Friday, October 27

Limbaugh and the GOP are having a Nutty!

They know it's coming - the massive Perfect Shit Storm that's going to sweep them right out of Congress. The Congress they fought, connived, cheated and swindled their way into. They can feel it and chiggers crawling on their skin - and it's driving them over the freaking edge.

They're having a full on nutty.

This is what happens when you find yourself in a corner, sweating and desperate. You begin to lash out uncontrollably.

Sometimes you might even hit yourself in the process, and that's exactly what were seeing from the GOP these last few weeks before the Mid-Team Bloodbath Elections.

Neat aint it?

First of course we had Senator Felix Macaca-witz, who decided, like oh-so-many neo-cons that he was the smartest guy in the room so he'd sling the absolutely perfect racial slur at a Camera-man from the Jim Webb campaign. The fact that his own mother happens to have been a french speaking woman from North Africa - and the slur french slang for dark skinned people in North Africa - and the Camera-man was of Morrocan Indian desent with dark skin - was all just some odd concidence.

The fact that this was said on camera somehow didn't occur Felix.

Then you've got Republican candidate Tan Nguyen from Orange County California who is himself an immigrant, deciding it was a good idea send a fradulent letter to every person with a spanish surname in the county threatening them with arrest or deportation if they tried to vote. Of course he claimed he had nothing to do with, unless you count personally purchasing the voter list that was used for the mailing.

In Tennesee we've got the RNC and Republican Senate Candidate Bob Corker playing the Mandigo-Card with their ads against Harold Ford Jr. Not just once, but twice (audio).

Dennis the Menace Hastert in the House is going after Nancy Pelosi for ignoring immigration by claiming

Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi has NEVER visited the border. She claims to understand the needs of those on the front lines but has never visited those agents and offers no solutions.

Yeah, well that's great except that she has backed numerous border security measures and has been to the border and visit with border patrol agents in El Paso. They're are even pictures and stuff.

Rep. Jean (Murtha's a Coward) Schmidt is having her nutty over the fact that her Democratic opponent Victoria Wulsin is actually daring to use her own words on the house floor attacking Murtha against her in campaign ads. Specifically her accusations against John Murtha who nearly a year ago called for a timetable (much like the one the President is now crowing about) for redeploying our troops out of Iraq.

"Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee," Schmidt's spokesman Matt Perin said in a release, referring to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which the release mistakenly referred to elsewhere as the "House Committee on Official Standards and Conduct."

Yeah, that's nice except that Wulsin isn't in Congress yet - and therefore isn't under the perview of the House Ethnics(less) Committee. This is the dim-bulb that beat Paul Hacket two years ago? Sheesh.

Lastly we have Rush (The Oxy-Viagra King) Limbaugh, who thought it would be humorous to talk about Micheal Fox going off his meds to do a pro stem-cell research commercial. He's claimed that Fox hasn't done any commercial like this for Republicans. He's wrong. Fox did an ad for Arlen Spector as was shown on Countdown.

FOX: Biomedical research could cure hundreds of diseases, save thousands of lives, and prevent millions of tears. I understand that, and so does Arlen Specter. He helped double the funding for biomedical research, more dollars for more research, for more cures.

Arlen gets it. It`s that simple.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER ®, PENNSYLVANIA: I`m Arlen Specter and approved this ad to tell you there is hope for the future.

After issuing his non-apology apology, Rush went on to state:

I believe Democrats have a long history of using victims of various things as political spokespeople because they believe they are untouchable, infallible, they are immune from criticism.

This sort of tact seems to bring us right back to Ann Coulter the those "Harpies" that lost their husbands and sons in the destruction of the World Trade Center and dared to support Democrats who want to actually implement the suggestions of the 9-11 Commission which they fought hard to have convened doesn't it?

Fox's Response to Limbaugh : I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh's pity or anyone else's pity. I'm not a victim.

All of this stuff is not an accident. Limbaugh's comment is itself very telling. You see all of these people that Republicans are attacking - Immigrants, Blacks, the parents of our fallen Soldiers such as Cindy Sheehan, the survivors of 9-11 and their families, the survivors of debilitating disease, the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans - the most vulnerable, the canaries in the coal mines of our society are exactly the people that their party has failed time and time again.

They aren't being exploited by Democrats - they have chosen to embrace Democrats (and some Republicans) because they share values and they share goals. This is what a great many people are slowly beginning to realize, people such as former Republican Michael Schiavo.

Oops, lost another one to Dietech The Democrats

The GOP isn't looking out for the best interests of the vast majority of the American public. They're only out to line their own pockets with graft from the U.S. Treasury.

Not long ago they wouldn't have dared to be this blatant - they would simply railed against "Libruls" who almost always were nothing more than a surrogate for Black, Hispanic, Poor and Sick people and their interests. They tried to buy off the Black and Hispanic vote by going after them through their Churches - but the cover's been blown on that scam thanks to former White House Official David Kuo.

They've run out of options. There are no more pre-set plays to put on the field. They're winging it.

And now the deep-seated Racism, Sexism and disdain for those in need that is at the core of the Republican Party is finally bubbing back up to the surface.

  • They failed to address Osama Bin Laden after the Bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and gave him free pass to attack us again on 9/11.

  • They've allowed millions of Americans to lose their health insurance and pensions.

