Torture? We don’t torture!
Category Archives: evil
Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.
— Thomas Jefferson
— Thomas Jefferson
If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator,” Bush joked.
— CNN.com, December 18, 2000
Let’s face it, the Founding Fathers of our country were incredibly prescient. One of the things they were most afraid of, having just liberated themselves from the grasp of King George, was another king. Thus, they instituted a nearly foolproof system of checks and balances. If a man with dictatorial ambitions became president, voila! The Congress would be able to stop him from doing real harm to the country. If the Congress didn’t stop him, well, there was always the Supreme Court.
And of course, in the extremely unlikely event that all three branches of the government were compromised, the press would surely come to the rescue. An informed population would never consent to being railroaded into fascism.
The Bush Administration is very fond of the phrase “No one could have foreseen…” They use it for every situation, including 9/11, and usually in the most disingenuous manner.
But in their own case, they were right. No one could have foreseen the Bush Administration and their conservative allies. No one could have foreseen a decades-long, systematic takeover of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. No one could have foreseen that this same cabal of determined corporo-fascists would also turn the media into nothing but a giant megaphone for their twisted, anti-American agenda.
And since no one had foreseen it, no one knows what to do to stop it. Extreme measures such as impeachment, or shutting down the government, appear to be the only way to end the war and stop the mad power grab of the Bush Administration. And although many members of Congress would have the courage to take these measures, the support of the dictator is so strong in Congress that every Democrat, and some Republics, would have to have the hearts of lions. And what are the chances of that?
I don’t mean to say there is no hope. I do believe that we can find our way out of this terrible morass. But first, we need to recognize just how dire the situation is, and exactly why we are in it. Only then can we come together to make sure that we, the people, are never so powerless again.
It’s the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall today. How are those conservative economic policies working out for the residents of New Orleans, I wonder?
New Orleans then:
New Orleans now:
I remember watching CNN after the levees broke. It was the first time that the traditional media had dared to criticize the naked emperor. Too late, of course, for so many dead in terrorist attacks, needless wars and man-made disasters like the flooding that destroyed the Ninth Ward.
And too late for the tens of thousands who are still living in these:
On September 19, 2005, in a speech given at Brown University, Senator John Kerry said this :
Rarely has there been a moment more urgent for Americans to step up and define ourselves again. On the line is a fundamental choice. A choice between a view that says “you’re on your own,” “go it alone,” or “every man for himself.” Or a different view – a different philosophy – a different conviction of governance – a belief that says our great American challenge is one of shared endeavor and shared sacrifice.
Over the next weeks I will address these choices in detail – choices about national security, the war in Iraq, making our nation more competitive and committing to energy independence. But it boils down to this. I still believe America’s destiny is to become a living testament to what free human beings can accomplish by acting in unity. That’s easy to dismiss by those who seem to have forgotten we can do more together than just waging war.
But for those who still believe in the great tradition of Americans doing great things together, it’s time we started acting like it. We can never compete with the go-it-alone crowd in appeals to selfishness. We can’t afford to be pale imitations of the other side in playing the ‘what’s in it for me’ game. One thing we know: the last thing America needs is a second Republican Party.
Instead, it’s time we put our appeals where our hearts are – asking the American people to make our country as strong, prosperous, and big-hearted as we know we can be – every day. It’s time we framed every question – every issue — not in terms of what’s in it for ‘me,’ but what’s in it for all of us?
And when you ask that simple question – what’s in it for all of us? – the direction not taken in America could not be more clear or compelling.
Let this tragic anniversary be a reminder that conservatism is not just a philosophy that favors the rich over the poor; it is an evil virus that kills all those whom it infects. And our country is on its last gasp. The rule of law – broken, as top government officials commit treason and war crimes with no accountability. The separation of church and state? Almost gone. Economic justice? Please. Education? No, George, our children is NOT learning. Energy? We have solar and wind technology, but we’re still invading and occupying countries for their oil.
Do we need a new direction? No. We need to go back to the old one. The Founders based our Constitution on the concept that government exists to improve the lives of its constituents. The only way to do that is to invest in people, not corporations – what I call trickle-up economics.
