Is the Daily Show seriously the only news show out there with a research team, and video archives? Or even Google?

EDIT: Okay, the embed worked on preview, but not when posted, so here's the link: The Parent Company Trap
Okay, so George W. Bush has publicly admitted to ordering people tortured. "“Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I’d do it again to save lives.”"

It didn't save lives. The people that we, as a country, tortured while George W. Bush was president provided no useful intel to prevent future terrorist attacks. We used torture techniques specifically designed by countries like North Korea to force false confessions.

It saved no lives. It prevented no attacks. All it did was make petty, evil people feel good for hurting someone we already held as a helpless prisoner. We threw away our ethics, ideals, and image as the "good guys" for nothing but petty revenge for petty people.

NOW can we put the bastard on trial?
Well, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that "companies have a free-speech right to spend as much as they wish to persuade voters to elect or defeat candidates for Congress and the White House."

Which is, of course, sheerest bullshit, because a corporation is not a person, and has no "free speech rights". Nice to know bribery's legal now, though. This is a hell of a lot more important than some nut winning an election in Massachusetts. And bodes much much worse for our country.

The Worst Presidency Ever is a gift that just keeps on giving.
The Federal Reserve is stealing their MO from Dr. Evil. (The resemblance is uncanny.) Why do we need to give $700,000,000,000 to Wall Street "geniuses" who lost trillions of dollars already?  Why that particular amount? "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number." Dr. Henry Paulson will hold the world hostage with the threat of RECESSION NOW! (while last week the "fundamentals of our economy were sound" of course) unless we give him SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!  MWAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Just, no.

Dude...

Apr. 15th, 2008 12:39 pm
So, last Friday, George W. Bush admitted, on national TV, that he knew of and authorized torture. And not just him, but his whole "national security team". Seriously.

"At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft."

And the only one who spoke up at all? John Friggin Ashcroft. But he only thought that the top officials shouldn't be involved in it. "Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.

According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly." "

No Mr. Ashcroft, it won't. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft all were there and authorized torture. They all are guilty of war crimes. All of these people should have been removed from power long ago, and should be in prison for their crimes.

Now we know why the Bush administration was so against the International Criminal Court. Not just because of their generic hatred of any kind of international agreement. But because they were covering their own asses so they wouldn't end up in a prison cell in the Hague on trial for their crimes.

This is what the modern Republican party has come to. Even "respectable" Colin Powell was involved. These people cannot be allowed to lead our nation further into this kind of depravity. They should all be on trial for their crimes. Right now.
The CIA Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations

"The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said."

So the tapes were destroyed in 2005. Before they were destroyed, tapes of interrogations were requested by the 9/11 commission, a Congressional investigatory panel, and at least one judge. They weren't turned over to any of them. What's the CIA's excuse?

"General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

“What matters here is that it was done in line with the law,” he said. He said in his statement that he was informing agency employees because “the press has learned” about the destruction of the tapes."

This deserves only one word of response. BULLSHIT.

The CIA can easily reassign agents, so said agents would be nowhere near any "Al Queda" assassins. But even if they were such a security risk, and "no longer had intelligence value", why did they wait until the press found out about them?

"A former intelligence official who was briefed on the issue said the videotaping was ordered as a way of assuring “quality control” at remote sites following reports of unauthorized interrogation techniques. He said the tapes, along with still photographs of interrogations, were destroyed after photographs of abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib became public in May 2004 and C.I.A. officers became concerned about a possible leak of the videos and photos.

He said the worries about the impact a leak of the tapes might have in the Muslim world were real.

It has been widely reported that Mr. Zubaydah was subjected to several tough physical tactics, including waterboarding, which involves near-suffocation. But C.I.A. officers judged that the release of photos or videos would nonetheless provoke a strong reaction."

In other words, it'd be a lot harder to keep up the pretense that waterboarding isn't torture, and we haven't been torturing people, if people actually got to see it as it was done.

This is what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of their gang have brought our country to. Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, impeach them now. And throw them in jail, along with the rest of their corrupt administration.

Spenser Ackerman has more.
The entire Republican party, both in Congress and the Executive Branch, continues to endorse, support, and order torture. Every time anything has come up about torture, the Republican party has been unanimous in support, all of the opposition has come from the Democratic party. All of the Republican presidential candidates are enthusiastic in their support for torture and more war, except for Ron Paul. Torture isn't some fringe thing, it's endorsed and condoned by the entire national Republican party.