  • They were wrong to invade Iraq without a valid justification using lies they gained through TORTURE, and have completely bungled the occupation and reconstruction of that country.

Faced with the truth of their own abject failure, they've reflexively falling back on that old standby - Blame the Victim Survivors or their incompetence and negligence.

Contrary to the claims of commentators on Disney/GOP TV's Nightline that Democrats have been "just as nasty" - they simply don't need to be. The facts and the truth are an automatically negative ad against Republicans.

Just watch and share the DNC's New Web Ad.





All we have to do is point out that Republicans have no plan. Are they going to "Stay the Course" or are they going to "Adapt to Win" - or maybe they're going to "Stay the Win" by "Adapting the Course"... do they really know? Does anyone? Obviously they don't.

In response Democrats have a duty, a sacred responsibility to rise above the muck - to raise the level of debate and discourse in this country, to bring honor back to the nation.

Let the Republicans flail away in the mud, it's is a fitting end for their ideological kind.

Vyan

Thursday, October 26

Cheney confirms detainees were Water-Boarded

On Tuesday Vice-President Dick Cheney while speaking with a conservative talk show host confirmed that terrorist detainees may have indeed been Water-boarded.

In the interview on Tuesday, Scott Hennen of WDAY Radio in Fargo, N.D., told Cheney that listeners had asked him to "let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives."

"Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?" Hennen said.

"I do agree," Cheney replied, according to a transcript of the interview released Wednesday. "And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation."

Cheney added that Mohammed had provided "enormously valuable information about how many (al-Qaida members) there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth. We've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that."

"Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" asked Hennen.

"It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president `for torture.' We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in," Cheney replied. "We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."

Yet again we see the Adminstration doing a fast soft shoe by using the Bybee Definition of Torture - which allows you to do everything short of inflicting permanent physical damage to a subject. This is a deliberate deceit that can not be allowed to go unrebutted.

The intent is clearly to confuse and manipulate the American public by treating a sustained simulated drowning as being nothing more than bobbing for apples. This confusion has even managed to dupe several Republican Sponsors of the recently passed Military Commissions Act.

Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have said that a law Bush signed last month prohibits water-boarding. The three are the sponsors of the Military Commissions Act, which authorized the administration to continue its interrogations of enemy combatants.
It's too bad their wrong.

The law does prohibit many things that are clearly torture - including sexual abuse - but it also leaves open a huge door to all forms of treatment which are non-lethal, do not leave permenent bruses and do not cause permanent damage to a limb or organ failures.

From EspionageInfo.com

The techniques and technologies of torture can be grouped into three categories: hardware, software, and liveware. The term "hardware" refers to the equipment used; software refers to the techniques of torture that are taught to interrogators. Torture liveware refers to the human element of torture, typically the interrogator.

Torture hardware. Examples of torture hardware include shackles for the arms, legs, and even thumbs, whips, canes, beating devices (i.e., clubs, rubber hoses), water, electrical generators to administer electroshocks, and devices that suspend someone painfully above the ground. In fact, the list of physical harm that can be inflicted is long. Any possible route to inflict pain that can be conceived of has been used.

Machines that generate intolerable noise ("white noise") or bright pulses of ultraviolet light are sometimes used. Hardware can also have a chemical nature. Some drugs can cause physical discomfort, pain, and disruptions to the body's biochemistry. Examples include curare,

insulin, and apomorphine. Drugs such as these differ from psychoactive drugs that alter thought processes or biochemical activity in the brain. Food and water deprivation, or maintaining an uncomfortable position for a long time, can also induce biochemical changes.

Electromagnetic radiation can also be a means of torture. Studies in animals have shown that electromagnetic waves of certain wavelengths can destroy lung and brain cells. While not necessarily lethal, these effects are debilitating and can be painful. Electromagnetic stimulation can have other nonlethal effects on humans. Extreme emotions of rage, lust, and fatigue can be caused. A 1950s research program called "Operation Knockout," which was funded by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, discovered that electroshock treatments could be used to cause amnesia. Memories could be erased, and the subjects reprogrammed. This "psychic driving" is a form of torture.

The most widely used torture hardware is electro-shock. Pulses of energy, which are therapeutically useful in some medical treatments, have been adapted as a torture technique. The application of electricity stimulates muscle activity to such an extent that involuntary and painful muscular contractions occur. Longer pulses of electricity produce successively greater debilitation. For example, a five-second discharge from a cattle prod can completely immobilize someone for up to 15 minutes

Torture software. The use of intimidation, threats, harsh and comforting language, and even silence are all techniques that, when combined with the hardware of torture, can extract information from a victim.

Such interrogation techniques have become standard operating procedures for interrogators. Indeed, manuals have been written for interrogators. One example is the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, which was written by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and whose existence became known in 1997 as part of a Freedom of Information Request. A second example is the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trained interrogators until 1991. The U.S. is by no means unique in providing such training.

Another older CIA Manual (KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation) was written in 1963 and lists in a section titled "Coercive Counter-Intelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources" the options ...
  • Deprivations of Sensory Stimuli
  • Threats and Fear
  • Pain
  • Heightened Suggestability and Hypnosis
  • Narcosis
  • Detection of Malingering
But even this manual is not neccesarily what it seems. In the section on Pain it states:
Interrogates who are withholding but feel qualms of guilt and a secret desire to yeild are likely to become intractable if made to endure pain. The reason is that they can interpret the pain as punishment and hence expiation.

