Author Topic: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?  (Read 8065 times)

DonaldD

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Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« on: September 30, 2016, 08:08:17 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/29/politics/obama-911-veto-congressional-concerns/index.html

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Just one day after these lawmakers led the first override of a veto during Obama's presidency they publicly called for making changes to the law. But even as they admitted they agreed with some of the White House's concerns, GOP leaders quickly blamed the President for "dropping the ball" for failing to engage with Congress on the legislation before it passed.
You can't make this stuff up.  Pure comedy gold...

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2016, 08:20:53 PM »
Ya was reading that shaking my head earlier today.  Even when he tried to stop them, it's Obama's fault. ???

TheDrake

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 09:16:02 AM »
Interesting editorializing from the article:

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McConnell explained that lawmakers were very focused on the needs of the 9/11 families and didn't take the time to think through the consequences.

"Because everyone was aware who the potential beneficiaries were, but nobody focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships. And I just think it was a ball dropped," McConnell said. "I wish the President -- and I hate to blame everything on him and I don't -- but it would have been helpful had...we had a discussion about this much earlier than the last week."

I think it is a bit of a stretch to make it sound like McConnell had said that they didn't take time to think through the consequences.

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 09:31:20 AM »
Oh, I think he considered it.  From their perspective I expect giving Obama a blackeye with a veto override seemed more important at the time.  This is pure and simple politics taking precedence over governing. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 11:56:06 AM »
I want to know what the Democrats who helped beat the veto were/are thinking. They can't even argue about Obama or whatever.

Or are they just going to skate quietly away after helping McConnell put his foot in it?

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 12:06:23 PM »
Too true.  They shouldn't skate on pandering without regard for the outcome either.  I don't understand how any of them thought this was a good idea.  Or even a decent gamble.  :(

Fenring

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 01:46:30 PM »
There's something we're missing in this story. Some information the senators, at the very least, knew that hasn't been disclosed. No way it's that unanimous unless there is an extremely pressing reason why. In the case of the Dem senators it can't be partisan, so it must be something else. I wouldn't be too hasty to judge the decision even if on its face it looks strange.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 02:01:42 PM »
The claim from Schumer (the bill's sponsor) was that the 9/11 families were too important to ignore, but I'm not sure what their motivation was, either.  As I understand it, the families that are now eligible to sue Saudi Arabia have received an average of aobut $2M from the US government already.  I agree with Fenring that something else is going on, but I have no clue what it was.  FWIW, the only senator to support the veto was Harry Reid.

LetterRip

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 02:13:03 PM »
I think purely the expected backlash and opposition videos are sufficient explanation, rather than any sort of knowledge or insight beyond what is publicly known.

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 02:22:10 PM »
I think it's pretty strait forward.  They were either ignorant themselves OR (more likely) believe their voters to be too ignorant to understand why they would possibly vote against the 9/11 families.   Too important to ignore, makes a lot of sense. 

That AND, other than being a diplomatic wrench in the machine, it doesn't DO anything or obligate us to do anything or pay anything should some other country's citizens sue us.  It's pure theater and pandering.  So it's a good point to highlight that this is not the partisan flavor of political.  It's the pandering variety of political, across both parties.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 03:46:22 PM »
Are we just supposed to ignore the question of whether or not the Saudi government had an active role in helping the 9-11 hijackers, knowing full well their intentions?

Is finding out the truth about it too much of a potential bombshell to risk setting off?

I think the families finding out how deep the rabbit hole runs is more to the point than getting more money. And if the U.S. government did pay them millions how much does that really matter if the Saudi government was behind this? And as taxpayers how is that supposed to make us feel better than we paid for Saudi crimes? Shouldn't they be the ones to pay? Shouldn't they be held to account if they are guilty? Or should we just sweep it all under the rug just because we want cheap oil and their help fighting other terrorists?

Do we know what level of involvement the Saudi government had in 9-11? Do we even want to know?

