Obama’s Response to the al-Haramain Smack-Down? Cheneyesque Reasoning

The Executive Branch’s Cheneyesque claim that it has a stranglehold on classified information is crumbling around Cheney’s rancid flesh.

Courts Get to Determine Classified Information for Their Trials

First there was the ruling, earlier this week, in the AIPAC case, which imagined mere jurors–as distinct from elites like Cheney–could determine what counted as classified information.

Now the interesting thing here is that the court is accepting that classified information, whether or not it ought to be classified, and whether or not it will necessarily harm the United States if made public, is not the exclusive domain of the Executive, but may be intruded upon by the court.

Or, as the al-Haramain lawyers described it in their brief to the 9th Circuit, Courts get some say over what is classified.

A new decision further confirms 1 Judge Walker’s authority to allow plaintiffs’ counsel to use a redacted version of the Sealed Document to demonstrate standing. In United States v. Rosen, No. 08-4358, 2009 WL 446097, at *6 (4th Cir. Feb. 24, 2009), the Fourth Circuit held that, in proceedings under the Classified Information Procedures Act to determine whether classified evidence was relevant and admissible, the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the extent to which the evidence should be redacted. Similarly here, Judge Walker has discretion to make that determination.

(Someone’s been reading their bmaz.)

Lawyers Get to See Classified Information Their Clients Need for Their Defense

Then, in a ruling that came out earlier this week, Judge Gladys Kessler held that a person with active concerns (not just a legal case, but also an OIG investigation) must be able to share classified information with his lawyer, even if the executive branch tries to prevent that. 

So the whole principal, cherished by Dick Cheney and David Addington as if it were their own children, that the Executive gets ultimate say over what is and what is not classified is crumbling.

Back to al-Haramain: Obama Argues against Article III Review

And in that environment, just hours after the Appeals Court ruled that Judge Walker can review the wiretap log that says al-Haramain was illegally wiretapped to affirm that is the case, the Obama/Dead-Enders are back, trying to prevent Judge Walker from deciding how to deal with classified information going forward.

Read the whole thing. But honestly. this stuff has gone from crappy to pathetic.

The Court has indicated that it rejects the Government’s reading of Egan, and presumably the related authorities the Government has marshaled. See January 5 Order at 21. The Court notes that under Egan, courts should not intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs “unless Congress specifically has provided otherwise.” Egan, 484 U.S. at 530; July 2 Order, 564 F. Supp. 2d 1109, 1121 (N.D. Cal. 2008). The Government respectfully submits that Congress has not specifically provided authority, in Section 1806(f) or in any other statute, for courts to ignore the determination of the Executive Branch agency responsible for classified information, determine for themselves whether a person has a need to know such information, and thus grant access to classified information.

Plaintiffs urge the Court to ignore the decision of the Director of NSA and to make its own finding about whether counsel has a need to know. Plaintiffs assert that because the Court does not need a security clearance to access classified information, and because such information is contained in the Court’s files, the Court is an “authorized holder” of classified information under the Executive Order (Pls. Supp. CMR at 3). This argument is seriously mistaken, based on both the Constitution’s allocation of authority to control classified information, and on the text of the Executive Order.

The mere fact that the Executive branch voluntarily provided the Court with access to classified information, for purposes of deciding the state secrets privilege or other related matters, does not grant the court authority to, in turn, disclose classified information to a litigant over the Government’s objection. In particular, the fact that Article III judges are not required to undergo security clearance processing each time they are provided access to classified information likewise does not vest in them authority to make access determinations themselves. Egan makes clear that the authority to control access to classified information is based on the President’s Article II powers under the Constitution and, whatever role Congress may have in regulating in this area, Article II does not grant the Judicial Branch authority to make determinations that usurp the President’s Article II powers. Thus, reading “authorized holder” under the Executive Order to include a Judicial officer, and allowing such an officer to overrule the Executive’s determinations, would itself be contrary to the authority outlined above.