But that's been evident for years, and because of that, I'm no longer surprised or outraged by it, but I should be. But because of their constant support for torture, I don't expect anything better from the Republicans. I do hope for better from the Democrats, which is why I get so mad when I see things like this:

The nomination fight over attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey effectively came to an end yesterday, as two key Senate Democrats parted from their colleagues and announced their support for the former judge despite his controversial statements on torture.

The orchestrated announcements by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) virtually guarantee that Mukasey will be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, to be followed by his likely confirmation in the full Senate later in the month.


Great job leading there, Sen. Feinstein. Cave of Bush's newest hack to appoint to the Justice Department. Sure, so he won't disavow torture, because then he'd have to prosecute Bush and Cheney and the rest of the administration for war crimes, but hey, let's approve him anyway! Who needs little things like the Rule of Law, or calling the administration to account for its crimes or anything like that.

Fucking Democrats. Ohnoes! The Republicans might attack you as "soft on terror" or other bullshit if you don't approve breaking our laws and torturing people! Oh, wait they're going to do it anyway, because the Republican party has gone screaming off the edge of madness. So instead of fighting for something so basic as "We're the United States of America. We don't torture people," you cave so you don't look "weak" even though you'll get attacked THE SAME EXACT WAY, and you'll... look weak, because you caved.

GREAT GAME PLAN, GUYS!
The Bush administration is still torturing people.

"Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard."

Even after Congress specifically passed a law banning it. Which shouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

What's it called when the President breaks the law? And gives up our moral authority, and oh yeah, tortures people? I'd call that a High Crime or so. I think there's even a specific clause in the Constitution about what to do when the President does stuff like that.

Yeah, that's it. Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney. Impeach them now.
2 years on, New Orleans is still a disaster area, thousands of houses haven't been cleaned up, tens to hundreds of thousands of people who lived there haven't been able to return. And not because they found new places. Many still live in FEMA "emergency" trailers. More than half the recovery money hasn't been spent at all, and much of the rest of it has somehow worked its way into the pockets of people without actually getting anything rebuilt.

Oh yeah. And police and mercenaries are keeping people out of their homes.

There's your "compassionate conservativism," in its full hypocritical glory.

Remember how the impeachment farce for Bill Clinton was "not about the sex, it was about the lies" according to Serious Media People and the Republicans?

Okay, let's pretend for a moment that Serious Media People and Republicans have any kind of intellectual integrity.

By that logic, the first half of this video should be enough to get pretty much the entire Bush administration impeached. I'll wait over here while they start the proceedings.

*crickets chirp*

(Not that anything in that video wasn't public knowledge to begin with years ago, hell, the fact there weren't WMD in Iraq was proved before the war. But y'know, who cares about little things like Truth, terrorists might blow up your airplane with soda! My country is completely fucking crazy.)
Alberto Gonzales manages continuously to make hi predecessor look like a staunch defender of civil liberties and the rule of law. Considering John Ashcroft was arguably crazy, perfectly happy to spy on peace groups, and offended by a statue's tit, that's saying a LOT.

The latest bit? A story, which responsible journalists would have brought out years ago. At one point, John Ashcroft was sick and in the hospital, so his #2 guy was acting AG. He told the White House they couldn't re-authorize a program the Bush administration wanted because they couldn't justify it's legality. Bush's own hand-picked DOJ folks couldn't justify it. So then the #2 got word from Ashcroft's wife that two guys from the Bush administration were coming over to Ashcroft's hospital room, to try and get him to authorize it. Those two men were Mr. Card and Mr. Alberto Gonzales. For more detail, let me quote from the words of Mr. Comey, who was Ashcroft's #2 in the DOJ. A sick man, midnight rides, and manipulative thugs )

John Ashcroft said no, and was willing to resign because of it, along with half the high ranking people in the DoJ, and Bush's head of the FBI. That's astonishing. Not just that there was a line that no, these cronies wouldn't cross. Think about it. The Bush administration was willing to pressure a sick man in a hospital, to keep doing something even their own cronies couldn't justify by any tortured logic. We don't know specifically what the something is, but the indications seem to be it had to do with warrantless wiretapping. And one of the thugs sent to try and pressure the sick man in the hospital is now the Attorney General.

Doesn't that just make you feel safer already?

Impeach Alberto Gonzales. Impeach Dick Cheney. Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach them now.

(hilzoy has more and more.)
As a last-ditch effort, President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure, an order that Pentagon officials say would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they struggle to man both wars.