Intense pain is likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping distress. A time-consuming delay results, while an investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue.
Apparently Cheney didn't even bother to read the manual. But some others actually have read it - or least still retain some basic common sense.
A man cleans, numbers, and stacks skulls near a mass grave at the Cheung Ek torture camp run by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where Pol Pot tortured and murdered between one and two million people to eliminate perceived oppposition in the 1970s. AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS.
A man cleans, numbers, and stacks skulls near a mass grave at the Cheung Ek torture camp run by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where Pol Pot tortured and murdered between one and two million people to eliminate perceived opposition in the 1970s. AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS.
The U.S. Army, senior Republican lawmakers, human rights experts and many experts on the laws of war, however, consider water-boarding cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that's banned by U.S. law and by international treaties that prohibit torture. Some intelligence professionals argue that it often provides false or misleading information because many subjects will tell their interrogators what they think they want to hear to make the water-boarding stop.
Cheney argues that we are doing this "for the good of the Nation", "to protect Americans". Well Pol Pot felt the same way when he tortured and murdered two million people who he thought might oppose him.

This is indeed a "no-brainer" - water-boarding is torture. Torture produces unreliable results. Certainly we are not dealing with a Khmer Rouge situation since we only have 50,000 detainees in custody (Not unless you start to count the estimated 600,000 people who've directly and indirectly lost their lives as a result of the Iraq War). But this is a slippery slope that we can't afford to ride like a snowboarder. Non-lethal techniques can too easily turn deadly with resistant subjects. As I've often mentioned we've already had 26 detainee deaths in custody as a direct result of abuse - so the argument that people are getting a lot more than being "dunked in water" should be out the window.

Lives are at stake, but not just the lives of the detainees. Our lives. Inaccuarate or just plain old disinformation can be very devastating to our battle against terrorism.

It was only after viewing the videotaped confession of Ibn Sheik al-libi in detention at Gitmo that Colin Powell decided to use claims that Saddam and Al-Qeada were in "cooperation". That confession was false. Al-Libi was a Fabricator. Yet even to this very day, in the wake of a Senate Intelligence report to the contrary - Cheney and the Whitehouse refuse to accept the truth. Saddam was not linked to Zarqawi or Al-Qaeda.

This guy - the one who shot his friend in the face with birdshot - is the person we're expect to trust when it comes to protecting the United States? We're supposed to believe him when he says "we don't torture" and just ignore the moutain of evidence to the contrary?

To paraphrase the President himself on This Week - It's not a question of patriotism, it's a question fo judgement.

It's time to bring this Adminstration under control. Well past time, the bodies and skulls are already starting to pile up.

Vyan

Republicans hold the keys...

Speaking the truth - regardless of your party affiliation - something that has been in short supply but has been a godsend. Democrats have been doing it for some time, but it's not until people on the other side of the ideological line start singing the same song that things truly begin to change.

People like former CIA Operative Larry Johnson, Republican, close friend and collegue of Valerie Plame-Wilson and extreme critic of the Bush Administration for their bumgling on foreign affairs, their scapegoating of the CIA for their own psychotic insistence that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons, had nuclear weapons, was connect with al Qaeda - all of which were fever dream fabrications.

People like Tyler Drumheller, former CIA Operations Chief for Europe, the man who delivered the Iraqi Foreign Minister to Bush in the pre-war era to confirm the Saddam had no WMD's - only to see this highly credible source discounted and instead the ravings of a lunatic code-named Curveball were given more weight.

Republicans such as Francis Fukuyama, one of the prime architects of the neo-conservative movement has stated that Conservatism has failed

Republicans such as John Dean who has called the actions of the Bush Whitehouse "Worse than Watergate", and stated that we are headed fast toward a new form of neo-facism where 23% of our populace will be the shocktroops for the new Reich-wing of fear and intimidation.

Republicans such as Bob Woodard who says the President is in a tragic State of Denial.

Republicans such as former UN weapons inspector and U.S. Marine Scott Ritter.

Former Bush EPA head and moderate Republican Christine Todd Whitman who has tried, in vain, to proclaim "It's My Party Too" - only to have her pleas fall on deaf ears.

Republicans such as former State Department Chief of Staff Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powel's "go to guy" who has said "I think this is probably the worst ineptitude in governance, decision-making and leadership I've seen in 50-plus years. You've got to go back and think about that. That includes the Bay of Pigs, that includes -- oh my God, Vietnam. That includes Iran-contra, Watergate."

This current state and future of this country is not a partisan issue. It is not about Democrat vs Republican - it's about Fact VS Bullshit.

The neo-con cabal (as Wilkerson put it) has used fear and cynical manpulation to destroy our internation prestige, and our national pride. We are now a country that tacitly condones torture and coerced confessions of terrorism suspects -- not proven convicted terrorists - suspects.

These are the actions of tin-pot banana republic, not the most perform super nation on earth.

This country withstood 40+ years of the cold war - where we were quite literally on the brink of mutally assured destruction every single minute, and we never even conceived of openly santifying the types of treatment that is now officially sanction at Gitmo, Bagram AFB in Aghanistan and Abu Ghraib.

