all that strange(in the "uncommon" sense of the word) so I have an accurate view on MY racism and YOURS too. I don't give a damn if YOU're racist, hell this country was FOUNDED on racism.(Article I sec. 2 U.S.Constitution)
I would advise showing YOURSELF some self respect and not trying to justify YOUR racism.
That would be Mr. Meyer to YOU, Satchel.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 11, 2013 05:48 PM

Perez Hilton, how the fuck would you know whether someone else is "racist"?

I don't care if you are from South Carolina, South Boston, South Bronx, Southern California, or South America -- you can't tell if someone's a "racist" from words typed in a mocking comment.

By your standards, Schwarzcock Jonson is a bigot supreme -- anyone not pretentiously highbrow like SJ with a fancy Ivy parchment like SJ and a dry un-funny sense of un-humor like SJ and a list of buddies like self-involved unimpressive "comedians" who think they're 4th string Garry Shandlings or 10th string Jackie Masons must be some kind of "racist" or "reactionary".

Funny how you Donkeydicksuckers like to think you're the glue holding the Left together and how you think your occasional barely-critical "comic explorations of politics" that almost veer toward actual honesty about your own complicity, they're really insightful and deeply comic as well as very well-written and truly exceptional.

Lame-ass pretentious preppy Jews have been flopping on stages for decades. Giving yourselves WASPy first names and Ellis Islandized last names doesn't make you funnier.

PS: I'm Jewier than any of you fake jews. My circumcision was performed by a genuinely handed down rusty scalpel used to de-hood the original Davey, king of Jews.

Posted by: Satchel Paige at February 11, 2013 05:56 PM

Satchel: Ouch!!! Did I hit a curled up nerve, Honey? Didn't mean to while expounding an opinion. Its Alabama by the way. I still have a house there(Mom's) so I live there from time to time. Every time I go home I get a refresher course on what racism looks like and except for YOUR beastiality fetish( don't mention that in Church and there'd be no problem) YOU could fit right in and live a happy life. Folks down there don't mind whom YOU hate and many might well agree with YOU.
"Davey" is one of my ancestors, WE might be some kinda kin.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 11, 2013 08:39 PM

You didn't "get to me" Perez. I crank out that stuff faster than you can toss your own salad, jerkyboy.

Keep preening in the mirror, though. It shows that clever Ivy boy "funny" you ATR geeks display so regularly.

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Posted by: Julissa Piles at February 13, 2013 10:09 AM