Okay, so. We're supposed to take 20,000 troops from Afghanistan, where we're still fighting the people who actually sheltered Al-Queda, and throw them into Iraq without any plan, other than to let Bush try and stave off admitting that he and his totally fucked up Iraq from day one? In their quest to pretend they're not actually losing Iraq, they're going to lose Afghanistan. Where we actually had a chance to carry out all the stuff about rebuilding a country, creating a beacon of peace and democracy, really WERE greeted as liberators, etc. And so now that's slipping away and the Taliban are regrouping, and Iraq is almost complete chaos, so let's throw thousands of soldiers into Iraq with no plan for what they'd actually do, just to avoid facing reality and prop up their fantasies with more dead soldiers.

Fuck. He really is the Worst. President. Ever.
Katherine has another post over on Obsidian Wings about the torture bill the President is going to sign, and the innocent people down at Gitmo. And like one of the commenters said, "What am I going to do? I'm going to go to work, come home, get dinner, sleep, and do it again tomorrow." But what can I do? The President sure as shit doesn't care. He was the one pushing for these atrocities from the beginning. The Republicans in Congress don't care, and they control the Congress. The Media doesn't care enough to even investigate this properly and put this anywhere other than buried in an editorial or on like page A58. I've sent letters to the editor to my local papers, none of them have even bothered to reply. When I discuss this with people, I mostly get told to "shut up about politics", because people either don't care or don't want to know.

So what else can I do? The people in charge are actively for this kind of evil and don't give a shit what I or anyone else thinks. I guess there's nothing to it but to get them out of power, which I've been doing parts to.

But still, fuck.
Man, it's a good thing Safeway managed to force the unions to accept drastic cuts to pay and benefits for new hires a couple months ago. Otherwise, the whole company would be out of business now!

Oh, wait, not.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based parent of the Vons and Pavilions grocery chains said Thursday that fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 42% as it continued to roll out stores based on its so-called lifestyle format, which features high-end meat and produce as well as design flourishes such as subdued lighting and earth-tone color schemes. (use BugMeNot)

Man, just think! If they had to pay decent wages to all their new people, their profit might have only gone up say, 30%! THE HORROR. But what makes this even more delightful? Wall Street's reaction. "Although the results matched Wall Street's expectations, Safeway's stock initially sank more than 7% when the company didn't raise its full-year profit outlook and investors worried about thinner profit margins. The stock recovered to close down 42 cents, or 1.4%, at $29.11." They're making 42% profit because they're ripping off their employees, and the stock market says that's not enough. THAT'S the source of a lot of the problems with corporate America, because everything has to be aimed at making the next quarter more profitable to keep the sharks at bay, which means little things like "long term planning" get thrown out the window.
The following Senators approve of torture and secret prisons and holding people without evidence. These are their names, may they live forever in infamy. There are 12 Democrats and 53 Republicans on the list. These are the Senators who are so scared of something, either "the terrorists" or Karl Rove, that they're willing to give up their humanity.

The Names of the Damned )

The following Senators don't. There are 33 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 Republican on the list. At least they tried.

But There Weren't Enough )

I'm just going to link to the House summary, but 219 Republicans and 34 Democrats joined the ranks of the damned, and 160 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 7 Republicans opposed it.

Also in favor, one Republican President and one Republican VP.

The Republican Party is overwhelmingly officially in favor of torture, secret prisons, "disappearing" people, and similar travesties of justice. I can only hope that this will be something that leaves them deservedly cast aside on the ash heap of history with the other monsters, ones we'd thought were confined to the past but I guess aren't.
It was nice while we knew ya.

Also, the War on Terror is over. Freedom lost.

(Also, goddamn, that's a pathetic article, but I've found no better. "Human rights groups say..." what, the fucking reporters can't look at the fucking bill and say yes or no, this allows the president to pick people and lock them away FOREVER with no evidence, no trials, no appeals, and also torture them? Cthulhu on a crutch!)
Recently, thanks to this discussion over at Obsidian Wings, I realized something about the Neo-cons and the Bush administration as a whole. Their goals aren't mine, and when they use words, they mean something completely different than I do. Oh, that's obvious, in hindsight, and I knew it, but I didn't understand what they meant, but now I do, I think. At least somewhat.

It's not just that they're incompetent (though that's certainly part of it). When they talk about National Security, they don't mean what I mean. When I talk about it, I mean protecting the American people, and what makes us America. Things that make it less likely we'll get blown up. By terrorists, by war, by accident. That sort of thing.

When they talk about National Security, what they're worried about protecting is American Power. And a specific kind of power. The power to do whatever we want. The power to blow shit up at will. If I'm being charitable, I can credit that to them figuring they need power to protect the American people. Which is true, to an extent. But their priorities are all messed up.

