Friday, August 31, 2007
Ted "Draft Dodger" Nugent Can Go Fuck Himself. An open letter to Teddy Chickenhawk.
I was suitably impressed by your recent brandishment of a "machine gun" to embellish a few back-handed threats against several Democratic politicians. Damn, we could have used a stud like you in the A Shau back in '70 and '71. God knows, there were times when I looked over my shoulder hoping to see a little outgoing 50 cal, but it's funny, every time I looked, you were never there. Hey, you were probably still busy stateside trying to launder those shit-encrusted jeans you wore down to the draft board.
Trust me, Dude, if crapping your drawers was the intent, based on what I know about you, we could have accomodated you in the first 30 seconds of any of the repeated firefights we engaged in during Operation Lam Son 719 and Operation Texas Star.
I hear you're a big hunter, Teddy. Surely you've heard that man is the ultimate game. Of course, you're probably wired a little differently than I am. You see, Teddy, 35+ years after the fact, I still wake up every now and then haunted by the faces of the two men whom I am certain that I killed. I try not to think about the fact that over my months in the bush there were almost certainly more than two, but these particular NVA grunts were only 50 meters outside our perimeter, and after I lit them up, their comrades were unable to retrieve them. We dragged the bodies in the next morning. I've got no problem with rationalizing that it was me or them, Teddy. But, unlike you and every other chickenhawk drum-pounder I've ever heard of, I refuse to celebrate their deaths.
Now, why don't you piss off and blow up a few more animals on a canned hunt? Maybe that's what you need to get it up with the under-age girls that your own daughters claim you relish. But please remember, you once had a chance to lock and load against someone able to shoot back. You chose to shit yourself instead.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
While the Democratic Congress has yet to begin a serious investigation into what many European legislators already know about American war crimes, a particularly telling report by the International Committee of the Red Cross has been leaked that would surely figure prominently in such a potential Nuremberg trial. The Red Cross itself is bound to public silence concerning the results of its human-rights probes of prisons around the world—or else governments wouldn't let them in.
But The New Yorker's Jane Mayer has sources who have seen accounts of the Red Cross interviews with inmates formerly held in CIA secret prisons. In "The Black Sites" (August 13, The New Yorker), Mayer also reveals the effect on our torturers of what they do—on the orders of the president—to "protect American values."
She quotes a former CIA officer: "When you cross over that line of darkness, it's hard to come back. You lose your soul. You can do your best to justify it, but . . . you can't go back to that dark a place without it changing you."
Few average Americans have been changed, however, by what the CIA does in our name. Blame that on the tight official secrecy that continues over how the CIA extracts information. On July 20, the Bush administration issued a new executive order authorizing the CIA to continue using these techniques—without disclosing anything about them.
If we, the people, are ultimately condemned by a world court for our complicity and silence in these war crimes, we can always try to echo those Germans who claimed not to know what Hitler and his enforcers were doing. But in Nazi Germany, people had no way of insisting on finding out what happened to their disappeared neighbors.
We, however, have the right and the power to insist that Congress discover and reveal the details of the torture and other brutalities that the CIA has been inflicting in our name on terrorism suspects.
Only one congressman, Oregon's Democratic senator Ron Wyden, has insisted on probing the legality of the CIA's techniques—so much so that Wyden has blocked the appointment of Bush's nominee, John Rizzo, from becoming the CIA's top lawyer. Rizzo, a CIA official since 2002, has said publicly that he didn't object to the Justice Department's 2002 "torture" memos, which allowed the infliction of pain unless it caused such injuries as "organ failure . . . or even death." (Any infliction of pain up to that point was deemed not un-American.) Mr. Rizzo would make a key witness in any future Nuremberg trial.
As Jane Mayer told National Public Radio on August 6, what she found in the leaked Red Cross report, and through her own extensive research on our interrogators (who are cheered on by the commander in chief), is "a top-down-controlled, mechanistic, regimented program of abuse that was signed off on—at the White House, really—and then implemented at the CIA from the top levels all the way down. . . . They would put people naked for up to 40 days in cells where they were deprived of any kind of light. They would cut them off from any sense of what time it was or . . . anything that would give them a sense of where they were."
She also told of the CIA interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, who was not only waterboarded (a technique in which he was made to feel that he was about to be drowned) but also "kept in . . . a small cage, about one meter [39.7 inches] by one meter, in which he couldn't stand up for a long period of time. [The CIA] called it the dog box."
Whether or not there is another Nuremberg trial—and Congress continues to stay asleep—future historians of the Bush administration will surely also refer to Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality, the July report by Human Rights First and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
The report emphasizes that the president's July executive order on CIA interrogations—which, though it is classified, was widely hailed as banning "torture and cruel and inhuman treatment"—"fails explicitly to rule out the use of the 'enhanced' techniques that the CIA authorized in March, 2002, "with the president's approval (emphasis added).