These people don't know what the FUCK they're doing.

To quote Bill Maher (again) from this week's "New Rules"

And finally, New Rule, in two parts: A) You can't call yourself a think tank if all your ideas are stupid. And B), if you're someone from one of the think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War, and who predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn't need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD's would be found, that the looting wasn't problematic, and the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that the whole bloody mess wouldn't turn into a civil war...you have to stop making predictions!

How many times do these nitwits have to get it wrong before we kick their asses out of office?

Repeatedly the Repubicans in power play the fear card. Claim any who disagree with them are "morally confused", "soft", "appeasers of the enemy". In Orange County one immigrant candidate (vietnamese) tries try scare other legal immigrants (Hispanic) away from the polls with threats of being arrested. In Virgina - Senator Macaca-witz Allen lies repeated about his racist past and present. In Tennesee - they've practically put an Aunt Jemima apron on Rep Harold Ford Jr. as he vies for the Senate.

Their actions have been so heinous even Chris Matthews the MSNBC paleo-con has finally called them the Racists that they've been ever since the Civil Rights movement.

They'll stop at literally nothing to retain and maintain their influence and power.

How much of this crap are expected to put up with?

They couldn't protect the people of the Gulf Coast from a natural disaster that we could see coming FROM SPACE!

They can't provide our troops proper armor, proper medical and psychatritic treatment or even uncontaminated water.

They can't protect our children even within the U.S.A. from Pedophiles stalking the halls of congress.

They laugh at our faith and devotation to God - exploiting it as they would a junkie in desperate need of his next fix.

This has to fucking stop.

The best way to do it - is simply and cleanlythrow the bums out. We need to tip the scales and place Democrats back into power - but don't just sit back and expect them to play Mr. and Mrs Fix-it. Ride their asses until they create some genuine accountability for this misguided pointless war. Where the hell did our $9 Billion go? What are we paying another $491 Billion for in Iraq? When are going to talk tough and serious with the Iraqi Government about getting their SHIT together? Why are they forcing our children to fear safe sex? To question Science and Fact?

Meanwhile even Disney/ABC TV has finally noticed there just might some problems with electronic voting systems. Hmm. Ya thinK?

November 7th is just the beginning of the fight, the beginning of the process to repair our honor - our prestige.

There's no excuse not to make your voice heard, and be sure that your vote is truly counted.

The time is now. Stand UP!

Vyan

Wednesday, October 25

Looking toward a New Democratic Dawn

Well, we have just two weeks left and the Republican Regime in Congress is finally in it's last throes. Things are definately looking up, our numbers look good for taking over the House and Probably the Senate. So why am I so worried?


Oh yeah, making predictions is a dangerous business - just ask Bill Maher.

And finally, New Rule, in two parts: A) You can't call yourself a think tank if all your ideas are stupid. And B), if you're someone from one of the think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War, and who predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn't need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD's would be found, that the looting wasn't problematic, and the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that the whole bloody mess wouldn't turn into a civil war...you have to stop making predictions!


Aint that the truth?

I know I should heed Maher's advice too, but I just can't help myself - so here goes...


Democrats are going to take BOTH HOUSES. Say it, see it - believe it!


Doesn't that feel good? Just take a moment and bask in the possibilities.


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Ok, moment over.


The one thing we can't afford is overconfidence. The Repubs have the cash on hand to still do some damage on November 7th, even though by all rights - based on their policies and governing - they shouldn't have a prayer of surviving as the majority in either house.


How bad does it have to get before America throws these bums under the bus?


Unable to actually campaign for anyone other than Dennis the Menace Hastert the President took his "message" directly to the people this Sunday with an appearance on This Week (Counterpointed by John Kerry who also appeared)


BUSH: Frankly, I hear disparate voices all over the place from the Democrats' side about Iraq. We got some saying: Get out. The person I ran against in 2004, Senator Kerry, said at a date certain, time, withdraw.


We got one of the top leaders in the House said: Let's move troops to an island and maybe respond from there.


I would suspect most voters are going to be saying: What is the plan? Or most voters will be saying: How come the majority of Democrats voted against the detainee program where we're going to question high-value detainees to determine whether they've got information necessary to protect the country?


STEPHANOPOULOS: You've used some pretty tough rhetoric, though. You said this election's a choice between Republicans and Democrats who want to wave the white flag of surrender in the war on terror.


Can you name a Democrat who wants to wave the white flag of surrender?


BUSH: I can name a Democrat who said there ought to be a date certain from which to withdraw from Iraq, whether or not we've achieved a victory or not. And I...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that surrender?


BUSH: Yes, it is, if you pull the troops out before the job is done. Absolutely, George.


Kerry in response...finally using the "L" word.


In an exclusive appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., rebuked President Bush's assertion that those who advocate a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq are supporting "surrender."


"That's reprehensible. It's a lie," Kerry said.


Yes, it is a lie. Kerry went on to explain that calls such as his and Senator Feingold's for a Date Certain on removing our troops should not be cast in stone. But that this was "the stick" to be used to push the Iraqis to govern and protect themselves. Kerry was right during the 2004 election that we need to set goals for the Iraqis and gives those goals consequences - and he's right now.