This is part of why they hate the UN, and hate international agreements that require that we do stuff. They see this as restricting American power. As restricting our Freedom. Even when these things do much to make us all safer and less likely to be blown up. They've even spelled it out in various things put out by their think tanks, like the batshit crazy Project for a New American Century and similar groups. Lines like not wanting any nation or group of nations to threaten American supremacy. There's a lot of similarity to the more extreme Libertarians. They're concerned with freedom FROM things, and don't pay attention to freedom TO.

Okay, that last sentence could deserve an essay of its own, but here's a brief explanation. Freedom's not a simple thing. Sometimes, having less freedom to do some things gives you more freedom to do others, or to do more things. Here's a basic example. Are you less free because the law says you have to drive on the right side of the road? (Except in England and other crazy places) Well, sure you are. You don't have the freedom to drive on either side of the road, or weave around through it. But by requiring people to drive only on one side of the road, you're free to not have to dodge everybody coming toward you on whichever side of the road. You're free to actually drive places in relative safety. That's what most of society is. It's little bits of freedom we give up, in exchange for other freedoms. Things we agree not to do, so we can all do other things. We agree not to run around randomly shooting people, so we don't randomly get shot and can walk around free of fear and armor. That's what civilization is.

And it works the same way between countries. But the neo-cons don't care, or don't see that. They're obsessed with fancy military power, shiny planes and boats and missiles. Which are only coincidentally phallic, really. And once you have those, it's such a shame to have them just sitting around, they really should get used. It's a temptation I can understand, even if it was just pixel tanks in Civilization. So a treaty forbidding us to build nuclear weapons is bad, even if it forbids everybody else from building nukes. We're "freer" to have nukes. And also "freer" to die in a nuclear holocaust or the aftermath. Or with Iraq. We're freer to invade countries at will (except, y'know, for most of our military being tied up there), but we as individuals are also less free to travel, because of the animus toward America. We're freer to bomb people, but also freer to get blown up by somebody looking for revenge for their friend/neighbor/parent/child/sibling who we blew up. That's stupid freedom. They're attacking the whole structure underlying civilization and making us all less safe and less free. Because when you don't have any security, the hypothetical freedom to do anything you want doesn't matter a damn bit.

And this is what makes them so dangerous. Because at least some of them believe they're doing things for the best for all of us. They believe they're doing Good Things. And they talk in language that people like, even though they don't mean the same things with it most people do. Which in no way makes them good. Evil isn't cackling villains with handlebar moustaches. It's people who're also convinced they're the Good Guys, and on the side of Mom, Apple Pie, and Cute Kittens.

The other thing that makes them so dangerous is they don't see any of this. They don't see that what they're doing is making us less safe AND making us weaker. They don't see their efforts as being counterproductive. They don't see how their actions are hurting themselves and their own goals. The best analogy is they're like the aristocrats who hate to see other people getting rich. They hate to see "common people" getting wealthy, even when they get richer too. They're not looking at the absolute quality of things, of everybody being better off. Just the relative differences. Like a medieval king who lives worse than a poor person today, but compared to the peasants... And keeps the peasants down, even when letting them get better off would help him too. Their vision is short and narrow.

But the real thing that makes them dangerous is they're in power, without any kind of effective opposition.

A thought

Nov. 10th, 2005 12:55 am
Y'know, if we want to win a war against people who decry us as evil, maybe the best way to start would, oh, I don't know. Maybe by... NOT BEING EVIL.

So that'd mean things like not torturing prisoners (especially ones who aren't even guilty of anything!), firing incendiary weapons into cities full of civilians, that sort of thing. Not invading countries based on false claims, and then totally fucking up the occupation so lots of people die needlessly. Oooh, hey, and we could stop supporting dictators! And stop sacrificing national security for petty political reasons. And stop lying to the public about everything.

So, in other words, we'd have to be everything the modern Republican Party isn't.
The United States is still holding people in secret jails and torturing them.

Pining for the days when we were a civilized country.

Technorati Tags: Politics, News, Evil
Much as I'd like to watch Patrick Fitzgerald indict the corrupt bunch running DC right now, I can't see it happening. I mean, these guys were happy to lie us into a war, lie about their budgets, tax cuts, opponents, and their own policies. They've continually put their own power and their party ahead of the interests of the nation. So of COURSE Bush is going to end up pardoning everybody involved, just like his daddy pardoned all the Iran-Contra people before they could testify about his involvement in selling weapons to terrorists. And there's no way in hell the Republicans in Congress would impeach Bush Jr.

It's really pretty depressing.

Technorati Tags: Politics, News, Evil

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