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2016, 03:51:18 PM »
Finding out?  You doubt it? 
But yes, there is value in poorly keeping a secret or at least not confirming a truth.
They are a strategic ally and as... umm, conflicted, as the government / royal family is, there are parts of it who are still, even today, one of our best option for allies in the region.

Fenring

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 03:51:52 PM »
it doesn't DO anything or obligate us to do anything

I may not oblige the U.S. to do anything, but it certain might 'do' something. At the very least it tests the Saudi claim that if this passed they'd liquidate American assets and screw over the U.S. economy. The question is - was the override a political message to the Saudis? If it was, then it was a giant dare, with potentially serious consequences. If the Saudis were serious, they might have to reassess now that the Congress is daring them to do it. What I'm wondering is whether the Congress wants to retain all its ties to the Saudis and is merely demonstrating to them how much they need the U.S., or whether the increasing anti-Saudi news reporting in the last year has been preparatory to an alteration in U.S.-Saudi relations going forward.

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 04:16:41 PM »
Are we just supposed to ignore the question of whether or not the Saudi government had an active role in helping the 9-11 hijackers, knowing full well their intentions?

Is finding out the truth about it too much of a potential bombshell to risk setting off?

I think the families finding out how deep the rabbit hole runs is more to the point than getting more money. And if the U.S. government did pay them millions how much does that really matter if the Saudi government was behind this? And as taxpayers how is that supposed to make us feel better than we paid for Saudi crimes? Shouldn't they be the ones to pay? Shouldn't they be held to account if they are guilty? Or should we just sweep it all under the rug just because we want cheap oil and their help fighting other terrorists?

Do we know what level of involvement the Saudi government had in 9-11? Do we even want to know?
You ask that like justice is a relevant concern in international politics.

I think the better question is what cost are you willing to pay in order to know?

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 04:56:43 PM »
As the old saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

I'd rather find out the truth.

What I'm hearing is that, and yeah I'm gonna say it, "You can't HANDLE the truth!"

If the American people can't handle this truth, then what other truths are also being kept from us for our own good?

Is that really how we want our government to function?

That's not what I want our government to be, the arbiters of reality like this.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2016, 05:13:03 PM »
Cherry, there are plenty of truths to back up or prove false all sorts of claims. For instance, Obama didn't conspire with the UN to take away your guns. Hillary doesn't want to, either. The military drills in Texas weren't party of a preparation to declare martial law, and Donald trump is a sleaze. Feel better now that you know?

DJQuag

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 05:38:36 PM »
The Saudis are a bunch of animals. Out of all the things the country should be ashamed of during the latter half of the 20th century and up to today, our support of them is close to the top of the list.

Screw em.

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 06:01:16 PM »
As the old saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

I'd rather find out the truth.

What I'm hearing is that, and yeah I'm gonna say it, "You can't HANDLE the truth!"

If the American people can't handle this truth, then what other truths are also being kept from us for our own good?

Is that really how we want our government to function?

That's not what I want our government to be, the arbiters of reality like this.
It's not whether or not people can handle the truth, though in this case it's likely the reaction of Americans that would drive much of the cost. It's whether or not finding out the truth would be worth it. If knowing meant Saudi Arabia goes the way of Syria, would you still want to know? Or if the US gets into another war? The truth is not always beneficial or comforting and knowing isn't always better than ignorance. Since the government couldn't (even if it wanted to, which it manifestly doesn't) reveal everything it knows, the question isn't should the government keep secrets but which and why.

DJQuag, in principle, I have no objection to all sorts of bad things happening to the Saudis. In practice, there are significant consequences I would rather avoid.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2016, 07:05:59 PM »
Our government covering up Saudi involvement in 9-11 seems like if FDR had tried to cover up Japanese involvement in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

What if he had?

Would people be saying the same things that I'm hearing now, that it's better not to know the truth because of the consequences?

And what about the consequences of ignorance?