In 2002, then–Secretary of State Colin Powell denounced the "torture" memos and other interrogation techniques in internal reports that reached the White House. It's a pity he didn't also tell us. But Powell's objections should keep him out of the defendants' dock in any future international trial.
From the Leave No Marks report, here are some of the American statutes that the CIA, the Defense Department, and the Justice Department have utterly violated:
In the 1994 Torture Convention Implementation Act, we put into U.S. law what we had signed in Article 5 of the UN Convention Against Torture, which is defined as "an act 'committed by an [officially authorized] person' . . . specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering . . . upon another person within his custody or physical control."
The 1997 U.S. War Crimes Act "criminalizes . . . specifically enumerated war crimes that the legislation refers to as 'grave breaches' of Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions], including the war crimes of torture and 'cruel or inhuman treatment.'"
The Leave No Marks report very valuably brings the Supreme Court— before Chief Justice John Roberts took over—into the war-crimes record of this administration. I strongly suggest that Human Rights First and Physicians for Social Responsibility send their report—with the following section underlined—to every current member of the Supreme Court and Congress:
"The Supreme Court has long considered prisoner treatment to violate substantive due process if the treatment 'shocks the conscience,' is bound to offend even hardened sensibilities, or offends 'a principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.'"
Among those fundamental rights cited by past Supreme Courts, the report continues, are "the rights to bodily integrity [and] the right to have [one's] basic needs met; and the right to basic human dignity" (emphasis added).If the conscience of a majority on the Roberts Court isn't shocked by what we've done to our prisoners, then it will be up to the next president and the next Congress—and, therefore, up to us—to alter, in some respects, how history will judge us. But do you see any considerable signs, among average Americans, of the conscience being shocked? How about the presidential candidates of both parties?
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tucker: I assaulted a man who ‘bothered’ me in a bathroom.Yesterday on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson said “it’s really common” that men accost one another in mens’ rooms, much like Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) is alleged to have done to a plainclothed cop. Carlson said, “I’ve been bothered in Georgetown Park,” in Washington, D.C., “when I was in high school.” When asked how he responded to being “bothered,” Carlson asserted, “I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the — you know, and grabbed him, and … hit him against the stall with his head, actually.”
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Why is it so many Anti-Gay Republican Men Keep Getting Arrested for wanting to Suck Cock in Public Restrooms?
Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport RestroomMonday, Aug. 27, 2007; 4:48 pm
By John McArdle,
Roll Call Staff
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.
After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.
Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.
According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested.
Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.
Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”
The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.
“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.
Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.
“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”
Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.
Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.
Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.
“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.
On Aug. 8, the day he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the Minnesota court, Craig appeared via satellite at a ceremony that took place in Idaho in which former Idaho federal Judge Randy Smith was invested into his new position as a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made on a gay activist Web site — blogactive.com. Craig’s office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the charge was “completely ridiculous,” saying that the allegations had “no basis in fact.”
Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Bush and Cheney as the Dukes of Hazzard
Thom Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order which allows the government to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.
He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts -- a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War -- by quoting the "strong words" which open Roberts' latest column: "Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran."
"I don't actually think they're very strong," said Roberts of his words. "I get a lot of flak that they're understated and the situation is worse than I say. ... When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order] ... there's no check to it. It doesn't have to be ratified by Congress. The people who bear the brunt of these dictatorial police state actions have no recourse to the judiciary. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule. ... The American people don't really understand the danger that they face."
Roberts said that because of Bush's unpopularity, the Republicans face a total wipeout in 2008, and this may be why "the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush's follies or the war, because they expect his unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory in next year's election."
However, Roberts emphasized, "the problem with this reasoning is that it assumes that Cheney and Rove and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts, or it assumes that they are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his fling." Roberts believes instead that Cheney and Rove intend to use a renewal of the War on Terror to rally the American people around the Republican Party. "Something's in the works," he said, adding that the Executive Orders need to create a police state are already in place.
"The administration figures themselves and prominent Republican propagandists ... are preparing us for another 9/11 event or series of events," Roberts continued. "Chertoff has predicted them. ... The National Intelligence Estimate is saying that al Qaeda has regrouped. ... You have to count on the fact that if al Qaeda's not going to do it, it's going to be orchestrated. ... The Republicans are praying for another 9/11."
Hartmann asked what we as the people can do if impeachment isn't about to happen. "If enough people were suspicious and alert, it would be harder for the administration to get away with it," Roberts replied. However, he added, "I don't think these wake-up calls are likely to be effective," pointing out the dominance of the mainstream media.
"Americans think their danger is terrorists," said Roberts. "They don't understand the terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution. ... The terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism. Americans just aren't able to perceive that."
Roberts pointed out that it's old-line Republicans like himself, former Reagan associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein, and Pat Buchanan who are the diehards in warning of the danger. "It's so obvious to people like us who have long been associated in the corridors of power," he said. "There's no belief in the people or anything like that. They have agendas. The people are in the way. The Constitution is in the way. ... Americans need to comprehend and look at how ruthless Cheney is. ... A person like that would do anything."