Moreover, this is a flawed interpretation of the Executive Order itself. The Executive Order makes clear that the authority to determine a person’s need to know is the authority to determine access, because need to know is the final requirement before access is granted. See E.O. § 4.1(a). Thus, an authorized holder of classified information is one who may grant access under the terms of the Executive Order itself. The Order makes clear that originating agencies should have final say over another agency’s decision to disclose information, see id. at § 4.1(c), and that these same protections apply even when information is disseminated outside the Executive Branch. See id. at § 4.1(e). The Order also provides that “[a]uthorized holders” may challenge the classification status of information “in accordance with agency procedures,” including a right to appeal to an interagency panel composed of senior Executive Branch officials. Id. §§ 1.8, 5.3(a). These procedural requirements demonstrate that Executive Branch officials are the authorized holders of classified information under the Executive Order and are subject to the determinations made by other Executive Branch officials. To the extent the Executive Order is unclear on this issue, the Executive’s longstanding resolution of that question would be entitled to substantial deference and controlling weight by this Court. See Thomas Jefferson Univ. v. Shalala, 512 U.S. 504, 512 (1994); Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410, 413-14 (1945).

Accordingly, plaintiffs’ contention that Court is an authorized holder under the Executive Order and may determine counsel’s need to know or grant access to classified information is clearly wrong. And even if the Court were permitted to determine counsel’s need to know, the law is abundantly clear that it must defer to the constitutional role of the Executive in controlling classified information.

Why are these guys still talking about an Executive Order?!?!?!

Not only do they ignore al-Haramain’s argument–culled from the "wisdom" of David Addington–that entities that are not "agencies" do not have to comply with Executive Orders. But why the fuck would an Executive Order–which is not a law but, as the term implies, an Executive Order–bind a non-Executive entity regarding information it created? This whole passage, read in the context of the wholesale rollback on Executive claims to have exclusive control over classified information just reeks of desperation. Not to mention an acceptance of Cheney’s contention that we have fewer than one–or even two–branches of government.

To be fair, this is the argument that rightly ought to take place, just as Walker rules and things (presumably) will move forward on the al-Haramain suit. Still, it’s a desperate attempt to make Navy v. Egan say something it doesn’t say–one more worthy of Bush’s Dead-Enders than Obama’s lawyers.

Walker’s Imminent Ruling

So what does this mean for Walker’s imminent ruling on whether Bush broke the law? Dunno–but I’m sure glad he has absented himself to go rule, rather than be distracted by this stuff. The big question is whether the Obama/Dead-Ender Administration believes that simply announcing that al-Haramain has a case–that they were wiretapped illegally–constitutes classified information.

It shouldn’t. And even more, it shouldn’t count as classified information controlled by the Executive (it is, after all, all that Judge Walker has said he’ll definitely make available to plaintiff’s going forward–his orders). But we’ll see whether they’ll try to prevent Walker’s publication of his ruling, come Monday. If this is all the Obama/Dead-Ender Administration tries to do to prevent Walker from announcing that Bush broke the law, we may be ahead of the game. 

And meanwhile, Cheney is no doubt weeping about the way his overreach on executive power is in the process of–in Nixonian fashion–rolling back previously unchallenged executive powers. 

51 replies
  1. JThomason says:

    This is where the Democratic plan to play nice with the Republicans the last eight years back fires with Obama left holding the bag for Bush’s excesses.

  2. emptywheel says:

    What do you mean? Holder?

    I don’t think he was more than abstractly interest, and that for the way it affects power relations.

    The people we KNOW are interested–David Kris and Dawn Johnsen–haven’t been confirmed yet.

    Now it says something that–rather than appeal (thus far) Obama has gone back for another bite at the District apple. Bush would have appealed right away. And to be fair, the issue of whether the executive controls info they’ve handed over to courts probably needs to be ruled on–as the two other cases reveal.

    But they ought to at least address the issue of whether EOs apply to people who aren’t agencies.

  3. Loo Hoo. says:

    Congress has not specifically provided authority, in Section 1806(f) or in any other statute, for courts to ignore the determination of the Executive Branch agency responsible for classified information, determine for themselves whether a person has a need to know such information, and thus grant access to classified information.

    Do they want Congress involved? Or do they want to be able to put out an executive order that ice cream truck drivers need to wear purple on Tuesdays?

  4. bmaz says:

    (it is, after all, all that Judge Walker has said he’ll definitely make available to plaintiff’s going forward–his orders)

    Looks like they are still misrepresenting this. To Walker. WTF? They ought to be hit with Rule 11 sanctions for some of this rot. They are literally saying that “if you won’t buy any of our other bullshit, then we will just take our ball (the phone log) and go home”. Jeebus, This is just bad faith.