Not to mention the consequences of having a government that believes it doesn't have to answer to the people, that it can lie to us with impunity?

Frankly I think those consequences are worse.

They undermine the very foundations of the republic.

The people are supposed to decide. I suppose there is an argument though that if the majority of the people decide to elect a government that keeps us ignorant and knowing full well that they are doing so we still decide to keep them in power, there is an argument to be made for that too being the will of the people. Apparently though I'm just not one of those people. I want the truth.

And the truth doesn't necessarily mean full scale war. Maybe we find out who in the Saudi government was responsible and then those people go to prison for life, or are executed. That's an option. Or if the Saudis know who they are but they are too important to the Saudis to punish then Americans have every right to make decisions based on that information such as boycotts, protests, and electing leaders who take a tough stand or conversely electing leaders who say, like many of those in power now seem to be saying, that's it's not worth making a big fuss about.


NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2016, 07:21:18 PM »
Your analogy doesn't work. Not unless you can demonstrate the terrorists were acting as direct agents of the Saudi government. 

The government isn't lying, unless, again, they've said somewhere that the Saudis weren't involved. There's also a difference between letting something be known (we appear to know the Saudis were involved despite the government not admitting it) and publicly and official acknowledging it.

The people are necessarily going to be ignorant of some things the government knows. The government itself is ignorant of some of what it knows. Maybe this truth should come out but not because of a simple premise that the government shouldn't keep secrets. Again, the government will keep secrets, the question is: which secrets and why?

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2016, 08:27:51 PM »
I can't help but say that the belief that the government should have no secrets is archaic.  Maybe before the US was a nation there was so little to know that it made sense, but now the government is so big that some of what seems secret is just the bureaucratic maze of shifting and focused areas of responsibilities.  That's not to say that Bush didn't know how deeply Saudi Arabia was involved in 9/11, but that is a secret that will never be revealed in our lifetimes, or oil becomes an obsolete energy source, whichever comes first.

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2016, 08:47:31 PM »
Don't worry AI, we'll prop up oil as a commodity for no other reason than to NOT see that area implode.   :P

Fenring

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2016, 09:12:42 PM »
Don't worry AI, we'll prop up oil as a commodity for no other reason than to NOT see that area implode.   :P

Yes, just like we're currently propping up capitalism using the banking system. Such games can last for a while, but not forever.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2016, 09:27:23 PM »
I agree that our government should keep secrets.

I guess I'm comfortable with setting a firm boundary at no secrets when it comes to how and why and exactly because of whom thousands of Americans were murdered.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2016, 09:43:26 PM »
I agree that our government should keep secrets.

I guess I'm comfortable with setting a firm boundary at no secrets when it comes to how and why and exactly because of whom thousands of Americans were murdered.
I hadn't figured you for a "justice warrior", but we kill far more of our own fellow citizens and don't do much to stop it.  We kill more than 4 times as many people with guns every year than 9/11 killed, perhaps as many as 15 times as many people die every year because they lack health insurance.  We killed at least 50 times as many Iraqi's as 9/11 in the war we launched over there.  By all means, let's dig deep and do something about all of these things, and while we're at it let's find out how deeply Saudi Arabia was involved in 9/11

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2016, 10:27:41 PM »
We aren't hiding any of that though are we?

We are able to consider the facts on those subjects and make an informed decision as citizens with a vote.

If we are kept ignorant then how can we make the informed decisions our system of governance depends upon to function?

scifibum

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2016, 12:34:43 AM »
I think purely the expected backlash and opposition videos are sufficient explanation, rather than any sort of knowledge or insight beyond what is publicly known.

I agree, I think they all agreed that it would look bad not to support the bill, and that the reasons to vote against it were beyond the public's ability/willingness to understand.  Reid didn't care because he's out anyway. 

Wayward Son

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2016, 02:25:42 AM »
The bottom line, cherry, is that the law is a bad idea not because it might or might not expose Saudi involvement in 9/11, but because of the repercussions of being able to sue a government.