Roberts final suggestion was that, in the absence of a massive popular outcry, "the only constraints on what's going to happen will come from the federal bureaucracy and perhaps the military. They may have had enough. They may not go along with it."
The full audio of Thom Hartmann's interview with Paul Craig Roberts can be found here.
Help, I'm stepping into the Twilight Zone, place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned.
8/27/2007 12:44:44 PM President Bush reacted with unusual candor Monday to the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
“It is sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons,” Bush said at a press conference in Crawford, Texas.
The President praised Gonzales for his “integrity, decency and principle.” He added that in his two and a half years as attorney general, Gonzales “has played a critical role in shaping our policies and the war on terror and has worked tirelessly to make this country safer.”
The two men have shared a close personal and professional relationship since 1995, when as Texas governor Bush requested Gonzales to be his general counsel. Like his professional and personal friendship with Karl Rove, Bush said of Gonzales “In the long course of our work together, this trusted advisor became a close friend.” Bush acknowledged the effects of the controversy surrounding Gonzales, citing “months of unfair treatment” that resulted in “a harmful distraction at the justice department.”
Gonzales is the latest in a series of Bush loyalists forced to resign amid controversial circumstances. The casualties include chief political strategist Karl Rove, White House counselor Dan Bartlett, budget director Rob Portman, chief White House attorney Harriet Miers, political director Sara Taylor, deputy national security advisers J.D. Crouch and Meghan O'Sullivan and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Bush's poll numbers hit record lows in 2007, with his approval rating hovering around 30 percent.
Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed the President of his decision to resign late Sunday, capping a bitter fight with congressional Democrats amid allegations he perjured himself in testimony before Congress on President Bush's domestic wiretapping program.President Bush, who stood by Gonzales through a series of controversies, accepted Gonzales' resignation Friday and is expected to nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to fill the vacancy left by his longtime friend and legal adviser, according to senior White House officials.
"Yesterday, I met with President Bush and informed him of my decision to conclude my government services as Attorney General of the United States effective September 17," Gonzales said in a brief statement Monday morning.Gonzales, 51, who withstood months-long controversy over the firings of eight federal prosecutors for what critics charged were politically motivated reasons, had resisted calls for his resignation from Democrats and some Republicans, including Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. While Gonzales said he might have mishandled the U.S. attorney firings, the former Texas Supreme Court justice maintained the ousters were in no way politically motivated to influence federal investigations involving lawmakers.
But tensions between Gonzales and Democratic leaders in Congress boiled over after Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and discrepancies emerged between what Gonzales and an intelligence official said about the National Security Agency's then-classified warrantless surveillance program.
In congressional testimony, Gonzales said the purpose of a March 10, 2004 White House briefing was to address "intelligence activities" that were the subject of a legal dispute inside the Bush administration, and not called over the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.
However, a letter sent to Congress in May 2006 by then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte described the congressional meeting as a "briefing on the Terrorist Surveillance Program," the name that President Bush has publicly used to refer to the program.
Trying to clear up the misunderstanding with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales sent a two-page letter to the Committee confirming that there was a dispute between the Justice Department and the White House in March 2004, but conceded he was not clear in his explanations.
"I recognize that the use of the term Terrorist Surveillance Program and my shorthand reference to the 'program' publicly 'described by the president' may have created confusion, particularly for those who are knowledgeable about the N.S.A. activities authorized in the presidential order," Gonzales wrote.
He added that the confusion might have been most intense among those "who may be accustomed to thinking of them or referring to them together as a single N.S.A. program." Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary committee, said Gonzales' resignation "reinforces what Congress and the American people already know — that no Justice Department should be allowed to become a political arm of the White House, whether occupied by a Republican or a Democrat."
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ardent critic of Gonzales, said the attorney general had done "the right thing" by resigning.
"The Justice Department has been virtually nonfunctional and desperately needs new leadership. Democrats will not obstruct or impede a nominee who we are confident will put the rule of law above political considerations," Schumer said.
Iraq may need a "strongman" to pursue U.S. interests. Anybody got a problem with that?
Yes, there's nothing like a good mixed message to win some hearts and minds - and if you think the Vietnam thing was bad, wait till you get a load of this. It turns out that George W. Bush is such a big fan of Iraq's elected leader Nouri al-Maliki that last week the White House posted a new page on their website "setting the record straight" on Bush's views:
The page was put up around the same time that Our Great Leader was out and about reminding everyone hows much he digs his bro Maliki. According to AFP:
So why would people be getting a "sense that Washington has been distancing itself from the beleaguered government in Baghdad?" Maybe because:
I see. But that's not all - despite Bush's public proclamations of support for the Maliki government, Time magazine reported last week that:
Hmm... a dictatorship under a military strongman who is acceptable to Sunnis and willing to pursue U.S. interests? Now where have I heard that before...?