Torture in the name of the USA and Jesus Christ

Regarding all the recent back and forth regarding what the definition of “torture” is and what the Geneva Conventions mean, and whether we should be engaging in torture or “coercive interrogation” — here’s my two cents, for what they’re worth.

1. If you wouldn’t allow someone to do it to your own kids, it’s torture.
If Bush wouldn’t run the twins through it, then he shouldn’t be doing to anyone else. If you wouldn’t want it done to the people that you love, then it’s MORALLY WRONG for it to be done to anyone. What Bush is doing is immoral and unchristian. Keep in mind that they people they’re interrogating haven’t been convicted of anything. We don’t know if any of them are actually guilty of anything. Some of them are American citizens. If we allow this in the name of the “War on Terror”, what’s to stop them from using it in the next “War on ________” — a war that you might accidentally get caught up in?

2. It’s been proven that torturing people doesn’t gain you real information.
Over and over this has been proven — people will tell you what they think you want to hear if you torture them. They don’t give away secrets at all, they make shit up. There’s no evidence we’ve gained any useful information from any of they people they’ve tortured so far.

3. The rest of the world already hates us — why validated their hatred?
I’ve said it over and over again, but it bears repeating — Bush is making all their lies true. He’s taking all the false rhetoric of fanatical countries and making us the mirror image of it. The more he does this, the more they hate us. We aren’t “rooting out terrorists” anywhere — we’re systematically making more of them. This is a war that will never, ever end, because we’re constantly manufacturing more of our enemies through our own actions.

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Chertoff: We Can’t Protect the Ports. Scientists: We Must Protect the Ports

At the same time that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is telling a Senate committee that we can’t afford to protect our ports from terrorist attack, and that we shouldn’t because Osama’s goal is to drive us into bankruptcy (New York Times article)….
Scientists are telling us that our biggest terrorist threat is a stolen nuclear weapon coming through the U.S. Ports system, and that to not recognize that this is a danger is an “ongoing failure of imagination” (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists).
Meanwhile, we’re all still taking off our shoes at the airport and throwing away our shampoo, while our goverment spends $100 billion dollars a year in Iraq.
This is the bit where the hero’s supposed to chime in with “I’ll protect the ports!” and we all say “my hero.”
What, that’s not going to happen?

Continue ReadingChertoff: We Can’t Protect the Ports. Scientists: We Must Protect the Ports

Journalist under criminal charges for filming Katrina evacuees

A journalist and a TV producer working on a piece about Katrina refugees have been charged with the crime of videotaping a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana… Palast Charged with Journalism in the First Degree:

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It’s been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW’s (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, “It is a prison set-up” — except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.
To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation’s second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.
So we filmed it. Without Big Brother’s authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a “critical infrastructure” asset.
So now Matt and I have a “criminal complaint” lodged against us with the feds.

Dectective Pananepinto, in justifying our impending bust, said, “If you remember, a lot of people were killed on 9/11.”
Yes, Detective, I remember that very well: my office was in the World Trade Center. Lucky for me, I was out of town that day. It was not a lucky day for 3,000 others.
Yes, I remember “a lot” of people were killed. So I have this suggestion, Detective — and you can pass it on to Mr. Bush: Go and find the people who killed them.

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Picking apart Gary Welsh’s coverage

Gary Welsh has a blog post about a recent Washington Post article on the London Terror Plot, in which he takes the opportunity to make some swipes at my blog posts about the event.

“While many bloggers opposed to President Bush’s policies for fighting the war on terror scoffed at initial reports that Islamic terrorists were planning to bring down U.S. airplanes headed from London to the U.S. this month…”

Wrong. I never scoffed at the plot itself, I scoffed at the government’s spin job on the terror plot, and the media’s hysterical reporting of the overly-hyped, politically-timed reports from the government. You quoted me yourself, Gary: “(Let me clarify that — I don’t think they’re constructing a terrorist plot out of whole cloth to scare us. I think they’re making a mountain out of a molehill, and that we’re not really in any danger.)”

The reality is that we were never in any danger. As you can see yourself in the Post article, the attack wasn’t anywhere near imminent, and the British government was monitoring the proceedings almost from the start. I was about as likely to be killed as I would be to suffer a farming accident. The government reports of “mass murder on an unimaginable scale” were completely out of line, if not criminally negligent.

The bloggers who were quick to doubt the original terrorist plot claim are saying little about today’s news.

Possibly because I didn’t read the Post article, Gary. I’m not a right-wing nut, so I don’t read that paper with the religious fervor that you apparently do, considering you equate that one article with all of “today’s news.”

Continue ReadingPicking apart Gary Welsh’s coverage

Fear Itself

From Kung Fu Monkey, via Masson’s Blog:

FDR: Oh, I’m sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we’re coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How’s that going to feel?
CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We’ll be in the pub, flipping you off. I’m slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I’m sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.
U.S. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike … NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

Read the whole thing from Kung Fu Monkey, because it’s funny, and smart. I love monkeys. They are so cool.