For one thing, courts do not always come to the correct conclusion about the facts.  Just think of all the court determinations and verdicts that you think are absolutely insane or just plain wrong (e.g. O.J Simpson).  While usually courts are pretty fair, they sometimes aren't.  Which means any particular trial from this law may be completely insane.

Then we have the problem of the U.S. having no jurisdiction over the Saudi government.  We find them at fault, so what?  How are we going to enforce such a decision?

Finally, there is the Saudi reaction to it.  They could take great offense at any such verdict, and retaliate in ways that will hurt the entire nation, such as an oil embargo, or cutting ties with us.  Such national security implications cannot, and should not, be a consideration in a trial, but they are possible results of the verdict.

And if we can sue a foreign government, why can't foreigners sue ours?  Or even our own citizens sue ours?

This law opens up a whole can of worms, which may bite us in the future.  It has Congressmen worried, even though they passed it.  And some of them are such wimps that they won't even take responsibility.

No, exposing Saudi involvement is not the problem with the law.  It's all the ripples that could come from it.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2016, 06:40:01 AM »
I won't argue against all the other elements of the law and the possible negative repercussions. The only one I take exception to is the 9-11 coverup aspect. We deserve to know the truth come what may.

Another part of this is that if we tell the government that we insist that they withhold the truth from us if they think it's in our best interest, where does it stop? It undermines everyone's trust in what our government says and that can have negative consequences that ripple far beyond the scope of just 9-11. For instance, with vaccines. If they do cause some harm and if the government does know about it then shouldn't we be lied to again for our own good? Shouldn't all that negative information also be hidden, for instance in secret vaccine courts in which the cases are sealed by non-disclosure agreements? We see something similar with BLM and their belief that the government routinely covers up crimes by police. A breakdown in trust may be worse than the consequences of revealing the truth.

Fenring

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2016, 08:28:50 AM »
They could take great offense at any such verdict, and retaliate in ways that will hurt the entire nation, such as an oil embargo, or cutting ties with us.

Oh, you needn't worry about that result. If such happened, right after that it would 'coincidentally' be 'discovered' that the Saudis have been backing ISIS, and regime change in Saudi Arabia would follow. They have contingencies for these kinds of events.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2016, 09:40:47 AM »
They could take great offense at any such verdict, and retaliate in ways that will hurt the entire nation, such as an oil embargo, or cutting ties with us.

Oh, you needn't worry about that result. If such happened, right after that it would 'coincidentally' be 'discovered' that the Saudis have been backing ISIS, and regime change in Saudi Arabia would follow. They have contingencies for these kinds of events.
The Saudi family rules the entire country, so there is nobody to challenge them.  If anything, a different faction of the family would increase their Muslim extremism and warlike tendencies rather than become "enlightened".  The reason we have maintained good relations with the rulers is that they see the mutual value in their oil treasure.

Seriati

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2016, 09:54:12 AM »
Couple points:

Not sure that lifting sovereign immunity in this case is unique, it may be, but they did lift Libya's sovereign immunity (at least for a while) in connection with their support of the hijacking of that plane.  There may be other instances as well.  In which case, the idea that this is a unique threat to US troops, or our sovereign immunity generally may be over blown.  Our troop immunity claim is a similar to diplomatic immunity and its predicated on our government actually holding such troops accountable for those crimes, which may or may not happen with diplomats.

I think everyone nailed it on this being non-partisan politics, and still politics at its worst.  It just goes to show how hard it is to present moral courage as a politician when you're faced with a powerful and sympathetic lobby. 