"I think you have to be more blunt: I think you have to say, 'No young American is going to die or give their life or limb for Iraqi politicians who refuse to compromise,' " Kerry said. "They have to want democracy for themselves as much as we want it for them."


Of his date-certain approach, Kerry argued, "You have to set a date because it's the only way to get Iraqis to respond," adding, "The date is not a date in a vacuum. I mean, I'm not stupid."


Kerry later summed up the situation.


"Either they resolve the political differences within this year because they want to, or they don't want to. If they don't want to, there's nothing American troops can do," he said.


On the issue of whether Iraq is in the midst of a Civil War - Bush:


STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you don't think that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war...


BUSH: Right.


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Right now.


BUSH: Right.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But whatever you call it, aren't American men and women now dying to prevent Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other?


BUSH: No. George, I -- it's dangerous. And you're right, no matter what you call it.


Kerry:


"The president just misled America again in that interview," he said. "Al Qaeda is not the problem in Iraq."


Kerry added, "The violence in Iraq today, George, is between Shia and Sunni; this is a civil war."


Bush:


The fundamental question is: Are we on our way to achieving a goal, which is an Iraq that can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself and be an ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East.


STEPHANOPOULOS: It seems like, every month, we're going farther from that.


BUSH: Well, I don't know why you would say that. I mean...


STEPHANOPOULOS: The casualties are going up.


BUSH: ... if that's the definition of success or failure, the number of casualties, then you're right. But that's what the enemy knows. See, they try to define success or failure.


I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be able to defend themselves. I define success or failure as whether the unity government's making difficult -- the difficult decisions necessary to unite the country.


I define success or failure as whether schools are being built, or hospitals are being opened. I define success or failure as whether we're seeing a democracy grow in the heart of the Middle East.

Well, since the Iraqi government can't even pick up the bodies -- let alone open new schools, new hospitals and fresh new shopping malls - in the President's own terms, this isn't a "success"



BUSH: Because a democracy in the Middle East, a society based upon liberty, will be a defeat for the terrorists, who have clearly said they want a safe haven from which to launch attacks against America, a safe haven from which to topple moderate governments in the Middle East, a safe haven from which to spread their jihadist point of view, which is that there are no freedoms in the world; we will dictate to you how you think.



You mean a safe haven like say - our "ally" Pakistan? By the way - how's that Afghanistan thingy coming along?


As Kerry made plain, the path to creating a stable Democracy with Iraq (or Pakistan or Afghanistan or anywhere else) means doing something this Adminstration is absolutely incapable of doing - employing effective Diplomacy.


They refuse to pay attention to tensions and issues between Shia and Sunni, still claiming that the big bad bogeyman of Al Qaeda is behind everything that is wrong in Iraq even though according to General Abizaid - there are only about 1000 Al Qeada fighters IN Iraq.


The President claims that those who simply wish him to abide by the FISA law and prefer that we honor our international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions -- are somehow "soft" on terrorism, although the Whitehouse can not name a single Democrat who doesn't want us listening to Al Qeada's communications or to lawfully interrogate detainees.


Republicans have made this theme "The Stakes" central to their campaign to retain control of the House and Senate and so far this strategery has been a total bust.


Protecting America isn't the issue - the issue is what America becomes in the process of protecting itself. The only way to bring this Administration to heal before 2008 is for Democrats to take over Congress and start implementing some freaking oversight.


It's clear that Bush with his suddenly frequent TV appearances (including O'Reilly) as well as Veep Cheney last night on Hannity and * are simply trying to keep the happy talk flowing to the base.


Never mind about Foley, Hastert and that "idealistic liberal with the brain tumor" David Kuo. Everything will be just fine tomorrow - bet you're bottom dollar Daddy Warbucks.


Yeah, right.


You can see the desperation in Tony Snows eyes as he puts on his dog and bone show at the White House. (Here ya go Stretch - Fetch This Quote) Just take a look at some of his more recent nutball statements.


    Bush only said "Stay the Course 8 times" -- No, it was 30 times.


    It's "Silly and Gratuitous" to ask Bush if he made any mistakes with North Korea. (Yeah, it's not like they suddenly got The Bomb on his watch or anything....)


    "Please show me where the NIE says were not winning" (How about where it says "If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide." on Page 1 or "We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives." on Page 2!)


    "Saddam had a relationship with Zarqawi because he was in the country." Which is sort of like saying Bill Clinton had a "relationship" with the Unibomber since they were both in the country at the same time too, and y'know Clinton was like trying to capture the Unibomber just like Saddam was trying to capture Zarqawi. (But then again, we probably shouldn't give the Wing-nuts too many bright ideas when it comes to Clinton smears - so you didn't hear that one from me ok?)



Sniff. Smell that? That's fear baby. Pure and undiluted.


But it's not like the media is really doing much to get the truth out:


    Matt Lauer on Today : The (Presumptive new House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi is suddenly and inexplicably "controversal".


    Chris Matthews : Nancy Pelosi is too "scary" and "San Francisco" to be on 60 Minutes.


    Nicole Wallace on the CBS Evening News: Polls show people don't want Democrats to Control Congress. (Except that they Do by a margin of 57 to 40%)


    CBS reported the Barron's study which allegedly indicates that Repubs will keep both the House and Senate, but failed to mention the inconsistencies in thier methodologies. (It's almost as if they were gaming their methods to produce a desired outcome - shocking for a GOP friendly paper isn't it?)