  5. Hmmm says:

    Pathetic, yes — but no surprise, after all that is the speciality of your basic dead-ender.

    I hope Walker took advantage of his closed office this afternoon by wandering over for a gander at Teh Document.

  6. Hmmm says:

    So if there were a confrontation or altercation when he wanders over to see Teh Document, would we even hear about it?

  7. bmaz says:

    Alright I have finished reading the thing carefully as opposed to the initial skim. I guess the continued misrepresentation of Walker’s previous order that I noted @6 above is tempered just a hair by the government at least arguing in the alternative with one of the alternatives being close to what Walker really said. Kind of an improvement I suppose.

    Curious that in the pleadings in the Consolidated Cases we were recently discussing, the government was literally at full whine that statutes had to be interpreted to give them meaning and keep them valid. But, hey, what the hell, that was 48 hours ago; now they are point blankedly saying that there is no interpretation of FISA that permits action and redress by a citizen so harmed if the government says they can’t. It is a meaningless statute if this is true. What good is a statute that permits recovery against the government if the government can just say “nuh uh”?

    And for the love of god, I am going to freaking go berserker if somebody tries to say this is all freaking brilliant eleven dimensional chess by the wonderful Constitutional scholar Obama. This is flat out pernicious bad faith pleading that is violative of the very Constitutional core of our ethos. Or what it was supposed to be anyway.

    • slide says:

      As you correctly point out the entire argument is bad faith and is deserving of Rule 11 sanctions. But I thing Marcy it the nail on the head when she correctly pointed out the nexus of the case to be this:
      The big question is whether the Obama/Dead-Ender
      Administration believes that simply announcing
      that al-Haramain has a case–that they were
      wiretapped illegally–constitutes classified

      The rest is bad faith and obfuscation.

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      am going to freaking go berserker if somebody tries to say this is all freaking brilliant eleven dimensional chess

      You’re just begging to have somebody make that vein in your forehead throb, aren’t you bmaz?

  8. BayStateLibrul says:

    Was I dreaming? Remember the response by a wheelie that he saw Rummy
    at the bus stop with his son. He started questioning Rumsfield about his
    handling of the war.
    The scene was mentioned by Keith O on Countdown last night…

  9. scribe says:

    EW: You ask, quite correctly:

    The big question is whether the Obama/Dead-Ender Administration believes that simply announcing that al-Haramain has a case–that they were wiretapped illegally–constitutes classified information.

    The answer is “yes”, for any number of reasons.

    But all one has to remember is this: in any number of times, places and circumstances, the US government (and any number of other governments, too) has classified the weather forecast. They’ve done this for any number of reasons which might or might not have been “good”, but they have done it.

    They have classified things anyone with eyes could have seen lying about, from bodies in the streets to planes flying around to who knows what.

    But, IMHO, the number one reason that they want to make and keep secret the existence of al-Haramin actually having a case is that their having a case means the Obama/Deadender administration will actually have to do something about it. Because proof – in the form of a viable case – of Bushie’s violation of a federal criminal statute means either they prosecute, or every other defendant will have a good argument (at least to a jury) that “if he got a pass, I should, too.”

    One of the NY tabs has a story today about a nasty DWI case – the head of a software company got hammered at a Rangers game, got in his oversized SUV and ran down a couple, killing them, drove off, and then came back while the bodies were being scraped off the pavement. He was sentenced yesterday, to 15 days’ in prison, six months’ driver’s license suspension, and 200 hours community service. The dead couple’s family cursed the judge, calling it a “Rich man’s sentence.”

    You get a couple more of those in the current environment and all hell will break loose.

    • lennonist says:

      What I don’t understand is why would the Obama administration, facing the possibility of “a couple more of those in the current environment” not want “all hell [to] break loose?”

      Perhaps the initial misstep of taking positions in court that were the “same as the old boss” means “all hell” would affect them too, but I don’t understand the fear that exposing clear law violations at the highest levels of the former Administration would cause fear in Obama and Holder?

      I realize it might affect their power but it would also enhance it if all hell broke loose and people knew about these blatant violations of the law on the part of the Bushies, wouldn’t it?