As far as secrecy, there's another legitimate question to ask.  For how long?  The idea under our government is supposed to be that pressing issues get secrecy for a limited time.  Our government is definitely abusing this, they make things "secret" for which there is no legitimate need to do so, even when it's not a secret they deliberately delay and undermine freedom of information act claims (there never should have been a need for such an act in the first place, as by definition its only able to get the non-secret items), and they definitely seek to over extend the time period they keep things secret.  There is nothing we knew before September 11 that isn't 15 years stale.  There is no legitimate reason that it should not be revealed at this point.  The laws are not there to permanently prevent disclosure.

And for those discussing whether the "Saudi Government" knew something versus members of the Saud family, honestly you have to be kidding.  This is a straight up Oligarchy, they may not know what everyone is doing all the time, but they are easily capable of finding out what someone did at a specific time.  While it's legit for them to protect themselves and their own family members, its not legit for our government to help them cover up their crimes to the detriment of our citizens.  We don't accept the idea that an aristocracy is composed of special people.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2016, 10:28:07 AM »
Quote
There is nothing we knew before September 11 that isn't 15 years stale.  There is no legitimate reason that it should not be revealed at this point.  The laws are not there to permanently prevent disclosure.
It's not "stale" if the people in Saudi Arabia who may have been culpable are still in power or protected by the Saudi family.  It's also not "stale" if we aided and abetted the Saudi's avoiding public disclosure or if we helped members of the Saudi family slip out of the country before they could be questioned.  Bush or others in his Administration could be liable for criminal investigation if we knew all of the machinations they engaged in.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2016, 10:37:53 AM »
Here's another secret.  Are you sure you really want to know?
Quote
U.S. paid P.R. firm $540 million to make fake al-Qaida videos in Iraq propaganda program

Bell Pottinger, a London-based P.R. firm, created fake videos that appeared to be the work of al-Qaida, the Islamist extremist group formerly headed by Osama bin Laden. It also created news stories that looked as though they were produced by Arab media outlets, and distributed them through Middle Eastern news networks.

The company worked in Camp Victory, the U.S. military base in Baghdad, side-by-side with high-ranking U.S. military officers.

The propaganda videos were personally approved by Gen. David Petraeus — then the commander of U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq, who would go on to become the director of the CIA. On some occasions, even the White House signed off on the propaganda materials.

Seriati

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2016, 10:42:14 AM »
Quote
There is nothing we knew before September 11 that isn't 15 years stale.  There is no legitimate reason that it should not be revealed at this point.  The laws are not there to permanently prevent disclosure.
It's not "stale" if the people in Saudi Arabia who may have been culpable are still in power or protected by the Saudi family.  It's also not "stale" if we aided and abetted the Saudi's avoiding public disclosure or if we helped members of the Saudi family slip out of the country before they could be questioned.  Bush or others in his Administration could be liable for criminal investigation if we knew all of the machinations they engaged in.

It is stale, 15 years and almost one month if we knew it before September 11th.  If it happened in the six weeks after, there are still 3 weeks to go before its 15 years stale.  The fact that it's about people who are still alive doesn't change that, our laws are not intended to protect someone for their life plus a period of time.

Honestly, if anything you said actually occurred, we should be told about it now and the reasons exposed.  Some of that could have been criminal at the time, in which it never should have been protected or done in the first place.  Not really sure where you're going with that if you think it shouldn't be revealed.  Our government is NOT supposed to keep secrets for secrets sake.

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2016, 10:49:45 AM »
I'm all for letting the daylight in.  But I'm an isolationist...  If you aren't, it's a good idea to keep a lid on things like this.  'Diplomacy' is hard enough work already when the people don't know and therefor don't have to agree what we should let slide to protect our other interests.  The larger the group, the less pragmatic they tend to be.  An angry mob wants retribution not blood money or concessions down the road. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2016, 10:56:31 AM »
It is stale, 15 years and almost one month if we knew it before September 11th.  If it happened in the six weeks after, there are still 3 weeks to go before its 15 years stale.  The fact that it's about people who are still alive doesn't change that, our laws are not intended to protect someone for their life plus a period of time.

