How stupid are Democrats?

July 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Bush, civil rights, law, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Pretty fucking stupid.

Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Jacksonville, Illinois. Between 1880 and 1901. (Library of Congress)

Even a Fox News legal analyst — former New Jersey district judge Andrew Napolitano — thinks Bush and Cheney should have been indicted for “for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants.” But the Obama administration, not wanting to be seen “politicizing politics,” turned its back on the rule of law, figuring that if a Democratic administration didn’t pursue criminal charges against the Bush, Cheney and other members of their administration, somehow Republicans would feel constrained from attempting to impeach another Democratic president for lying about getting his cock sucked, or some other manufactured hysteria.

Darrell Issa is making plans now to “investigate” the “corrupt” Obama administration.

What have Democrats accomplished by not doing the right thing and criminally indicting Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity? Nothing, except to prove again that nice guys finish last. As an added bonus, they license future Republicans administrations to pick up where Bush/Cheney left off.

Did no one learn anything from the ill-conceived pardoning of Richard Nixon?

This is perhaps the most egregious example of Democrats making a huge concession in exchange for bupkis, but as we have seen with health care and financial reform, it’s the way this administration rolls.

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Waterboarding: Not As Much Fun As It Sounds

May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Posted in torture | Leave a comment
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Who was authorizing waterboarding in 2002, before the Justice Department memos were written?

(NPR) One source with knowledge of Zubaydah’s interrogations agreed to describe the legal guidance process, on the condition of anonymity.

The source says nearly every day, Mitchell would sit at his computer and write a top-secret cable to the CIA’s counterterrorism center. Each day, Mitchell would request permission to use enhanced interrogation techniques on Zubaydah. The source says the CIA would then forward the request to the White House, where White House counsel Alberto Gonzales would sign off on the technique. That would provide the administration’s legal blessing for Mitchell to increase the pressure on Zubaydah in the next interrogation.

Am I missing something?

May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Print shows a mob pouring tea into the mouth of a Loyalist who has been tarred and feathered. Behind the group, on the right, is the Liberty Tree from which hangs a noose and a sign Stamp Act written upside down; on the left, revolutionaries on a ship pouring crates of tea into the water.  Copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774, published Boston : Pendleton, 1830

Print shows a mob pouring tea into the mouth of a Loyalist who has been tarred and feathered. Behind the group, on the right, is the "Liberty Tree" from which hangs a noose and a sign "Stamp Act" written upside down; on the left, revolutionaries on a ship pouring crates of tea into the water. Copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774, published Boston : Pendleton, 1830

Why has the last week of “news” been taken up with the burning question of what Nancy Pelosi knew about the Bush torture program?

Isn’t the real question, what did George W. Bush know about his torture program?

America’s Opportunity

April 25, 2009 at 9:22 am | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Naked young women being brutally tortured by Spanish Inquisition.  Photogravure after Jose Brito, copyrighted by G. Barrie & Son, c. 1901.

Naked young women being brutally tortured by Spanish Inquisition. Photogravure after Jose Brito, copyrighted by G. Barrie & Son, c. 1901.

As things currently stand, there will be no investigation or prosecution of crimes committed by the United States Government over the past eight years. That there are any Americans who do not consider this outrageous is hard for me to understand.

Paul Krugman had an editorial in Thursday’s New York Times which you should read but I append here Mr. Krugman’s addendum from his blog:

One addendum to today’s column: the truth, which I think everyone in the political/media establishments knows in their hearts, is that the nine months or so between the summer of 2002 and the beginning of the Iraq insurgency were a great national moral test — a test that most people in influential positions failed.

The Bush administration was obviously — yes, obviously — telling tall tales in order to promote the war it wanted: the constant insinuations of an Iraq-9/11 link, the hyping of discredited claims about a nuclear program, etc.. And the question was, should you stand up against that? Not many did — and those who did were treated as if they were crazy.

For me and many others that was a radicalizing experience; I’ll never trust “sensible” opinion again. But for those who stayed “sensible” through the test, it’s a moment they’d like to see forgotten. That, I believe, is the real reason so many want to let torture and everything else go down the memory hole.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

People who spoke against the use of torture, when not “treated as if they were crazy,” were ignored and their statements suppressed and destroyed.

If America does not investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by its own government, the terrorists will have indeed won and there will be nothing left of a once great dream that we are a people of laws and high moral ideals.

