THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecrectaryFor Immediate ReleaseApril 21, 2009PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBSJames S. Brady Press Briefing Room2:08 P.M. EDT[snip intro and discussion of Obama trip to Missouri - skip to first substantive[...]
Read The Full Article:
video details and more
I know that this is a few days old, but still deserves to be seen again. Rachel Maddow reports on Judge Bybee's CIA memo that involves torturing a prisoner with insects. It's 1984 all over again. This is sick and it shows how disturbed Dick Cheney and his henchmen at the OLC were and still are.
And this man is one step away from the Supreme Court, where he'd have a nice relationship with Scalia, I'm sure. He needs to be impeached.
Pat Leahy says that Bybee should just resign.
If that's the case, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), told reporters Tuesday, then Bybee should resign. "The fact is, the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee did not tell the truth. If the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee had told the truth, he never would have been confirmed," said Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The decent and honorable thing for him to do would be to resign. And if he is a decent and honorable person, he will resign," he said deliberately.County Fair has a long list of conservative reactions to the release of the torture memos.
Numerous conservative media figures have downplayed, mocked, and jeered the notion that the use on detainees of harsh interrogation techniques authorized by the recently released Justice Department memos constitutes torture.Listed below are further examples of conservative media personalities making light of the idea that such practices constitute torture:
- During the April 16 edition of CNN's No Bias, No Bull, convicted Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy compared the proposed technique of placing a detainee who "appears to have a fear of insects" in "a cramped confinement box with an insect" to his appearance on a game show, stating, "I went through worse on Fear Factor."
- During the April 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Mike Huckabee mocked the same proposed technique, saying: "Look, I've been in some hotels where there were more bugs than these guys faced." Huckabee went on to state that under the Obama administration, "We're going to talk to them, we're going to have a nice conversation, we're going to invite them down for some tea and crumpets." Co-host Gretchen Carlson replied, "That usually works with your kids, too, right? When they're in trouble for something, they just tell you everything." Co-host Steve Doocy then joked, "Mr. Moussaui, it's time for you over in the time-out chair."
- During the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough commented that "if putting a caterpillar in a box will save your child, that's OK." Later, Scarborough stated: "Yeah, you know, millions of people are dead, but I feel good about myself -- we didn't put caterpillars in people's boxes." Scarborough went on to say: "God, I go through torture everyday."
- During the April 17 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh said: "I just slapped myself. I'm torturing myself right now. That's torture according to these people."
- During the April 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Karl Rove equated presidential candidates' campaigning to sleep deprivation of detainees, saying of the CIA: "They authorized up to several hundred hours worth of sleep deprivation. They used it three times for a total of 96 hours. Remember when Bob Dole ran for president, and said that he was going to campaign nonstop for 96 hours? Do you remember when Al Gore was campaigning and said he was going to campaign for two days straight? Both of those men were, according to the left, torturing themselves by engaging in sleep deprivation."
- During the "Panel Plus" segment of the April 19 edition of Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol argued: "I'm not confident that forswearing the use of the techniques is prudent." Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume went on to characterize the technique of throwing detainees against a false wall as "very controlled," while host Chris Wallace called the technique "fairly cautious and careful."
- During the April 20 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade commented that he "feel[s] better" knowing that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was "waterboarded 183 times."
- During the April 20 edition of his show, Limbaugh stated that "if somebody can be water-tortured six times a day, then it isn't torture."
Poor Jane Harman. I feel her pain:Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) raised the possibility today that more members of Congress could have been wiretapped by the NSA or FBI. Defending herself against reports that she was caught on tape offering to intervene in[...]
Read The Full Article:
Life after the White House is always problematic for former occupants. Jimmy Carter devoted himself to hammering up houses for poor people and monitoring elections in faraway places, Reagan retreated into Alzheimer's and Bush 41 started parachuting out of airplanes, but none ever put together a vaudeville act as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are doing.
The two will appear together at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on May 29th to, as a flier for the event promises, ?discuss the challenges facing the world in the 21st century? for 90 minutes that will include audience questions.
How much they are being paid, why they are previewing their routine in Canada and what on earth possessed them to do it in the first place, the flier sayeth not.
For two men who presided during the impeachment of one for lying about sex in the Oval Office and the other for lying the country into an unnecessary war, it might be more seemly to leave 21st century challenges to Barack Obama and go off together and build houses or jump out of planes holding hands, if they crave joint activities.
But the lure of show biz is apparently irresistible. Who's on first, Bill? I don't know, George. No, he's on third...
Read The Full Article:
Because the "gathering storm" can never be mocked enough ...
Coach Kris Hogan
Grapevine Faith Christian High School
Republic of Texas
Dear Coach Hogan,
You've received a great deal of well-deserved acclaim for your decision to urge your football team's fans and parents to cheer for an opposing team composed of juvenile offenders. That was an act of true Christian charity. I'm sure it did a lot to lift those poor young men's spirits.
And as I learned from listening to a French radio show, This American Life, last weekend, your act of charity also gave you an opportunity to proselytize a young woman. Unfortunately, you were unsuccessful. You alienated her with your claim that Hitler was inspired by Charles Darwin [~20:01] .
But there may be something you can salvage out of that failure--an opportunity to prevent the creation of future Hitlers. All you need to do is play one of those science-oriented high schools, like Harmony Science Academy, and instruct your players to beat the Darwin out of them. You know what I mean, go for the little science bastards' knees, tear up a few ACLs and then taunt them in Jesus' name--things like "That commie nazi Darwin ain't going to evolve that ligament, is he," and "Praise Jesus and I'll quit grinding my cleats into you nuts."
