Tag Archives: President Bush

Yes, where WAS the media while the US used torture?

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The most ironic thing about this entire torture scandal isn’t that the Bushies and their neo-con lackies are trying to defend the indefensible – which is funny and sad at the same time, but that our mainstream press is now doing their job and asking tough questions and not letting the Bushies off as easy as before. I mean it looks really bad to know they ignored the topic since 2001 when it first came out.

I’m with blogger wmtriallawyer who wrote:

Oh yes, outside of the loons of Hannity, et. al., now many in the mainstream media are showing their absolute indignation (HARUMPH! HARUMPH!) after the Obama administration released the memos to show what we all already knew: the United States of America tortured prisoners, and tried to cook up legal justification for it by calling it enhanced interrogation techniques.

Well, welcome to the club Shep and Norah and whoever else. But you are seven years too late in your outrage.

Where were you this was actually going on? Where were you when the evidence was seeping out? Shoot, where were you when the Bush administration basically admitted they were doing it?

Silent as lambs, you were.

Media Starts Doing Job 7 Years Too Late

So, while I am happy this issue is being treated how it should be – as illegal and un-American – I want to know where the media was seven years ago?

Obama has no right to decide if torture memos should be investigated or prosecuted

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On Thursday, the White House and Department of Justice released four more memos written by President Bush’s Department of Justice rationalizing the use of torture toward detainees caught during our “war on terror”. President Obama said in his comments on the release said “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” However, due to current Federal and international law, the President and Department of Justice have no choice but to investigate and prosecute anyone who allowed the torture or performed it.

Nothing disgusted me more than learning about the torture condoned by the Bush administration and then reading the memos that have been released by the DOJ showing the bizarre lengths the neo-cons in the Bush DOJ went to justify the “legality” of the torture.

I was extremely disappointed to learn that President Obama doesn’t want to investigate and prosecute those who wrote the memos, ordered their writing, or the people who carried them out.

This isn’t like what happened to President Nixon after he left office. Nixon’s crimes were more of a political nature and the “little guys” who carried out his illegal plans did face justice.

The memos released Thursday dealt with torture – which is a war crime and crime against humanity. The penalty for crimes against humanity can be death or life in prison. The memos show that all levels of the Bush administration knew about the torture and allowed it to happen. One of the men who wrote one of the memos is now a Federal District Court Judge and there are calls now to impeach him.

The Huffington Post had a good article summarizing the issue:

Manfred Nowak, the UN rapporteur on torture, says that the US must try those who used harsh interrogation tactics in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture.

Calling for an independent investigations and the compensation of victims, Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard:

“The United States, like all other states that are part of the UN convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court… The fact that you carried out an order doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility.”

Opposition Grows To Obama’s Decision Not To Prosecute CIA Agents

Some former Bush administration have made the laughable argument that release of the memos reveals secrets to “our enemies” and has some how made us all “less safe”. The fact is we have known these methods have been used for some time – “our enemies” knew it too and used it for recruiting purposes.

The other point is torture isn’t just immoral, it’s also ineffective and counterproductive as written by a former interrogation officer Matthew Alexander in an op-ed in the Washington Post and his book on the subject:

I refused to participate in such practices, and a month later, I extended that prohibition to the team of interrogators I was assigned to lead. I taught the members of my unit a new methodology — one based on building rapport with suspects, showing cultural understanding and using good old-fashioned brainpower to tease out information. I personally conducted more than 300 interrogations, and I supervised more than 1,000. The methods my team used are not classified (they’re listed in the unclassified Field Manual), but the way we used them was, I like to think, unique. We got to know our enemies, we learned to negotiate with them, and we adapted criminal investigative techniques to our work (something that the Field Manual permits, under the concept of “ruses and trickery”). It worked. Our efforts started a chain of successes that ultimately led to Zarqawi.

I’m Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq

There is also an online petition that asks the President to appoint a special prosecutor:

No Amnesty for Torturers

Teabaggers can’t handle the truth

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The best part of this past week’s Tea Bag protest sponsored by Fox News happened in Pensacola Florida when a person who agreed to speak told the crowd the truth. That those making less than $250,000 will be taxed less and the blame for the economic crisis we face lies squarely on the Republican party and the Bush administration.

