Short answer: well see. There is no valid, reasonable excuse-- none whatsoever-- for not holding perps accountable for breaking the laws regarding torture. If Obama wants to pardon them, that's his prerogative but these people must stand trial-- especially the ones who gave the orders and the ones who gave flimsy legalistic cover to the torturers. Rahm Emanuel has certainly shown himself to be one of the sleaziest and most disreputable operators in our political system. Not even a Newt Gingrich or Tom DeLay is worse. For him to go on TV and come down as squarely opposed to prosecuting even the order givers should make any decent person even more sure that those who participated in this kind of behavior must be brought before the bar of Justice.
Saturday we looked at this sordid mess and passed along the editorial suggestion of the NY Times that the first action should be the immediate impeachment of Jay Bybee, the disgraceful Mormon right wing fanatic (and vicious homophobe) Bush appointed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday I was delighted, though not surprised, to read a statement by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, explaining why Bybee should be impeached.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the largest in the country and the Senate should have resisted his appointment with more vigor. After the nomination was turned down-- or at least not acted on-- Bush resubmitted it in 2003. All twelve Republican rubber stamps on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor and were joined by 2 Democratic lapdogs. (Six Democrats voted against confirming this dangerous extremist.) Less than a week later it went to the full Senate and was approved 74-19. The 19 Democrats who stood up against tyranny on that day were
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
It shouldn't surprise you that the Democrats who are currently members of Evan Bayh's anti-Obama bloc were delighted to skip across the aisle and vote for this murderous piece of human detritus, joining every single Republican. The Bayh Bloc's hall of shame members from March 13, 2003: Evan Bayh (IN), Tom Carper (DE), Herb Kohl (WI), Mary Landrieu (LA), Blanche Lincoln (AR), both Nelsons (FL & NE), and Mark Pryor (AR).
A couple of other Democrats' names who voted to confirm Bybee that I want to mention-- for those who like keeping names in their memories: Max Baucus (MT), Tom Daschle (SD), Chris Dodd (CT), Pat Leahy (VT), Harry Reid (NV), Jay Rockefeller (WV) and Chuck Schumer (NY).
Before his colleagues voted to confirm this war criminal as a federal judge, Russ Feingold made a speech opposing Bybee's elevation. He found Bybee's unwillingness to answer questions disturbing enough to vote against the nomination.
On more than 20 occasions, Mr. Bybee refused to answer a question, claiming over and over again that as an attorney in the Department of Justice he could not comment on any advice that he gave at any time. This is unfortunately becoming a very familiar refrain of nominees before the Judiciary Committee.
...There is an extensive body of legal work both written by or at least signed off on by this nominee, in this case unpublished Office of Legal Counsel opinions. The administration and the nominee are acting as if they are irrelevant to the confirmation process. A nominee cannot simply claim that he or she will follow Supreme Court precedent and ask us to take that assurance on faith, when there are written records that may help us evaluate that pledge, but the nominee refuses to make those records available.
Only three OLC opinions had been made publicly available since Mr. Bybee's confirmation to head that office. That is extraordinary, given that 1,187 OLC opinions dating back to 1996 are publicly available. This is a dramatic change in the Department's practice, a change that did not occur until this nominee was confirmed to be Assistant Attorney General for the office. While there may be some justification for releasing fewer opinions since 9/11, the wholesale refusal to share with the public and Congress important OLC decisions affecting a wide range of legal matters is, to say the least, troublesome.
But the failure to make OLC opinions available to the Judiciary Committee during the consideration of a nominee for a seat on a circuit court is unacceptable... The administration should be able to agree to an acceptable procedure to allow the Judiciary Committee to review Mr. Bybee's OLC opinions. Given the recent history of many OLC opinions being made public, it is hard to believe that there are no opinions authored by Mr. Bybee that could be disclosed without damaging the deliberative process. Indeed, it is very hard to give credence to the idea that OLC's independence would be compromised by the release of some selection of the opinions of interest to members of the Judiciary Committee or the Senate.