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      A-yep. I don’t think that Obama — or Holder, or whoever’s helping them out in the rather understaffed DoJ (where we only just got a DAG nomination out of committee last week; Orrin Hatch was holding it up because he didn’t like it that the guy had done First Amendment work for — GASP! — that horrid pornographer Playboy!) — are doing any of this because they’re evil powermongers who want to drink blood. As Marcy said earlier, it’s a headache. Or rather, a Hobson’s choice, with no real way of escape except to make some really hard choices. This can’t be finessed.

    • bmaz says:

      The situation here is more exacerbated than those you describe because they are not just idiotically classifying, they are doing so to obstruct justice and conceal established criminality.

  10. Peterr says:

    The Executive Branch’s Cheneyesque claim that it has a stranglehold on classified information is crumbling around Cheney’s rancid flesh.

    Why do I get the feeling that Marcy watched a zombie horror film last night before posting this?

    • emptywheel says:

      I didn’t. I was imaginging a different movie, wherein Judge WAlker hides out at an undisclosed location in the Sierra Nevada with his clerks writing his ruling, thereby preventing himself from learning either of briefs like this or of any last minute stay authorized by Scalia and friends.

      But when I see what court rulings have done–thus far–to Cheney’s claim of executive secrecy in just the last week, the sole image I can muster is of his wrinkly, dripping flesh with him in his sneer-filtered voice screaming, “I’m melting, I’m melting.” So that description was as close as I could come last night.

  11. perris says:

    But why the fuck would an Executive Order–which is not a law but, as the term implies, an Executive Order–bind a non-Executive entity regarding information it created?

    I am wondering how an exectuve order is minding on anyone

    the president can’t make laws he can only administer laws, an executive order could possibly order more strict or less strict adherance to existing law but it certainly has no weight if it is writing law

  12. SmileySam says:

    There was another ruling this week that seems to have been ignored or missed. In a backdoor kinda way it could even have some small effect on this case when you remember the Gov. has drug it’s feet on clearing the Lawyers to see some stuff.
    I read this earlier over at Secrecy News.

    A federal court this week said that litigants have a First Amendment right to provide classified information to their attorneys when doing so is necessary to protect their interests. The ruling is implicitly at odds with a common government practice of denying attorneys access to classified information in Freedom of Information Act cases, pre-publication review disputes, and other matters.

    There is a “First Amendment right to share [classified] information with an attorney when such sharing is necessary for an attorney to advise his client of his rights,” wrote Judge Gladys Kessler (pdf) of the DC District Court.

    The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by former Defense Intelligence Agency employee Anthony Shaffer against the DIA in connection with the controversial intelligence program known as Able Danger. DIA sought to bar Shaffer from providing classified information about the program to his attorney, Mark S. Zaid, even though he holds a security clearance. Mr. Zaid challenged the denial, and the court found merit in his complaint.

    “Without knowing all that his client, and the Defendants, know, Plaintiff Shaffer’s counsel cannot be prepared to adequately represent his client’s interests,” Judge Kessler concluded.

    Bootstrapping this to the case may be a stretch but not impossible imho.

  13. Mary says:

    To be fair, what jurors would get their shot at is “national defense information” determinations, v. classified determations.

    The reason they are still talking about Executive Orders, though, is that the al-Haramain plaintiffs have argued, pretty well, that the courts don’t have to reach the constitutional issue of whether or not the courts can ignore the Executive Order on classification, because even under the scheme set up by that EO and related regs the court is an authorized user and as an authorized user the court can make – completely within the bounds of the EO and without usurping it – decision on dissemination on a “need to know” basis to others with security clearances.

    They argue that even the Exec’s own EO, which is what the Exec is holding out to the world as being the rules (pixie dust) the Executive (pixie dust) is operating within(pixie dust), the Executive recognizes the court’s status to make determinations vis a vis classified information.