    And let's not even get into what Faux News has to say.


Despite all this and all the BS and psychoticbabble coming from the Wingnut Brigade - CQPolitics currently shows just 8 Democratic House seats in potential "jeopardy" by merely leaning Democratic:

    Colo. 3 -- Salazar
    Ga. 8 -- Marshall
    Ga. 12 -- Barrow
    Iowa 3 -- Boswell
    Ill. 8 -- Bean
    Ill. 17 -- Evans*
    La. 3 -- Melancon
    Vt. AL -- Sanders*


Zero Democratic seats show No clear winner. Zero are leaning Republican.


Compare that to 1 Republican seat where a Democrat is currently favored:


    Ariz. 8 -- Kolbe*


Five more that Lean Democratic

    Fla. 16 -- vacant*
    Ind. 8 -- Hostettler
    N.Y. 26 -- Reynolds
    Pa. 7 -- Weldon
    Texas 22 -- vacant*


Nineteen with No Clear Favorite.

    Colo. 7 -- Beauprez*
    Conn. 4 -- Shays
    Fla. 22 -- Shaw
    Ill. 6 -- Hyde*
    Iowa 1 -- Nussle*
    Ind. 2 -- Chocola
    Ind. 9 -- Sodrel
    Minn. 6 -- Kennedy*
    N.C. 11 -- Taylor
    N.M. 1 -- Wilson
    N.Y. 20 -- Sweeney
    N.Y. 24 -- Boehlert*
    Ohio 15 -- Pryce
    Ohio 18 -- Ney*
    Pa. 6 -- Gerlach
    Pa. 8 -- Fitzpatrick
    Pa. 10 -- Sherwood
    Wash. 8 -- Reichert
    Wis. 8 -- Green*


And an additional 21 that only Lean Republican.

    Ariz. 1 -- Renzi
    Ariz. 5 -- Hayworth
    Calif. 11 -- Pombo
    Calif. 50 -- Bilbray
    Colo. 4 -- Musgrave
    Conn. 2 -- Simmons
    Conn. 5 -- Johnson
    Fla. 13 -- Harris*
    Ky. 3 -- Northup
    Ky. 4 -- Davis
    Minn. 1 -- Gutknecht
    Nev. 2 -- Gibbons*
    N.H. 2 -- Bass
    N.J. 7 -- Ferguson
    N.Y. 19 -- Kelly
    N.Y. 29 -- Kuhl
    Ohio 1 -- Chabot
    Ohio 2 -- Schmidt
    Pa. 4 -- Hart
    Va. 2 -- Drake
    Wyo. AL -- Cubin

I'm not expecting Democrats to run the table, but if they do that's a 36 seat pickup. Ouch!


The picture in the Senate isn't so clear. Democrats are at risk in New Jersey where there's no clear favorite in the Menendez race.

Republican Senate Seats Leaning Democratic.

    Mont. -- Burns
    Ohio -- DeWine
    Pa. -- Santorum
    R.I. -- Chafee


Republican Senate Seats with No Clear Favorite

    Mo. -- Talent
    Tenn. -- Frist*

Republican Senate Seats Leaning Republican.

    Va. -- Allen


Losing Menendez would be a major blow, but it's still possible for Democrats to reach the magic six if they can knock out Senator Macaca-witz in Virginia.


Unless there's a huge series of election night upsets across the country - Democrats are standing on the verge of gettig it on!


I for one, though not overconfident, have my sunglasses ready for that dawn. Just in case.


Vyan

Sunday, October 22

By Every Means Unneccesary - Why Habeas is Gone Forever

This week President Bush in his head-long rush for Jack Bauer Justice signed the "Military Commissions Act of 2006 (pdf)", and act which essentially ends the great Writ of Habeas Corpus, allows for coerced and hearsay evidence and codifies various forms of torture as authorized under the law.

But the most shocking element of all of this is the very strong likelyhood that we just might not see the return of Habeas in our lifetimes.

Why not?

Because under the Consitution the Congress actually does have the authority to do what they did - Suspend Habeas.

In Hamdi V Rumsfeld the SCOTUS stated:

Likewise,we have made clear that,unless Congress acts to suspend it,the Great Writ of habeas corpus allows the Judicial Branch to play a necessary role in maintaining this delicate balance of governance,serving as an important judicial check on the Executive 's discretion in the realm of detentions.

Habeas Defined:

The basic premise behind habeas corpus is that you cannot be held against your will without just cause. To put it another way, you cannot be jailed if there are no charges against you. If you are being held, and you demand it, the courts must issue a writ or habeas corpus, which forces those holding you to answer as to why. If there is no good or compelling reason, the court must set you free. It is important to note that of all the civil liberties we take for granted today as a part of the Bill of Rights, the importance of habeas corpus is illustrated by the fact that it was the sole liberty thought important enough to be included in the original text of the Constitution.

Military Commission Act:

No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

U.S. Constitution Under Article I (Limits and Powers of the Congress) states:

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

In this case the "Invasion" is the ongoing infiltration of the United States by the agents of al Qeada - an endless condition of War where the public safety is always in jeopardy. So when exactly will the "public safety" no longer require it?

