Is time for some plea bargaining rapidly approaching? If members of the military sent memos objecting to torture to the President, and if they were adept enough at bureaucratic gamesmanship to keep copies, will they accept a chance to do some plea bargaining in return for copies of those memos and their testimony against the President or is it likely that they will all decline the offer and display the “take the bullet” attitude to protect a man who apparently bullied them into submission? Sure he was able to make them follow orders they found objectionable then but, now, isn’t it soon going to be time for the former President to learn the truth behind the street wisdom that holds: “Paybacks are hell!”?
April 30, 2009
The Harder They Fall…
What a Hoot: As Keith Olbermann reported Wednesday night, perpetually-insane Minnesota comediatrix Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Daft) brought the funny the other day when she took to the House floor to condemn Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Dems for the ‘Hoot-Smalley Act’ of the Great Depression era. While you can never be sure when dealing with a dingbat like Bachmann, who apparently stole her blank eyeballs from a crazy doll in “Bride of Chucky“, she probably meant the ‘Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act‘ that was sponsored by two Republicans, and signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover in 1930. In reality, FDR campaigned against the act in 1932, and a Dem majority in Congress effectively repealed Smoot-Hawley in 1934 with the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, but in Michele’s loopy-dumb, wish-I-had-a-brain, far-right universe facts are a liberal, commie plot invented by the Devil to trip up those patriotically lying in the name of Jesus. If you’re a sane Republican (okay, that would be confined to ex-McCain manager Steve Schmidt and Sen. Olympia Snowe) you know that Bachmann’s Sixth District is already in the ‘D’ column in 2010 (she nearly lost to an unknown children’s book character named Elwyn Tinklenberg in ’08), and that you must find a legal means to (a) shut this woman up before she further damages what’s left of your party and (b) prevent her from running for president or vice president in 2012. (The vision of a ‘Palin-Bachmann 2012′ ticket privately induces dyspeptic nightmares of an LBJ/Goldwater electoral slaughter among GOP bigwigs.) Of course, it may be too late – the GOP brand is so tainted that if you jettisoned all of the dotty Dittoheads, nattering neocons, tone-deaf teabaggers, putrid Palinites, raging racists, Savage Nation neo-Nazis, fatuous Freepers, flaming fully-automatic gun nuts and kinky religious kooks, you could assemble what’s left of the party in a Washington hotel ballroom with space to spare for a trained elephant act. (For more on this, read the last two items in this article.)
He’s Good Enough, He’s Smart Enough and Doggone It, the People Liked Him! Speaking of Minnesota, the drab electoral Death March of Numb Norm Coleman, the Republican Sore Loser, received a little spark of life thanks to the wily minds in Al Franken’s
April 29, 2009
April 28, 2009
April 27, 2009
Seriously – Jay Bybee, Bush’s former Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, apparently didn’t bother to read the Geneva Convention definitions of torture before giving advice to Bush and Cheney on what constitutes torture? And this guy’s still a federal judge?
“Judge [Jay] Bybee’s résumé tells us that he has four children and is both a Cubmaster for the Boy Scouts and a youth baseball and basketball coach. He currently occupies a tenured seat on the United States Court of Appeals. As an assistant attorney general, he was the author of the Aug. 1, 2002, memo endorsing in lengthy, prurient detail interrogation ‘techniques’ like ‘facial slap (insult slap)’ and ‘insects placed in a confinement box.’
“He proposed using 10 such techniques ‘in some sort of escalating fashion, culminating with the waterboard, though not necessarily ending with this technique.’ Waterboarding, the near-drowning favored by Pol Pot and the Spanish Inquisition, was prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II. But Bybee concluded that it ‘does not, in our view, inflict ‘severe pain or suffering.” ”
– Frank Rich, “The Banality of Bush White House Evil,” NY Times, April 26, 2009.
From the Geneva Convention:
Part II, Section I, Article 13, “General Protection of Prisoners of War”: “Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.” [...]
“Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”
Part III, Section I, Article 17, “Captivity”: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
– From the “Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,” adopted August 12, 1949 and signed by the United States on October 21, 1950. Published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Everything proposed by Bybee and Yoo was illegal under both the Geneva Convention and US torture laws, and they should have known that. So should Bush, Cheney and the others who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Read the exact oaths below:
April 26, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 24, 2009
H/T to Media Matters for the quote.
Also read this at Media Matters:
“Whether or not the federal government should shift education funding to vouchers is a policy disagreement. Nobody is talking about investigating policy disagreements. Torture is a crime. Illegal activity doesn’t become legal simply because the president wants it to happen.”
– Jamison Foser, “Gaps in the Right-Wing’s ‘Banana Republic’ Rhetoric,” Media Matters, April 24, 2009.
April 23, 2009
Two things equal to a third are equal to one another.
Germans who did waterboarding committed a war crime.
Japanese who did waterboarding committed a war crime.
Americans who did waterboarding did not commit a war crime.