    [this quote may have some glitches – it didn’t copy right and I have to get out and can’t proof it, but it’s from the brief linked earlier
    http://static1.firedoglake.com…..-26-09.pdf ]

    Executive Order No. 13,292 defines “need to know” as authorized holder of classified information that a prospective recipient requires access to specific classified information in order to perform or assist in a lawful and authorized government function.” Exec. Order No. 13,292, § 6.1(z) (2003) (emphasis added). This provision means this Court may make the “need to know” determination here, because the Court is an “authorized holder” of the classified filings in this case. According to Department of Defense regulations, “Members…. of theFederal… judiciary . . . do not require personnel security clearances. They may be granted access to DoD classified information to the extent necessary to adjudicate cases being heard before these individual courts.” DoD 5200.2-R, § C3.4.4.5 (1987);

    Thus, the applicable regulatory and statutory law makes this Court an “authorized holder” of the classified filings here, as the Court needs no security clearance and plainly needs access to the filings in order to adjudicate this case. The Executive Branch’s own regulations give this Court, as an “authorized holder,” the power to make the “need to know” determination. See DoD 5200.2-R, § C3.4.4.5 (1987).

    What I very much liked from the DOJ is what you put in bold – that they “voluntarily” provided the court with access to information (umm, isn’t it more that plaintiff’s lawyers voluntarily provided back to gov it’s lost evidence of crime – evidence that no doubt spawned a detailed criminal investigation within gov, uh huh).

    Golly, maybe they should make a filing, the case style could be something like, oh, maybe, “United States v. United States District Court” demanding that the court give back to them the evidence of their criminal actions …

    Judge Keith could have deja vu all over again.

    • emptywheel says:

      I guess that’s why I find this all so ridiculous (and envision Cheney screaming “I’m melting”). Because working backwards from their logic, you either get to Courts only being allowed to rule if the Executive–at its discretion–allow them to rule, or their entire argument abotu classified information short-circuits their larger arguments about the unitary executive.

      As someone who read altogether too much Derrida in grad school, their legal arguments are deconstructing their entire larger system of Executive power.

  14. lennonist says:

    It’s a little off the post topic, but here are other scenes for a movie about a different Oregon case: Brandon Mayfield’s son stays home sick from school and hides, terrified, in the attic as intruders roam through the house, unaware that they’re FBI agents. Later, one of his children figures out the time the agents entered the home on another occasion as they cut the power but left the alarm clock blinking, showing how much time passed since it was turned back on. The family later finds a muddy boot print in the house and discovers that their toothbrushes were taken and returned after DNA samples were taken.

    Remember how the warrant was secured through FISC because Mayfield’ print “matched” one found in Madrid, even though he had no passport? That ran into problems when Spanish officials told them their analysis showed no match.

    They may have to make a mini-series as there’s too much for one sitting.

  15. Mary says:

    23 – “no real way of escape except to make some really hard choices” or to do what they are instead doing and just go along with the decisions already made. Kind of like hopping in to drive the car, only to discover there’s a gagged and bound body in the trunk and saying, “oh well, I guess I just keep driving”

    No real evidence of anyone making hard choices, just practicing a lot of soft shoe and Bushian rhetoric (substituting “no one is above the law” for “weapons of mass destruction” and cotinuing with the “America does not torture” Bush refrain, complete with juiced “Pentagon review” and sanitized vists to GITMO, this time with Holder vs Thompson, Goldsmith and Addington, but all towards the same, “good job, aren’t we nifty?” goal.

  16. Mary says:

    21 – I haven’t read Derrida (was he the karmic balance for the Silver Surfer perhaps? Doomed to travel the universe as a wave of dersion?) but I have thought that the EO on classification has been a bit underused.

    I’d like to see it get nailed even a bit more tightly, with plaintiffs arguing that the EO is an admission by the Executive that it does not have the power to classify evidence of the commission of criminal acts by the Executive branch and that the EO itself (as well as the FISA statute) recognizes that there might be attempts to classify such conduct and the EO as a result is expressing deferral by the Executive to the courts because obviously and Constitutionally, the only branch that can, de jure, interpret whether or not activity is criminal is the judicial branch.

    I’d also like to see some revisiting of the issue of FOIA requests on torture, given the statement by Holder re: waterboarding and Crawford re: a list of other actions – and I guess I’d even more like to see some of the press put that to Obama:

    Your AG has said that waterboarding is torture; Crawford in the Military Commissions proceedings has said that detainees were tortured; and you have an Executive Order that states no illegal activity will be classified – so when can the American public expect a declassification of all torture information, some of which has been the subject of FOIA request and Judicial orders for years now? Or have you superceded the public EO with one that allows criminal actions to be treated as classified after all?

    Kind of mind blowing that they would ask him about the first dog and his take on steroids – but not something as basic as, “do you claim the power to classify Executive branch crimes?”

