Thursday, April 23, 2009

You mean like this, Carlos?

Taking the day off, going to the Bulls game tonight.

Back to torture

So, now it appears that BushCo. Inc. was torturing to get confessions they knew were phony, i.e., the ridiculous to assume even from the beginning "link" between lifelong and hate-spitting mortal enemies, bin Laden and Hussein. That is disgusting to the nth power, shades of the Inquisition and Stalin.

And something tells me Cheney ordered torture in no small part just because he liked it.

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

Anyone notice this little tidbit from Madame Secretary?
I think we cannot underscore [enough] the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by the continuing advances, said Clinton, adding that the nuclear-armed nation could also pose a `mortal threat' to the United States and other countries.
Great. While BushCo. Inc. was off screwing the pooch in Iraq, they nonchalantly looked away and set the stage for nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of radical groups. Nice work there, guys.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Torture Memos: A Question of Justice

Regarding the release of the torture memos: The CRIMINAL Bush regime is putting forward a full-court press -- Dick Cheney (former acting president who has a hard time LETTING GO), Michael Hayden (former NSA chief), and Michael Mukasey (last GWB AG) -- to spread lies, propaganda, and misinformation pounding the false premise that the knowledge imparted of their "enhanced interrogation techniques," a.k.a. TORTURE, makes the U.S. less safe. That is patently FALSE.

First, these TORTURE techniques had already been out there in the public domain and President Obama had already ordered that they are not to be used, therefore the information could be declassified.

Second, the revelation that the 9/11 mastermind was waterboarded 183 times, for an average of 6 times a days every day for 31 days, and another Al Queda suspect 83 times, for a total of 266 waterboarding sessions, raises questions not only about the purported effectiveness of such torture, but debunks any argument that torture is an effective interrogation "technique" in the first place.

Third, there's been some misunderstanding about who can authorize and/or prosecute or investigate these torture incidents. Michael Izikoff of Newsweek noted that his sources close to the President informed him that this authority rests squarely in the Justice Department, and that Attorney General Eric Holder is seriously considering whether or not to open a criminal investigation into the Bush regime's use of torture.

Fourth, Congress has a parallel responsibility, under the separation of powers, as the legislative branch of government to conduct its own investigation and hold hearings on the matter. One issue that is clearly a prerogative of Congress is the impeachment of federal judge Jay Bybee for authoring one of the torture memos when he was Assistant AG in the Bush regime. Among other things, Bybee wrote "waterboarding could not be said to inflict severe suffering." The New York Times has called for Congress to impeach Bybee in a 4/19 editorial:

The investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

See, it worked, right? It worked! It's in the paper!

Don't ask me why (my own personal penance, perhaps?) but I do occasionally listen to right-wing gasbag radio. Today was so SO rich. The king gasbag was going on about the torture thing and Cheney opening his foul yap (WHY isn't he in prison??). He then nearly wet himself over an editorial in the Washington Post about how great the enhanced techniques torture worked.

piece? Why it's by Marc A. Thiessen. I'm sure he is either an expert or at least a disinterested observer. And his evidence? A memo from THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT saying how great torture worked. Wow! Right??

Well, surprisingly, no (we could discuss the 183 episodes of waterboarding if it worked so well, but that is another post for another time. Today's topic is "consider the source." )

First of all, Mr. Thiessen was last gainfully employed as the scribner who put words into THIS mouth:

Alex, may I have "CYA" for $1000?

And of course, the Justice Department in 2005? Who ran that?? The guy on the left who previously wrote the torture memo that the guy on the right wanted.

That's right-wing radio, and the right-wing mindset for you.
Thanks for torturing in MY name.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Well, I learned something today

While taking the boys to the high school, one could not help but be stunned by the sight of every police car in town at the school entrance. I thought perhaps it was a preventative measure on the Columbine anniversary. Honorable Son #1 looked at me like I had an axe in my head. "Dad, it's 4-20," he says. Still dumbfounded, I asked again. "4-20, dad. Google it."

I did, and I had no idea. Learn something new every day!

For those as naive as me, try here.

Quote of the Day: President Obama's Remarks to CIA Employees

"I understand that it’s hard when you are asked to protect the American people against people who have no scruples, and would willingly and gladly kill innocents. Al-Qaida’s not constrained by a constitution. Many of our adversaries are not constrained by a belief in freedom of speech or representation in court or rule of law. But I’m sure that sometimes it seems as if that means we’re operating with one hand tied behind our back, or that those who would argue for a higher standard are naive. I understand that. You know, I watch the cable shows once in a while. What makes the United States special and what makes you special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it’s hard, not just when it’s easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it’s expedient to do so. That’s what makes us different. So yes, you’ve got a harder job and so do I. And that’s OK, because that’s why we can take such extraordinary pride in being Americans. And over the long term, that is why I believe we will defeat our enemies because we’re on the better side of history."

President Obama in remarks to CIA employees -- 4/20/2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hugo Chavez Sells a Book!

The book that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave President Obama at the OAS summit as the cameras rolled, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano (referenced in my post below), IS NOW, get this:

source: CNN news story based on running sales rankings on Amazon)

The 1971 book details centuries of exploitation of Latin America by Europeans and the United States, and has been through multiple reprints, the latest update being in 1978. WOW ... I'd better order my copy now while supplies last and prices are good.

PS - I just placed my order. Better hurry and get yours! :)