?While I applaud the Obama administration for releasing these torture memos in the spirit of openness and transparency, the memos' alarming content requires further action. These memos, without a shadow of a doubt, authorized torture and gave explicit instruction on how to carry it out, all the while carefully attempting to maintain a legal fig leaf.
?These memos make it abundantly clear that the Bush administration engaged in torture. Because torture is illegal under American law-- as the U.S. is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture-- we are legally required to investigate and, when appropriate, to prosecute those responsible for these crimes.
?I commend President Obama for his unequivocal rejection of torture and for his resolve to move forward. The President's intentions are honorable, but don't go far enough. All history teaches us that simply shining a light on criminal acts without holding the responsible people accountable will not prevent repetition of those acts.
?I have previously urged Attorneys General Gonzalez and Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the torture abuses of the Bush administration, and now I will convey that same necessity to President Obama and Attorney General Holder. We sorely need an independent investigation that will provide accountability for these terrible crimes. This investigation should not be a witch-hunt to punish those rank-and-file C.I.A. operatives who acted in good faith on Justice Department instructions. At the very least, those who wrote and authorized the memos knowing full well that they were instructing others to torture must be held accountable to the law.
?We must have a criminal investigation if the U.S. is to reclaim its moral authority and prevent repetition of these crimes.
?As Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights said yesterday, ?Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed. If we are truly a nation of laws... a prosecutor needs to be appointed and the decisions regarding the guilt of those involved in the torture program should be decided in a court of law.?
?Furthermore, the revelations contained in these memos make it abundantly clear that we need additional Congressional oversight hearings on this matter. We intend to hold such hearings.
?Finally, I particularly want to thank the American Civil Liberties Union for their role in bringing these memos to light and for their vigilant efforts to ensure that the United States government does not engage in torture.?
And while Mr. Obama vowed not to prosecute C.I.A. officers for acting on legal advice, on Monday aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques.
In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly criticized President Obama for shaking hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez while smiling during the Summit of the Americas on April 17. For example, on the April 17 edition of On the Record, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich asked of the handshake, "[W]hat signal does it send to other dictators?" adding that "it sends a very sad signal about human rights around the world." But a Media Matters for America search* of the[...]
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As Lucas wrote on Saturday, it is outrageous that the author of a 2002 memo authorizing torture is currently sitting in a lifetime appointment on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The good news is that there is a remedy: the US congress[...]
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Al Gore is returning to the Hill on Friday to testify about climate change before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He will be testifying alongside former Senator John Warner in a hearing entitled "Bipartisan Leaders' Views on the ACES Legislation." ACES is the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, legislation including cap-and-trade provisions as well as renewable energy standards and new "smart grid" technology. Don't look now, but it sure seems like Obama intends to get something done here.
A party switch in Florida A lifelong republican, Jim Picillo, is going to run as a Democrat to challenge four-term congresswoman Ginny Brown-White in the republican-leaning district. Piccillo said that he was increasingly put off by the tone the republicans struck during the presidential campaign, and he reached his limit when, during the republican convention, Giuliani mocked Barack Obama's background as a community organizer, and the crowd laughed and jeered. "When you are openly mocking someone who spent part of their life helping people who were low-income, who had health problems because of asbestos and mold in their homes, that's not something to be mocked." He concluded that the GOP was no longer a comfortable place for him, and he started volunteering for Obama's campaign. A few months ago he was a passive republican, but his support for Obama came to the attention of the New York Times, and he was featured in one of their pre-election pieces about republicans who were supporting Obama, and now he is not merely an active Democrat, but he is challenging his republican representative for her seat. His involvement in the campaign lit a spark for Piccillo, who said he never wanted to be a politician, but now wants to be a public servant. "The difference" says Piccillo, "is politicians look forward to the next election. Public servants look toward the next generation." Welcome home, Mr. Piccillo, and good luck in your race!