Sinfonian, a blogger at Blast Off!!! blog, has the details:

Seriously — I didn’t realize there would be an opportunity to speak, but they were practically begging folks to come up and say a few words … and I was right there…

I enjoyed the part when I asked, “How many here make less than $250,000 a year?” and there’s a big cheer … then it goes quiet again when I tell them they’ll pay less in taxes under the Obama plan. That’s about when the murmuring started …

My favorite part, though, is as I continue to gripe about the years from 2000 to 2008 (yeah, it’s ’01 to ’09, but you have to “speak to your audience,” y’know), and then I hit them with “place the blame where it belongs: squarely on the Republican Party and the Bush administration,” they pretty much lost their shit at that point. That was fun.

DFH blogger speaks at Pensacola Tea Party … and lives to tell the tale

Here’s the video of the event:

Now we know why the Republican party requires you to sign a loyalty oath before being allowed to attend one of their events. How else to you suppress the truth?

My only other comment about the events on the 15th is that it made me sad to see so many ignorant racist people involved with the protest. I know it will take time to reverse the Alfred E Bush dumbass effect from the past 8 years but it still makes our country look bad.

*Update 4/18/09*

Actually I had planned not to make any more comments about the Fox News Teabag movement until I came across a great point by writer Matt Taibbi:

In other words teabaggers don’t mind paying taxes to fund the salaries of Bolivian miners, Lou Gerstner’s stock options, deliveries of “sailboat fuel,” the Hermes scarves on Sandy Weill’s jet pillows, or even the export of their own goddamn jobs. But they do hate it when someone tries to re-asphalt their roads, or help bail their slob neighbor out of foreclosure. And God forbid someone propose a health care program, or increased financial aid for college. Hell, that’s like offering to share your turkey with the other Pilgrims! That’s not what America is all about! America is every Pilgrim for himself, dammit! Raise your own motherfucking turkey!

Oh, and there’s one other thing. I heard today from Steve Wamhoff of Citizens for Tax Justice. He had an interesting tidbit to offer on the teabagging movement. According to his research, 39% of respondents with incomes below $30,000 told the Gallup agency that they felt that federal income tax levels were “too high.” Which is interesting, because only 32% of respondents in that income category will pay any federal income taxes at all on their 2008 income. You can draw your own conclusions.

The really irritating thing about these morons is that, guaranteed, not one of them has ever taken a serious look at the federal budget. Not one has ever bothered to read an actual detailed study of what their taxes pay for. All they do is listen to one-liners doled out by tawdry Murdoch-hired mouthpieces like Michelle Malkin and then repeat them as if they’re their own opinions five seconds later. That’s what passes for political thought in this country. Teabag on, you fools.

Teabagging Michelle Malkin

I agree with Taibbi. Everyone at those Teabag parties are absolute morons…..

President Obama wants to continue warrantless wiretaps

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In a court brief, the Justice Department called for the dismissal of a lawsuit over the wiretaps that were not only illegal but may not have even gained any unusable intelligence. This is not change I was looking for when I voted for Obama. Pundit Keith Olbermann and others on the progressive side have called the President out on this stupid action to continue President Bush’s stupid policy. In fact it seems the Obama administration wants to go further. This is disappointing.

Glenn Greenwald on Salon.com noted:

But late Friday afternoon, the Obama DOJ filed the government’s first response to EFF’s lawsuit, the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush’s NSA program. But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the “state secrets” privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new “sovereign immunity” claim of breathtaking scope — never before advanced even by the Bush administration — that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is “willful disclosure” of the illegally intercepted communications.

In other words, beyond even the outrageously broad “state secrets” privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and — even if what they’re doing is blatantly illegal and they know it’s illegal — you are barred from suing them unless they “willfully disclose” to the public what they have learned.

New and worse secrecy and immunity claims from the Obama DOJ

Blogger TocqueDeville has a diary over on DailyKos with video of comments from Keith Olbermann on his show Countdown on Tuesday night. TocqueDeville also notes:

I never thought I would see it, but this move led Keith Olbermann to excoriate Obama on television. You may remember that, after Obama’s complete flip flop on FISA, Olbermann, who had previously likened the proposed FISA law immunizing the telecoms to “the bureaucrats of the Third Reich”, softened his tone dramatically to accommodate the then Democratic candidate for president.

There were no such accommodations tonight

Olbermann Smacks Down Obama’s Loss of Credibility

This is pretty much like seeing your favorite hero acting like an ass in public. It hurts a bit.

The Obama administration has some explaining to do on this issue but I have my doubts it ever will.

Republican Treason?

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How come when people on the left side of the aisle even questioned Bush policies the Republicans and their pundit class complained it was treason – with full coverage from the media, yet when certain Republicans and their pundit class are calling for the overthrow of the government – the media class is very silent?

Who is really treasonous?