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arely staircase

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Member since: Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:54 PM
Number of posts: 12,454

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Would Lincoln use drones?

Lincoln probably would have loved drones, but may have held off using them to kill for strategic reasons

First off, Lincoln was obsessed with military technology and innovation, so there’s little question that he would have been intrigued by drones, had they been invented in the 1860s. He often personally witnessed demonstrations of new inventions and pushed for their advancement and field testing through the War Department bureaucracy, in part by promoting officers who held a similar love of innovation. Under his tenure, the Union became one of the world’s first militaries to use repeating rifles (a vast improvement over the single-shot muzzle-loaders it replaced), rifled artillery, machine guns, rockets, armored “ironclad” warships, and torpedoes, and he made advanced strategic use of railroads and especially the telegraph.

He would have loved to have had drones’ surveillance power, as he championed the unprecedented use of balloons to spy on the enemy. When the aging head of the Army initially rejected the balloon idea, Lincoln personally marched inventor Thaddeus Lowe to the War Department and declared that he would be head of the new Aeronautics Corps for the Army. “I have pleasure in sending you this first dispatch ever telegraphed from an aerial station and in acknowledging indebtedness to your encouragement for the opportunity of demonstrating the availability of the science of aeronautics in the military service of the country,” Lowe telegraphed to the president from a balloon over the National Mall.
We asked Yale Law School professor John Witt, who wrote a popular book about Lincoln’s code of war. As it turns out, Lincoln spent a lot of time thinking about these kinds of questions. On the eve of Emancipation, the president commissioned New York lawyer Francis Lieber to write the first modern code of war. The resulting guidelines (often called the Lieber Code) are more complicated that today’s left or right like to remember them, Witt argues, banning torture and poison gas on one hand, but also clearly designed to help the North win, on the other.

The code prohibited assassination, but what exactly counts as “assassination” is a debate that remains open to this day and started in antiquity. For instance, the Lieber Code was based on the thinking of 18th century Swiss philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, who laid the foundations for international law with his seminal treatises on the Law of Nations. In Volume III, he has a lengthy parsing of what it means to assassinate an enemy. A true “assassination,” on the other hand, must involve treachery, Vattel wrote. Usually, this would be someone who deceives in order to gain access to his target, such as an “emissary, introducing himself as a supplicant, a refugee, a deserter.” That, Vattel wrote, “is infamous and execrable, both in him who executes and in him who commands it.”

Posted by arely staircase | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:28 PM (13 replies)

Occam's Razor and the Pope

On the one hand it seems quite plausibly simple that the man so close to the last pope had sworn long ago that if ever pope himself, he would never go through such a public physical decline.

A more sinister possibility is that something horrible is about to tie him to the sex abuse scandals (and he already is to some extent.) Now I offer nothing but speculation, but it is an alternative possibility that really isn't any more complex or (im)possible.

Could be a little of both - something is about to come out and he is old.

But remember, no pope has done this since the 1400's. That and the worldwide scope of the sex scandals raises a flag.

Posted by arely staircase | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 07:40 PM (24 replies)

Not all DU Dorner Jurors get it wrong

here is one I alerted on:

At Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:36 PM you sent an alert on the following post:

Bringing the war home! Los Angeles freaks out as former LAPD officer, Afghanistan vet and


This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)


"Schadenfreude. Instant karma is a motherfucker." This post is a celebration of cop killing. Do the right thing.

A randomly-selected Jury of DU members completed their review of this alert at Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:41 PM, and voted 5-1 to HIDE IT.

Juror #1 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT and said: Celebration of killing anyone is despicable.
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: It's a hot topic with strong feelings and appropriate for discussion
Juror #5 voted to HIDE IT and said: this is easy. no forum for ass-holes!
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given

Thank you.
Posted by arely staircase | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:14 PM (4 replies)

Karl Rove but the hollow shell of the man he once was

The "genius" the "architect" "Bush's Brain" is now, on the heels of his election night humiliation, relegated to boasting that he is winning a race that isn't even happening for nearly 2 years by running attack ads against someone who isn't even a candidtate.


Karl Rove is officially a loser.
Posted by arely staircase | Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:38 PM (22 replies)

Penelope Soto, Fla. teen who flipped off judge, apologizes and avoids 30-day sentence

(CBS) MIAMI - Penelope Soto, the Florida teen who was jailed after flipping off a Miami-Dade judge, avoided a month behind bars Friday after she apologized to him in person, reports CBS Miami.