Minnesota charity returns 'dirty money' to Bachmann Michele Bachman's campaign made a $9200 contribution to Minnesota Teen Challenge last October, in an effort to distance itself from tainted contributions from an indicted source - but the charity returned the tainted money, rather than letting her buy indulgences with it. Rich Scherber, the executive director of Minnesota Teen Challenge was forthright when asked about it. "We didn't want to be involved if it was dirty money."
Brush with greatness! It rocked out loud to see Marcy Wheeler get her props in the New York Times today after she scooped everyone by being the person to find the smoking gun that revealed KSM had been water boarded 183 times in one month. Why did I make the lede here Brush with greatness, you ask? Because Marcy sees fit to blogroll this humble little stop on the information superhighway.
Kevin, next times we're in Austin we have to go to lunch at this place! Last year during Netroots Nation, we went to Lockhart and had barbecue at Smitty's. (I wunt that impressed, bein' from KC and waking up every morning to the smell of hickory and beef from Gate's one short block away.) While KC may whup Tejas' ass in the bbq department, we don't have anyplace serving Kangaroo and specializing in wild game...
You know, I look forward, too But as I do, I make sure to remember the timeless truism that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. And I know that Ford pardoning Nixon led directly to Iran-Contra and arms for hostages and fomenting 'revolutions' in Central America and, yes, the current mess. And if these bastards are not held accountable, the future I see when I look forward is a bleak one in which the executive branch does anything it damn well pleases, with impunity. In other words, I see a nation of men and not of laws. And that ain't what I signed up for.
The party that gave us Bybee and Yoo at OLC and therefore the legal petticoats to hide under and commit torture most cruel, is the same party that now finds Dawn Johnsen so objectionable as to threaten to filibuster her nomination.
Nuremberg was an international tribunal Keep telling yourself that. I would love it if we would hold the war criminals and thugs who tortured other human beings accountable here at home. Fat fucking chance. Accountability is soooo archaic, you see. (Chickenshits.) But the rest of the world isn't playing along, and the United Nations isn't giving anyone a pass, no matter how low on the food chain they were.
Beyond audacious Now that the torture memos have been released and we know just exactly what kind of monsters we had running our government, Cheney is insisting that there are memos that 'prove' torture 'kept us safe' because we weren't attacked. So I guess we are supposed to believe that because people we were torturing made shit up to get the torture to stop, and then that bad shit didn't happen, and voila! Proof! Proof I tell you! Torture worked! Medals of Freedom all around! And the guy who water boarded KSM 183 times? He better take two, cuz they're kinda small.
Coleman files his appeal to the MN Supreme Court At this point it isn't about him regaining the seat - it's about keeping a Democrat, specifically Al Franken - out of the seat. And the people of Minnesota who failed to reelect him? They can go to hell, apparently. Since they didn't want him, the state can just do without their second proscribed representation in the Senate. What an incredible sore-loser asshole he is.
The sense of entitlement that these worthless slugs have is sickening I don't think I'm just kidding any more. I really do want to be allowed to legally hunt these jackals for sport.
Congratulations to the New York Times for winning five - count 'em - five - Pulitzer Prizes. It was the second-highest number of Pulitzer's the paper has ever won (In 2002 the Times won seven). Since 1917, when they were first awarded, the Times has earned 101 of the highly prized and much-coveted awards for excellence in journalism. David Barstow's earth shattering investigation that revealed the conflict of interest between the 'military analysts' who sold the war and the companies.
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This evening's Rescue Rangers are YatPundit, HansScholl, jlms qkw, dopper0189, shayera, and dadanation with jennyjem as editor.
Please enjoy tonight's Ranger-Approved selections, and leave a rec or a comment to show your appreciation.
jotter has a late edition of High Impact Diaries: April 19, 2009. He blames the heat.
brillig has Top Comments - Tag, You're It Edition.
Enjoy and please promote your own favorite diaries in this open thread.
Obama not ruling out legal consequences for the lawyers for provided the legal arguments for torture. That would be BYB -- Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury. [...]
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Despite it all, very few people believe this rally can last. And it’s because there are still…