Honestly, if anything you said actually occurred, we should be told about it now and the reasons exposed.  Some of that could have been criminal at the time, in which it never should have been protected or done in the first place.  Not really sure where you're going with that if you think it shouldn't be revealed.  Our government is NOT supposed to keep secrets for secrets sake.
Are you referring to a specific standard when you say "15 years stale?" I, and I think AI Wessex, figure that it's not stale until the people involved are dead because official recognition of their complicity would result in a fairly messy diplomatic situation. If they were legitimately kept secret 15 years ago, it is probably legitimate from them to remain secret. The underlying reasons haven't changed and nor have the consequences from revealing them.

Seriati

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2016, 11:12:42 AM »
You make shiver when you say things like that NobleHunter.  The "specific definition" of stale I'm using should be obvious, information that we've had for 15 years is stale.  I understand there could still be consequences to its release, but we live in a free society and one that specifically believes in public disclosure and prosecution of crimes.  It's not legitimate to cover up a crime at all, and the national interest on secrecy is tied to the immediacy of information.  The idea that we could declare say a Saudi involvement in 9/11 a state secret and not disclose it indefinitely is not consistent with the powers we gave our government.  Monarchies, autocracies, communists, nationalists, sure.  But a government of the people, by people and for the people, has a pressing need to keep those people informed that outweighs political discomfort.

D.W.

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2016, 11:32:04 AM »
representative democracy

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2016, 11:55:24 AM »
You make shiver when you say things like that NobleHunter.  The "specific definition" of stale I'm using should be obvious, information that we've had for 15 years is stale.  I understand there could still be consequences to its release, but we live in a free society and one that specifically believes in public disclosure and prosecution of crimes.  It's not legitimate to cover up a crime at all, and the national interest on secrecy is tied to the immediacy of information.  The idea that we could declare say a Saudi involvement in 9/11 a state secret and not disclose it indefinitely is not consistent with the powers we gave our government.  Monarchies, autocracies, communists, nationalists, sure.  But a government of the people, by people and for the people, has a pressing need to keep those people informed that outweighs political discomfort.
I was asking because there might have been a established rule to declassify information after 15 years.

No, 15 years isn't necessarily long enough for information to become stale. As I said, if it was withheld for good reasons 15 years ago not enough time has passed for those reasons to be invalid.

Seriati

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2016, 01:09:27 PM »
In the US, my understanding is that classification and release is in the control of the executive branch, you can read Obama's version of the executive order for yourself (every President has one).  There's lots of factors involved, but classification and declassification is supposed to be based, "on the duration of the national security sensitivity of the information."  National security, not diplomatic convenience, which is my point about the abuse and overclassification we've been seeing.

In any event, things are supposed to declassify after 10 years, unless there's a reason to hold them longer, in which case its 25 years, unless there's a special reason to hold them longer, in which case its 75 years unless there's a special order to hold them longer.  You get the idea.  It's incredibly hard to see a national security issue connected with classifying who is behind Sept 11, unless you think knowing the Saudi's funded it would somehow put us at risk of attack?

Note I'm not arguing that diplomatically it's not a good idea to have secrets, or that it won't have consequences if we disclose things, only that it also has consequences if we don't disclose things that are in my view generally worse.

Fenring

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2016, 01:41:25 PM »
National security, not diplomatic convenience, which is my point about the abuse and overclassification we've been seeing.

I'll add to this, that protecting individual actors is likewise not a legitimate reason to hide information. Protecting the country as a whole is one thing, but protecting VIP's in my opinion doesn't justify withholding things from the people.

DJQuag

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2016, 01:47:16 PM »
I'm with Seriati on this one. If the Saudis and/or their government were involved,  then there was no legitimate reason to cover that up fifteen years ago, never mind today.