Never.

Historically speaking, George Bush isn't the first President to attempt to suspend Habeas. In 1861 President Lincoln Suspended Habeas during the Civil War, and had his decision overtuned by Justice Taney in Ex Parte Merryman.

Ex parte Merryman (literally "from one side," and therefore meaning "on behalf of Merryman") is the case of Lt. John Merryman, of the Baltimore County Horse Guards, who was imprisoned on May 25, 1861, in, of all places, Baltimore's Fort McHenry, on order of Union General Winfield Scott. Union troops had just occupied the city and began arresting suspected secessionists.

In Taney's response he stated:

As the case comes before me, therefore, I understand that the president not only claims the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus himself, at his discretion, but to delegate that discretionary power to a military officer, and to leave it to him to determine whether he will or will not obey judicial process that may be served upon him. No official notice has been given to the courts of justice, or to the public, by proclamation or otherwise, that the president claimed this power, and had exercised it in the manner stated in the return. And I certainly listened to it with some surprise, for I had supposed it to be one of those points of constitutional law upon which there was no difference of opinion, and that it was admitted on all hands, that the privilege of the writ could not be suspended, except by act of congress.

The clause of the constitution, which authorizes the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, is in the 9th section of the first article. This article is devoted to the legislative department of the United States, and has not the slightest reference to the executive department. It begins by providing "that all legislative powers therein granted, shall be vested in a congress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives."

In 1864 Congress passed a law which fit Haney's requirements and Suspended Habeas for the duration of the War and Reconstruction - this eventually lead to Ex Parte Milligan.

Lambdin P. Milligan and four others were accused of planning to steal Union weapons and invade Union prisoner-of-war camps and were sentenced to hang by a military court in 1864. However, their execution was not set until May 1865, so they were able to argue the case after the Civil War ended.

The Supreme Court decided that the suspension of habeas corpus was lawful, but military tribunals did not apply to citizens in states that had upheld the authority of the Constitution and where civilian courts were still operating, and the Constitution of the United States only provided for suspension of habeas corpus if these courts are actually forced closed. In essence, the court ruled that military tribunals could not try civilians in areas where civil courts were open, even during times of war.

In short, the Congressional Suspension of Habeas in response to a Rebellion (or Invasion) was upheld, and most likely would be upheld again even by the current Supreme Court since Congressional Authorization is exactly what they requested under Hamdi, which leaves all of us pretty much screwed for the foreseable future.

Even a New Congress is unlikely to overturn this law since 34 Democrats in the House and 12 in the Senate supported it - with only a slim margin projected for the Demcratic Majority in November - such a reversal would be far from Veto proof.

There are however some potential bright spots among the darkness.

in response to Hamdan V Rumsfeld John Dean argued against the MCA as it was being drafted.

Since the inception of the Bush Administration's war against terror, the President has claimed - unreasonably and without justification - that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to this war with stateless forces such as al Qaeda (or similar organizations) for they are not signatories to the Geneva Conventions. But Bush is wrong.

The Hamdan Court explained that "Article 3, often referred to as Common Article 3 because ... it appears in all four Geneva Conventions" applies here. Moreover, the Court noted, Common Article 3 prohibits "the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

So the question is no longer purely a Constitutional one, but one which begs whether the Military Tribunals which have now been authorized actually satisfy Geneva as "regularly constituted courts". But clearly they do not include "all the judicial guarantees" - since Habeas is regards to "Enemy Combatants" is now non-functional.

Under Article VI it states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

By Ratifying Geneva in 1948, we have made it a part and equal to our own law and Constitution. This is further reiterated by Justice Stevens in Hamdan.

Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (III)Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,Aug. 12,1949, [1955 ] 6 U..S.T.3316,3318,T.I.A.S.No.3364. The provision is part of a treaty the United States has ratified and thus accepted as binding law.See id.,at 3316. By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered "war crimes," punishable as federal offenses,when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel. See 18 U.S.C.§2441. There should be no doubt,then,that Common Article 3 is part of the law of war as that term is used in §821.

Even though Bush has attempted to Redefine both Geneva, Torture and War Crimes with this Act - rewriting 18 U.S.C.18 U.S.C.§2441 into a laundry list what allegedly is and isn't covered - the core issue here is still whether these new tribunals are "regularly constituted" and whether this breach of Geneva would actually overide Congresses own legitimate authority to suspend Habeas?

On that point I am far from certain of the outcome.

There is another argument to made however - the Suspension of Habeas under the MCA (quoted above) clearly applies to "Alien Enemy Combatants" not neccesarily U.S. citizens, although U.S. Citizens can clearly be considered Enemy Combatants under this law - Hamdi (who is a U.S. Citizen) supports this view - the disparate treatment here between U.S. Citizens (who still retain some form of Habeas relief) and Non-Citizens who do not may present a 14th Amendment Equal Protection Challenge.

Hamdi was the first case to extend the 14th to cover areas outside the U.S. (such as those being held in Gitmo), this just might be the first case that I know of - if such a challenge is brought - to extend the 14th to Non-citizens under U.S. Jurisdiction and control. There are two suits against the MCA already, time will tell...

Although Habeas is now gone for aliens, the ability to challenge ones status as an Unlawful Enemy Combatant itself has been upheld and is retained in the current law (as part of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal).