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Airports give 11 cases of unopened deodorants to homeless

According to CNN, “Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport planned to give 11 boxes of surrendered items to the city’s human services department, which will give the unopened bottles of shampoo, toothpaste and other items to homeless shelters.”
Okay, this shit makes no damned sense whatsoever. If this stuff is potentially explosive, why give it to the homeless? If it’s not, why not let people take it on the damned plane?
Especially since it’s now clear that the UK terrorists weren’t anywhere near carrying out their plot, and had even worked themselves up to a “dry run.” Most of them didn’t even have passports, let alone airline tickets. So confiscating all the liquids was pointless, since there was no real expectation that any actually attack was imminent.
Come the fuck on. This is obviously nothing more than a political ploy to make it seem like they’re doing something, and it’s fucking ridiculous.
As I said from the very beginning — it’s all bullshit and fearmongering. And nothing but politics, politics politics.
I wonder when the airlines, who’ve taken the brunt of this latest political ploy both in security chaos and stock plummets, will start to backlash against the White House.

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Bush chastizes blind guy for wearing sunglasses

In case you missed it, yesterday Bush was taking questions in the Rose Garden after his recent Wag the Dog visiting Iraq stunt, and he stopped to give a reporter a hard time for wearing sunglasses while asking him a question. Turns out the reporter is blind.
Not the first time the president has made this particular type of mistake, either. Back on May 9th, he gave a guy in a wheelchair a hard time for sitting down in is presence.
I wondered when I read about this whether Bush had watched that West Wing episode where Jed Bartlett chastizes the Dr. Laura-type character for remaining seated in the presence of the president, and decided that he gets to call people out for not respecting him. Too bad Bush doesn’t merit any of the respect normally accorded to the Oval Office.

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Media Matters calls the mainstream media on their Bush Cheerleading

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Jamison Foser nails the mainstream media, who seem to always call in favor of Bush, even when the average person on the street strongly disapproves of him:

Logic BunnyThink about that for a moment: Lauer suggests that Bush’s low approval rating is a good thing for Republican candidates, because now, they can run away from him. We assume Lauer would agree that it would be a positive for Republican candidates if Bush had a high approval rating. What, then, is left? Can anything be bad news for Republicans?

How about this: the latest Pew poll, which found only a 33-percent approval rating for Bush, asked participants to describe their impression of him. The most frequently-used word? “Incompetent.” “Idiot” and “Liar” also came in near the top of the list. And tied for the 10th spot were “Leader” and “Ass,” just beating out “Jerk.” That’s right: as many people described Bush as an “ass” as called him a “leader.” Keep that in mind the next time some pundit (we’re looking at you, Matthews) praises Bush’s leadership abilities.

For some reason, no matter how many polls show that, to put it bluntly, people don’t like much of anything about George Bush, journalists can’t help overestimating his strength and support.

It’s about time media stop portraying every new controversy as a danger to Democrats, and start recognizing that these things are threats to Republicans: they’re the people in charge of a government widely seen as incompetent and corrupt; they’re the party led by a horribly unpopular president; and they’re the people who pushed a soundly rejected Social Security privatization scheme. And yet, media see everything as an opportunity for them, and a danger for Democrats. Osama bin Laden may be dead? Good news for Republicans: They got bin Laden! New tapes prove bin Laden is still alive? Good news for Republicans: It reminds people of the threat of terrorism! Democrats don’t criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are timid! Democrats do criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are shrill!


Continue ReadingMedia Matters calls the mainstream media on their Bush Cheerleading

How to Run A Country

Shamelessly stolen from the comments section at Taking Down Words:

On his trip to Great Britain, George Bush had a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. He asked her, “How does one manage to run a country so smoothly?”
“That`s easy,” she replied, “You surround yourself with intelligent ministers and advisors.”
“But how can I tell whether they are intelligent or not?” he inquired.
“You ask them a riddle,” she replied, and with that she pressed a button and said, “Would you please send Tony Blair in.”
When Blair arrived, the Queen said, “I have a riddle for you to answer for me. Your parents had a child and it was not your sister and it was not your brother. Who was this child?”
Blair replied, “That’s easy. The child was me.”
“Very good,” said the Queen, “You may go, now.”
So President Bush went back to Washington and called in Karl Rove. He said to him, “I have a riddle for you, and the answer is very important. Your parents had a child and it was not your sister and it was not your brother. Who was this child?”
Rove replied, “Yes, it is clearly very important that we determine the answer, as no child must be left behind. Can I deliberate on this for a while?” “Yes,” said Bush, “I’ll give you four hours to come up with the answer.”
So Rove went and called a meeting of the White House Staff, and asked them the riddle. But after much discussion and many suggestions, none of them had a satisfactory answer. So he was quite upset, not knowing what he would tell the President.
As Rove was walking back to the Oval Office, he saw former Secretary of State Colin Powell approaching him. So he said, “Mr. Secretary, can you answer this riddle for me. Your parents had a child and it was not your sister and it was not your brother. Who was the child?”
“That’s easy,” said Powell, “The child was me.”
“Oh thank you,” said Rove, “You may just have saved me my job!”
So Rove went in to the Oval Office and said to President Bush, “I think I know the answer to your riddle. The child was Colin Powell!”
“No, you idiot!” shouted Bush, “The child was Tony Blair!”

Continue ReadingHow to Run A Country