Now, that'd be some sure-fire proselytizing.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
Read The Full Article:
The major news item of the day is the arrival of Syrian Prime Minister, Naji al-'Atari, to Baghdad and the talks he held with Iraqi leaders.
Read The Full Article:
Part of smart politics is understanding the audience you're trying to persuade. During election[...]
Read The Full Article:
Yesterday on the Senate floor, Sen. James Inhofe announced that he intended to filibuster Obama's nomination of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Inhofe's announcement comes nearly three weeks after the Republican membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee boycotted Hamilton's hearing claiming that "they had not been given sufficient time to prepare for the hearing." Inhofe's filibuster is surprising given the fact that Hamilton is generally viewed as representing "some of [Indiana's] traditionally moderate strain."
Inhofe does not appear to have explained his decision to filibuster in front of his colleagues on the floor of the Senate. But in statements that he entered into the Congressional Record, Inhofe cited a 2005 ruling in Hinrichs v. Bosman in which Hamilton found that the Indiana House of Representatives may open proceedings with "non-sectarian prayers" only. Inhofe called it "insane" that the ruling would allow payers to invoke the name of "Allah" but not "Jesus":
INHOFE: Further, ruling on a postjudgment motion, Hamilton stated that invoking the name of ?Allah? would not advance a particular religion or disparage another. So, praying to Allah would be perfectly acceptable. [...]
I find this line of reasoning to be insane. Who in this body would not identify the name of "Allah" with the religion of Islam any less than they would identify the name of Jesus with Christianity?
But as Overruled notes, Hamilton's ruling was not particularly novel. Rather, Hamilton was upholding the Supreme Court's ruling in Marsh v. Chambers, which "held that legislatures can open their session with a non-sectarian prayer, and that such a prayer could invoke 'God,'" as long as the prayer was not meant to "proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other, faith or belief."
Hamilton found that "sectarian content of the substantial majority of official prayers took the prayers outside the safe harbor the Supreme Court recognized for inclusive, non-sectarian legislative prayers in Marsh v. Chambers." As Hamilton explained in a post-judgment ruling, "'Allah' is used for 'God' in Arabic" and as such should be permitted:
The Arabic word "Allah" is used for "God" in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures. If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other language?s terms in addressing the God who is the focus of the non-sectarian prayers contemplated in Marsh v. Chambers, the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others.
If and when the prayer practices in the Indiana House of Representatives ever seem to be advancing Islam, an appropriate party can bring the problem to the attention of this or another court.
Additionally, Inhofe's vow to filibuster is surprising given his previous insistence that filibustering judicial nominees is "not only an illegitimate use of a senator's power, but is also literally unconstitutional." As Steve Benen notes, in 2003, "Inhofe went so far as to say any senator who would dare filibuster a judicial nominee would necessarily be violating their oath to 'support and defend the Constitution.'"
Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. She served on the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California. On Monday she wrote:
There is no doubt that sometime in 2002 - if not before - Bush administration officials and their lawyers began orchestrating a torture campaign, which they calculatedly attempted to justify through specious legal memos. They continued to abuse prisoners, and to conceal that mistreatment from Congress and the public, through at least 2008. In all of this conduct, they have committed grave crimes for which they must be held accountable. I believe this to be a national imperative of the highest order. I have pored over every available book and report about torture, disturbing as they are, and I have read the lurid facts and twisted legal reasoning laid out in the Office of Legal Counsel torture memos just released by the White House. I am increasingly outraged by the day, disgusted by years of inaction, and impatient for results. Consequently, I would like nothing more than to join with so many friends and associates whom I respect in calling for immediate appointment of a special prosecutor.
Unfortunately, however, I can't do it. Not yet. We must have a prosecution eventually, but we are not legally required to publicly initiate it now and we should not, as justifiable as it is. I'm not concerned about political fallout. What's good or bad for either party has no legitimate place in this calculus. My sole consideration is litigation strategy: I want us to succeed. And our best hope of doing that is to unflinchingly assess - just as any lawyer would do when contemplating choices of action in a case - what we would have tomorrow if we got what we think we want today. We should obviously think twice about pursuing an intermediate goal, however satisfying it may appear, if it would be counterproductive in the long term. There are times when it's smarter to wait before taking a prosecutive step and this is one of them. ...
What we continue to need, in sum, are unwavering spotlights, even more civic education, and, most importantly, an irrefutable and cohesive factual narrative - comprised of direct and circumstantial evidence - that links the highest-level officials and advisers of the Bush administration, ineluctably, to specific instances and victims of torture. What we will surely have, however, if a special prosecutor is named, will be precisely the opposite: The initiation of a federal grand jury investigation right now would be roughly the equivalent of ceremoniously dumping the entire issue of torture into a black hole. There will be nothing to see and we will be listening intently to radio silence, trying to make sense of intermittent static in the form of the occasional unreliable leak. For years. There may never be any charges and we will almost certainly never have the unimpeachable historical narrative that we need.
Caution and complexity don't sell very well on cable, I know. So you might not hear it there, but we can wait a while for a prosecutor and - if we want to succeed - we should: I don't think any of these guys presents a flight risk and we need to keep this road to accountability well-lit and noisy.
Whether one ultimately agrees or disagrees, she makes a persuasive argument.