``(c) DETERMINATION OF UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT STATUS DISPOSITIVE.--A finding, whether before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense that a person is an unlawful enemy combatant is dispositive for purposes of jurisdiction for trial by military commission under this chapter.

Basically there are two Tribunals, the first of which is established by the President or SecDef for establish the status of a detainee. (Ironically, this is in according with Geneva, which requires that all persons of unknown status be given a hearing to determine their status). Under both the MCA and the Detainee Treament Act of 2005, the findings of the CSRT can be appealed to the DC Circuit Court.

This Judicial Obsticle Course is at least a maginal improvement over the current sitaution where we already know most of the combatants held at Gitmo are innocent and we've refused to release them.

[A deposition by Brig. Gen. Karpinski's (former Abu Ghraib CO)] cited the comments of another official, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, who told her, "I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians! We're winning the war!" A former commander of the 320th Military Police Battalion notes in a sworn statement, "It became obvious to me that the majority of our detainees were detained as the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were swept up by Coalition Forces as peripheral bystanders during raids. I think perhaps only one in ten security detainees were of any particular intelligence value."

Clearly if one is found by the CSRT to not be an Unlawful Combatant, one would not automatically go free. What should occur - in a far more prefect world than this one - is that they would then be relegated to the regular Civilian or Courts Marshal as a "Lawful Enemy Combatant". The CSRT itself is far from a "Get out of GITMO Free" Card. If the CSRT finding is "Unlawful", the detainee then skips "Go" and heads forward to his Military Tribunal Only if the President subsequently seeks to press charges -- if he does not, that person disappears into a black hole. Forever.

The very existence of this law is extremely onerous - particular the section which reduces the Geneva-based prohibitions against "Offenses to Personal Dignity" and instead prohibits torture - sort of.

TORTURE: Any person subject to this chapter who commits an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commis-sion under this chapter may direct.

...

The term `serious physical pain or suffering'
means bodily injury that involves--
``(I) a substantial risk of death;
``(II) extreme physical pain;
``(III) a burn or physical disfigurement of a
serious nature (other than cuts, abrasions, or
bruises); or
``(IV) significant loss or impairment of the
function of a bodily member, organ, or mental
faculty.

Guess what folks, the Bybee memo is now the law. A simple reading makes it plainly obvious that non-lethal methods of humiliation, and "non-severe" pain, which leave no visible marks, burns, cuts or abrasion and do not risk "organ failure" -- are absolutely permissable. This act is like a "How To" manual on how to became a Totalitarian Dictatorship, which is further underscored by the fact that coerced testimony is now allowed

STATEMENTS OBTAINED BEFORE ENACTMENT OF DETAINEE
TREATMENT ACT OF 2005.--A statement obtained before December
30, 2005 (the date of the enactment of the Defense Treatment
Act of 2005) in which the degree of coercion is disputed may be admitted only if the military judge finds that--
``(1) the totality of the circumstances renders the statement reliable and possessing sufficient probative value; and
``(2) the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement into evidence.

And for coercion which occured after the DTA this is added:

``(3) the interrogation methods used to obtain the statement do not amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment prohibited by section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.

What is most tragic here, is the well known fact that Coercive Interrogation Techniques Simply don't Work. The subject is more likely to lie and fabricate than actually provide valid information. These heavy-handed uber-macho measures by the Administration are completely unneccesary. Ibn al-Libi was tortured and lied to us. Abu Zubaydah actually gave us some good information before he was tortured, then started lying after he was. If we want good and accurate information to protect Americans, coercian and pseudo torture is not the way - and it completely destroys the moral justification for our War against terror when we behave like terrorists.

Innocent muslims such as Abu Omar and Maher Arar have already been unlawfully detained (kidnapped actually in Omar's case) rendered to Egypt and Syria where they were tortured.

In Iraq AP Reporter Bilal Hussein has been held by U.S. Forces for the past five months - without a hearing.

These are not isolated cases - to date the U.S. nearly 50,000 people under detention worldwide. We're talking about a major humanitary crises here.

But if you listen to the Wingnut Brigade, the Human Rights and Dignity of these individuals of no concern to them what so ever - the goal of this law is FEAR - especially the fear into the New York Times and WaPo Editorial Board.

From RedState.com

One sees immediately why the definition of treason makes the Washington Post editorial board queasy. If they vacation in the Caribbean (how déclassé) they would prefer it not be at Club Gitmo and definitely not preceded by Donald Rumsfeld's bully boys kicking in their door, being flexi-cuffed, tossed in a blacked out LearJet with bogus registration numbers, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and then allotted a no-amenities guest room with Abdul.

Let's get serious - this isn't about stopping the next major bombing attack on U.S. Soil - it's about shutting up James Risen and all the reporters who've released classified material (like Bob Woodward) which happen to be a) True and b) Display a propensity for the Bush Administration to violate the law (such as FISA).

Now they've managed to use the law itself to justify their lawbreaking. Undoing this law completely will be difficult if not impossible until the Presidency changes hands, and even if it is corrected the damage to our international prestige may in fact be permenent. Meanwhile Al Qaeda is laughing at us as we gradually destroy ourselves and our own values.

Heckuvajob Bushie.

Vyan