    Oh well, the EO notwithstanding, the Constitutional issues weigh in the court’s favor. More so in true criminal proceedings, but even so in actions allowing for civil recovery for acts that were also statutorily defined as felonies.

    • bobschacht says:

      I love your question in italics! I think it ought to be sent to every member of the White House Press corps. If I knew how to do that, I would.

      Bob in HI

  17. Hugh says:

    The Obama Administration is about the return of the Establishment. This is the segment of our elites who were sidelined during the Bush Administration. These never disagreed with the fundamentals of Bush’s policies. They only thought they could do them better.

  18. SanderO says:

    Obi is content with W’s grab now that he’s in the oval office.

    What he should do is issue an executive order rescinding all of W’s executive orders and the do everything to reverse what W and the rethugs did over the past 8 years.

    The fact that he talks out of the side of his mouth is not very inspiring to the left. But perhaps he is trying to forward by going sideways?

  19. stryder says:

    the other arguments that say ” you don’t have any proof that you’ve been tapped”still hold right?
    Without that mistake of mailing this phone log to Wendell,there wouldn’t even be a case here right?
    Plus they were trying to cooperate with the gov.
    “At the time of the apparent illegal action by the government in intercepting conversations between me and my then client without a warrant, I was in the process of attempting to engage with American law enforcement and other officials to share information about Islamic charities and identify and resolve any problems that pose a risk to security. Rather than accept information and documents that we offered freely and without condition, the Bush administration illegally intercepted attorney-client communications”
    This is in the same vein as the falsification of WMD evidence
    The gov is arguing that we can say anything we want and you don’t even get to know the evidence against you because of national security concerns.Plus we can round up anyone and call them a terrorist and hold them indefinitely.
    And manufacture something out nothing in order to prove something that never existed to begin with

  20. Mary says:

    33 – I think I’m spam blocked on most email addies. At least

    35- “trying to forward by going sideways”

    This made me remember what Gov’s arguments have been reminding me of for awhile now.

    I’m just a Kentucky girl and I can’t pretend to channel the same sources as EW and Horton do, but that doesn’t mean I am philosophically bankrupt. I was exposed as a child to a man who really, now that I ponder on it, serves to both clarify and at times even predict the stances taken by the Bushama Dept. of Justice.

    Roger Miller.

    Here he is, in a discussion about a legal department, so enamored of an imperial presidency that they just couldn’t quite find the words to tell the world (or a court) why that imperial office had the power over them (and criminal evidence) that it does … Miller predicted, almost to a noun, the reasons offered up

    It went something like:

    I. Bright moon, tray fiddly run by through, around and up to, that’s why the President gets to, that’s why the court should just shut up

    Second brief point
    II. Bluebird a wingin’ pearley foe,some say chully-lum say so, that’s why the President gets to, that’s why the court should just shut up.

    Oh sure he wore frilly shirts and had funny hair(but don’t most philosphers?) but I think he might could even outdo Kafka when it comes to being able to explicate gov’s briefs on state secrets. Especially if you add in the last, and often overlooked, verse in this treatise

    can’t cover up with a court watching over,
    can’t cover up with a court watching over
    can’t cover up with a court watching over,
    but you can talk gibberish if you’ve a mind to …

    I expect that at oral argument, anyone who watches closely and carefully is likely to see Team DOJ quoting directly from this work by Miller

    After they make it past “dang us, dang us, oughta take a rope and hang us” watch for signature kneejerk with the high notes.

    It’s a hard thing, getting old. As a kid I think I would have recognized DOJ as a bunch of defunct Roger Miller back up singers in a heartbeat.

    • bobschacht says:

      I remember Roger Miller AND Ann Margaret (and Charlie’s Angels, and Paladin, and… but I digress.) Remember Roger Miller’s brief gig with the “Million Dollar Band” that included Johnny Cash? Who else was in that illustrious crew, and what year was it?

      Roger Miller was a hoot.

      Bob in HI

  21. dakine01 says:

    Are you talking about the Hee Haw Million Dollar Band with folks like Roy Clark, Johnny Gimble, Charlie McCoy, and Chet Atkins? (Probably a few other Nashville instrumentalists in there as well).

    The actual musicians were a valid reason to watch that show for a few years.