Five hundred years later people have not forgotten the Spanish Inquisition. Do Americans want this as their legacy?

Torture Is Not That Hard To Recognize.

April 24, 2009 at 9:42 am | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Torture is a criminal act.

April 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Bush, torture | 2 Comments
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If you’re not willing or able to read the Bush torture memos, at least listen to this song. YOUR GOVERNMENT engaged in this behavior. Your tax money paid the salaries of torturers, those who ordered the torture and those who “legalized” the torture, one of whom is currently a sitting Federal Judge.

If the Obama administration fails to investigate and prosecute these crimes, every member of the administration, including President Obama, will be as culpable as if they had participated directly and America will remain under a moral cloud.

What Are We Defending?

April 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Department of Defense, Economy, torture | Leave a comment
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M-4 tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky.  1942 June.  Alfred T. Palmer, photographer.

M-4 tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky. 1942 June. Alfred T. Palmer, photographer.

(DemocracyNow) A new study, meanwhile, from the National Priorities Project says that more than thirty-seven cents of every income tax dollar goes to military spending. By contrast, environment, energy and science spending projects split 2.8 cents of every tax dollar, while housing, community and food programs split 3.8 cents.

(WaPo) The Obama administration opposes any effort to prosecute those in the Justice Department who drafted legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations at secret CIA prisons, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said yesterday.

What Hilzoy Said.

February 10, 2009 at 12:47 am | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
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Portrait of Mr. Pruitts children II (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

Portrait of Mr. Pruitt's children II (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

This whole thing makes me sick.

I can easily see why we might not want to disclose which other governments we have asked for assistance, especially assistance that involves taking a scalpel to someone’s genitalia. If we asked Morocco for help, Morocco might not take kindly to our turning around and publicizing that fact. And I can see why we might not want to disclose which companies work with the CIA.

But if the government cares about protecting these secrets, it ought to try very hard not to create situations in which disclosing them is the only way to remedy a horrific injustice. It is not OK for the government first to engage in the kind of conduct described above, and then to say that its victims can have no legal recourse, because of national security concerns. And one of the things that’s really shocking about the DoJ position is its apparently complete lack of consideration for the rights of the people who were abducted and sent off to be tortured at our behest.

Sometimes, when you do something really appalling, you lose the right to complain that making things right will harm your interests. I think this is one of those times. The Obama administration apparently disagrees.

So, Obama administration: you screwed this one up in a major, major way. Stop it. Stop it now. Work your hearts out to get the State Secrets Protection Act reintroduced in Congress and passed into law. Try to do right by people like the plaintiffs in this case. Don’t just say: it would be a problem for us to let people we shipped off to be tortured have their day in court. Try to make it right.

You have it in your power to make me proud of my government again. But this is really, really, really not a very good start.

The End of American Torture.

January 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Executive Orders, torture | Leave a comment
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Abu Ghraib prison photo released February 15, 2006 by Australias Special Broadcasting Service TV.

Abu Ghraib prison photo released February 15, 2006 by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service TV.


The full Executive Order is not yet posted at WhiteHouse.gov but when it is, you will find it here.

Executive Order revokes Executive Order 13440 that interpreted Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. It requires that all interrogations of detainees in armed conflict, by any government agency, follow the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines. The Order also prohibits reliance on any Department of Justice or other legal advice concerning interrogation that was issued between September 11, 2001 and January 20, 2009. The Order requires all departments and agencies to provide the ICRC access to detainees in a manner consistent with Department of Defense regulations and practice. It also orders the CIA to close all existing detention facilities and prohibits it from operating detention facilities in the future. Finally, the Order creates a Special Task Force with two missions. The Task Force will conduct a review of the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines to determine whether different or additional guidance is necessary for the CIA. It will also look at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries to be sure that our policies and practices comply with all obligations and are sufficient to ensure that individuals do not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred. This Task Force will be led by the Attorney General with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence as co-Vice Chairs.

h/t Dependable Renegade and Attackerman

Prosecuting Torture.

January 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
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Nuremberg Trials, 1945-1946, Birds-eye view of trial.

Nuremberg Trials, 1945-1946, Bird's-eye view of trial.

Europeans are talking about prosecuting the Bush administration for war crimes.

Barack Obama and his advisors need to recognize that the prosecutions will occur. The only issue now is whether America will face the additional humiliation of having the prosecutions brought by our closest allies because we lack the moral strength and resolve ourselves to do what is necessary.

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