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2016, 01:55:19 PM »
I'd saying making an unholy diplomatic mess is sufficient reason to hold on to it for at least another decade. National security comes into by way of potentially destabilizing a ally *spits* in a region that likes to export its conflicts to win brownie points at home.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2016, 02:58:34 PM »
If elements of the Saudi government participated in the attack on 9-11 it seems like there are three distinct possibilities. One is that the Saudi government as a whole punished them, two is that they weren't punished but weren't rewarded either, and option three is they were promoted and are still in high power.

And people really think that's something we don't need to know about?

If it's option three and our own government has been covering it up all this time and so acting in conspiracy with our enemies, there is a strong argument for that being treason, and treason in a time of war too.

Is the fear that Trump may reveal the truth to the American people what is meant in part by him being a danger to world order? Does it also help to explain why the Bush's would rather vote for Hillary Clinton?

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2016, 04:57:16 PM »
What would be gained by making a public acknowledgement of the guilt of specific individuals? We already know the Saudis are generally implicated. If they're prominent enough to be worth hiding, they're also prominent enough that attempts to extradite them will have unfortunate consequences. I'm pretty sure one or another party will end up being humiliated. It's not hard to envision the fall out bringing down the Saudi government, and there isn't anything to replace it.

So, what cost are you willing to pay in order to know these things?

cherrypoptart

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2016, 05:50:21 PM »

If Saudi government officials helped set up 9-11 and we let them get away with it then what is to stop them from supporting other acts of terrorism? Have they done so? How many times? How many more deaths by terrorism have they orchestrated? Are they still supporting al Qaeda? Are they supporting ISIS?

Depending on the answers to those questions, we have a lot to gain by stopping them and a lot more to lose by letting them continue to get away with their crimes including crimes against humanity like 9-11 and the genocides taking place in the Middle-East and Africa.


AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2016, 09:23:43 PM »

If Saudi government officials helped set up 9-11 and we let them get away with it then what is to stop them from supporting other acts of terrorism? Have they done so? How many times? How many more deaths by terrorism have they orchestrated? Are they still supporting al Qaeda? Are they supporting ISIS?

Depending on the answers to those questions, we have a lot to gain by stopping them and a lot more to lose by letting them continue to get away with their crimes including crimes against humanity like 9-11 and the genocides taking place in the Middle-East and Africa.
Your first questions are unanswerable, and we can't speculate on Saudi motives without also speculating on the motives of many other nations, including others in the region and Russia.  It doesn't really add any light to the discussion to frame a hypothetical as if it represents a real-world situation.  I would say that your questions are based on a potentially real circumstance that happened 15 years ago, but you then add a lot of speculation that has no grounding at all.  It is like being afraid of the dark and blaming the dark in advance for possible harm that may (or may not) come.

AI Wessex

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2016, 09:48:21 AM »
Quote
Depending on the answers to those questions, we have a lot to gain by stopping them and a lot more to lose by letting them continue to get away with their crimes including crimes against humanity like 9-11 and the genocides taking place in the Middle-East and Africa.
So, this is a completely different question than asking how they may have been involved in 9/11, hence my comment about blaming the dark for unforeseen events in the future. 

But since what SA may have done and what they may yet do is your concern, let me ask you what you would do with any knowledge you gained about their involvement?  Fear and anxiety are not policy or planning positions, so how would you address the darkness you can't see?

NobleHunter

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Re: Is the US Congress populated by elementary school children?
« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2016, 10:36:28 AM »

If Saudi government officials helped set up 9-11 and we let them get away with it then what is to stop them from supporting other acts of terrorism? Have they done so? How many times? How many more deaths by terrorism have they orchestrated? Are they still supporting al Qaeda? Are they supporting ISIS?

Depending on the answers to those questions, we have a lot to gain by stopping them and a lot more to lose by letting them continue to get away with their crimes including crimes against humanity like 9-11 and the genocides taking place in the Middle-East and Africa.
So what should be or should have been done? Insist the Saudis hand these people over and invade if they refuse? What makes you think direct, public pressure would be any more effective than more covert forms of influence?