  22. bobschacht says:

    Reply function not working. To dakine01:
    yeah, that was the one. Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins with Roger Miller. And Roy Clark’s million dollar ego. What year was that?

    I think Hee Haw was the reason the TV became known as the Boob Tube.

    Bob in HI

    • dakine01 says:

      According to wiki they played together over 8 years. From the write-up I would guess that Cash and Roger Miller only played when they were guests on the show rather than as “official” members of the “band”

  23. Mary says:

    Interesting how discussions of Obama-Bush DOJ lead inexorably to Hee Haw. It’s like the Fickle Finger of Fate …


    I’m guessing this is not where EW meant a reference to Derrida to end up, although:
    “Everything is arranged so that it be this way, this is what is called culture.”

    • bmaz says:

      Where o where are you tonight
      I searched the world over
      and thought I’d found justice
      We met another Bush
      And Phhhhhht we were gone!

      • bobschacht says:

        You forgot a line–

        Where o where are you tonight
        Why did you leave me here all alone,
        I searched the world over
        and thought I’d found justice
        We met another Bush
        And Phhhhhht we were gone!

        You needs that line to set up the rhyme with “gone” *g*

        And why have I memorized (without even trying) rubbish like this rather than the exact wording of Article II of the Constitution?

        Bob in HI

    • bobschacht says:

      Interesting how discussions of Obama-Bush DOJ lead inexorably to Hee Haw.

      Well, following Judge Walker’s decision on Monday(?), get ready to cue the DOJ to come forth with the Hee Haw regular segment,

      Gloom, despair, and agony on me,
      Deep down depression, excessive misery
      If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all
      Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

      I’m sure EW will figure out a way to once again put her PoMo training to good use.

      Bob in HI

  24. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    Is President Obama going “all the way with LBJ?”

    by James K. Sayre

    Is President Obama trying to copy the failed notions of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), with his policies of “guns and butter,” as he pursued social progress on the domestic front and imperialism abroad (wars on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). By the time President Johnson was driven from office in the Presidential primary elections in early 1968, his record and his legacy were left in shambles.

    President Obama is showing early signs of this same sort of moral failure abroad with his remote drone murders of Pakistanis (war crimes), his escalation of our illegal, brutal, ongoing seven-year-old military occupation of Afghanistan (war crimes) and his notion of indefinitely keeping some fifty-thousand American soldiers in Iraq to “protect American interests” (war crimes). Will they just happen to be hanging around Iraqi oil wells? Hmm…

    President Obama is also following the Bush gangster regime’s medieval tyrant viewpoint that Afghanis being held in the US Air Force Base in Bagram, Afghanistan have absolutely no human rights at all; that they have no rights to protest and appeal their endless indefinite imprisonment without charge to any American court of law. This is turning the human rights clock back some eight hundred years, to before the signing of the Magna Carta, by the English King John in 1215. As a constitutional scholar, President Obama should know that this is a bankrupt and evil policy that has no place in America today, and especially not in his Administration with its mantra of “change.”

    Does President Obama believe that human rights end at water’s edge? He has made stirring speeches in defense of civil rights and human rights in his campaign to become President. Does he not feel in his heart of hearts that the Afghani people and the Iraqi people have the right to live free of brutal, hostile military foreign occupations? Maybe President Obama should try rereading our Declaration of Independence and thinking about it from the viewpoint of an Afghani or an Iraqi.

    On a small bookcase near my desk and computer, I have a tall newspaper clipping with a picture of then Presidential candidate Barack Obama walking with several other officials through some ancient ruins in Amman, Jordan last July. It was an inspiring scene, especially so in the widely-held public view that as President, Obama would put an end to the arrogant, brutal imperialistic foreign policies of the Bush gangster regime.

    In recent days, this newspaper clipping has sagged and then finally folded over on itself. Is this a premonition of a coming failure of President Obama to seek a new humanistic foreign policy, and instead, to fall back on continuing the failed Bush imperial aggression and criminal foreign occupations in the Middle East?

  25. Jkat says:

    once again .. i extend heartfelt thanks to bmaz and ew .. and the various legal eagles for decyphering this bullshit for the laymen … y’all do a very good [an] excellent job of explicating these issues .. i can’t thank ya enough for your continuing efforts in de-mucking things ..

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