Posted by arely staircase | Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:38 PM (21 replies)

Was Lincoln wrong not to place every confederate soldier under arrest,

instead of just killing them by the tens of thousands without a trial?
Posted by arely staircase | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:18 PM (22 replies)

"survivalist with deep mistrust of the government"

That is the description that is emerging of the underground bunker guy/kidnapper/murderer guy. I think we will continue to hear from this type for some time to come. Obama's re-election was probably what let slip the last tether some of these folks had to reality.

Posted by arely staircase | Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:57 PM (7 replies)

In Defense of Zero Dark Thirty by Michael Moore

There comes a point about two-thirds of the way through Zero Dark Thirty where it is clear something, or someone, on high has changed. The mood at the CIA has shifted, become subdued. It appears that the torture-approving guy who's been president for the past eight years seems to be, well, gone. And, just as a fish rots from the head down, the stench also seems to be gone. Word then comes down that - get this! - we can't torture any more! The CIA agents seem a bit disgruntled and dumbfounded. I mean, torture has worked soooo well these past eight years! Why can't we torture any more???

The answer is provided on a TV screen in the background where you see a black man (who apparently is the new president) and he's saying, in plain English, that America's torturing days are over, done, finished. There's an "aw, shit" look on their faces and then some new boss comes into the meeting room, slams his fist on the table and says, essentially, you've had eight years to find bin Laden - and all you've got to show for it are a bunch of photos of naked Arab men peeing on themselves and wearing dog collars and black hoods. Well, he shouts, those days are over! There's no secret group up on the top floor looking for bin Laden, you're it, and goddammit do your job and find him.

He is there to put the fear of God in them, probably because his boss, the new president, has (as we can presume) on his first day in office, ordered that bin Laden be found and killed. Unlike his frat boy predecessor who had little interest in finding bin Laden (even to the point of joking that "I really just don't spend that much time on him"), this new president was not an imbecile and all about business. Go find bin Laden - and don't use torture. Torture is morally wrong. Torture is the coward's way. C'mon - we're smart, we're the USA, and you're telling me we can't find a six-and-a-half-foot tall Saudi who's got a $25 million bounty on his head? Use your brains (like I do) and, goddammit, get to work! And then, as the movie shows the CIA abruptly shifts from torture porn to - are you sitting down? - detective work. Like cops do to find killers. Bin Laden was a killer - a mass killer - not a general of an army of soldiers, or the head of a country call Terrorstan.


Posted by arely staircase | Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:03 PM (30 replies)

so what's stopping her?

besides the obvious.

I figure Orly Tate's attempts to serve the prez. would go like this>

if you are so drawn to it, why not try forcing your way in?

Posted by arely staircase | Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:21 PM (0 replies)

David Sirota: Raising taxes isn’t “left-wing radical”!

A controversial Times column is just the latest example of special interests' Orwellian grip on political discourse

During the debate about President Obama’s proposal to let tiny bit of the those tax cuts expire, most reporters did exactly what Businessweek’s Joshua Green did: they pretended that letting Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 would deny “the rich” any tax cuts whatsoever. This, of course, was demonstrably untrue, as the Obama proposal’s extension of tax cuts for all income below $250,000 still would have given the rich a big tax cut on their first $250,000 of income.
Despite that reality, however, the biased framing persisted. Indeed, wealthy reporters, campaign contributor-appeasing politicians and corporate lobbyists – motivated by both personal financial self-interest and by Beltway groupthink/pack psychology – kept portraying Obama’s proposal as something it was not. That ultimately confused many voters and helped make the final agreement both more conservative and even less reflective of mainstream public opinion. Specifically, the lie that those making more than $250,000 would receive no tax cuts made Obama’s whole proposal look too radical, thus laying the rhetorical groundwork for extending the Bush tax cuts for all income below $400,000, in the process re-imagining that stratospheric income level as somehow “middle class.”

That doesn’t mean there is one one lonely Rasputin pulling all the strings, nor does it mean there is a grand linguistic conspiracy run by a handful wordsmiths in a smoky back room (though said wordsmiths do certainly exist on K Street and in political consulting firms). Rather, it means that the political vocabulary has been so skewed for so long that many who speak the language don’t even know that they are forwarding subjective and often wildly inaccurate assumptions. It also means that it is no coincidence that those particular assumptions at once serve the interests of those with money and ignore the interests of We the People.

Posted by arely staircase | Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:58 PM (8 replies)
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