To do otherwise is to create Katrinas. And Iraqs. And poverty. And housing crises. And…
I wish I could stop being astonished at the sheer audacity and venality of the Vice President. In my opinion, he is the most purely evil figure in all of politics. While George Bush appears to be all vanity, stupidity, stubbornness and insecurity, Dick Cheney seems to love to, in the words of Monty Burns, “wallow in his own crapulence.”
Yesterday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated in a press briefing that the White House has run out of time to respond to his subpoenas to turn over documents regarding the illegal NSA warrantless spying program. As a result, when Congress comes back in session, if the White House still hasn’t complied, the Judiciary Committee will vote on contempt of Congress charges.
…And interestingly enough, I pointed out that every single one of these subpoenas, they have been issued by a bipartisan vote. There have been no close votes on them.
So I would hope they’d do it. And, if not, the full Judiciary Committee will have to sit down and determine whether to seek contempt from the full Senate.
As fascinating and wonderful as that prospect is to contemplate, I felt the other revelations in Senator Leahy’s statement were even more amazing.
Apparently the 109th Congress – the REPUBLICAN-LED Congress – was also very concerned about the warrantless wiretapping program. Arlen Specter and other members of the Judiciary Committee attempted to get the information, but something very strange happened.
QUESTION: Is your impression they’re dragging their feet?
LEAHY: Well, you know, a lot of these questions were asked by the former chairman a couple years ago, and we haven’t gotten an answer.
In fact, we were about to issue subpoenas then and one of the senators came to our meeting and said that the vice president had met with the Republican senators and told them they were not allowed to issue subpoenas.
Not quite sure that’s my understanding of the separation of powers, but it seemed to work at that time…
Not only that, but yesterday, Cheney apparently repeated his claim that he was not a part of the executive branch.
Incidentally, in the administration’s response today, they claimed the Office of the Vice President is not part of the Executive Office of the President. So it’s some kind of fourth branch of government.
Well, that’s wrong. Both the United States Code says it is part of the president — oh, incidentally, at least this morning, as I left Vermont, I checked the White House Web site. And even their own Web site, this morning, at least, says that the Executive Office — that the vice president is part of the Executive Office of the President.
Now let’s put this into a smaller perspective for a second. You suspect that your 13-year-old child is doing drugs. You knock on your child’s door, and yell that you’re going to search his/her room for such drugs. The child responds,
“First of all, Mom, I forbid you to search my room. Second of all, I’ve decided I’m not your child any more, and third of all, NYAH NYAH NYAH, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!”
As the child’s parent, you are legally within your right to search the child’s room. Furthermore, it is your duty to provide oversight of the child’s activities, and of course, the child certainly cannot decide not to be your progeny! Finally, the child’s last so-called point is nothing but a last-ditch effort to prevent you from doing your job as a parent. (It won’t, but it will most likely result in an even harsher punishment than you would have prescribed at first! The nerve of that brat!)
Like the fictional child in my example, Dick Cheney’s argument rests on nothing, and it’s astonishing that a grown person – a person who holds the second highest political office in our country – would resort to such childish and ridiculous tactics. We can be absolutely certain that the documents the Judiciary Committee has requested are damning beyond all redemption.
As Senator Leahy said, the Republican Senators bought the act at the time. But thankfully for our country, oversight is back. I hope Dick Cheney likes the color orange, because he’s going to be wearing it for a long time.
I’m just sick about what’s finally coming out about the death of Pat Tillman. Turns out that “friendly fire” might be a pseudonym for “murder”.
Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman’s forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player’s death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
“The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described,” a doctor who examined Tillman’s body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.
Of course, the death of a man like Pat Tillman, whether an accident or murder, did not fit into the carefully constructed, media-ready narrative of the football hero who gave up money and fame to volunteer in Afghanistan, then died heroically while fighting off Osama bin Laden and 500 Al Qaeda soldiers armed with rocket launchers. (A little snark there.) The Bush Administration wanted heroes to inspire war support, so it did what it always does when it doesn’t like reality – it created its own real-ish reality.
The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman’s death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.
I read a Stephen King book once where he described evil as basically unimaginative. It keeps coming back, in various forms, but when it appears, it always proceeds the same way. That’s how you can tell it’s evil – it never grows, it never changes, and of course, what results from its actions is ultimately horror and death.
Remind you of anyone?