21 April, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

We have a veritible parade of the ridiculous today. Must be a day ending in "y".

Let's begin with a budding right-wing excuse for torture:

Just 48 hours after President Obama was inaugurated, former Bush chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen said Obama "is already proving to be the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office." With a record like this, it's probably unwise to expect much in the way of reasoned, sensible political insights from this guy.

Nevertheless, despite the vitriol and the fact that his claims haven't withstood scrutiny, Thiessen has managed to become a regular contributor to the Washington Post's op-ed page. Today, this former Bush speechwriter -- the Post now features two -- seems to argue that torturing Muslims is acceptable because they're Muslims.

Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, "as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, 'brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship." In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can -- and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that "Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable." The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.

Got that? When U.S. officials torture detainees, some of us may be inclined to think this is illegal and morally degrading. What we didn't realize is that the torturers are giving the detainees a hand.

As this argument goes, we're not torturing suspects, we're "helping" them.

That's just precious. Watching these fucktards try to justify torture is somewhat akin to watching religious folks try to prove their faith to atheists, only we're talking about torturing human beings here, not merely brainwashing them into believing in imaginary things.

We also have further reports of the extent to which the Bushies manipulated science:
In the past week, at least three scientists have come out and objected to their work on sleep deprivation being used by the CIA and Justice Department to justify torture. In one of his 2005 memos, the OLC's Steven Bradbury said that sleep deprivation causes "at most only relatively moderate decreases in pain tolerance." But one of the scholars, Dr. Bernd Kundermann from the University of Marburg, pointed out that that he was "working with healthy volunteers and didn't deprive them of sleep for more than one day without allowing them to recover." Similarly, from Dr. S. Hakki Onen from the Hôpital Gériatrique A. Charial:
"[The study subjects] were distracted from sleeplessness by playing different games, or watching soccer matches. They could eat, drink, read, and move about as they wished. [From] the American documents we learn that sleep deprivation spanned from 70 to 120 hours -- and set maximum limits of 180 hours for the hardest resisters, which is over a full week without sleep," Onen said. "In other words, they discuss starting the sleep deprivation process at nearly double the maximum we set for ethical reasons."

Methinks they were trying to use science as a whitewash. And, like everything else they did, they fucked that up, too, not to mention lied out their asses. What a shocker.

And, really, it's standard operating procedure for them. They don't want truth. They want justification for preset ideas:
From time to time, I've suggested that congressional Republicans act as if they don't believe in reading books. I stand corrected.

There aren't any sex scenes or vampires, and it won't help you lose weight. But House Republicans are tearing through the pages of Amity Shlaes' "The Forgotten Man" like soccer moms before book club night.

Shlaes' 2007 take on the Great Depression questions the success of the New Deal and takes issue with the value of government intervention in a major economic crisis -- red meat for a party hungry for empirical evidence that the Democrats' spending plans won't end the current recession.

"There aren't many books that take a negative look at the New Deal," explained Republican policy aide Mike Ference, whose boss, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, invited Shlaes to join a group of 20 or so other House Republicans for lunch earlier this year in his Capitol suite.

Well, no, there aren't many books that take a negative look at the New Deal, probably because the New Deal worked and helped pull the nation out of the Great Depression. When a leader addresses a crisis, and his or her strategy works, historians tend to write complimentary texts on the subject. They're funny that way.

But the fact that House Republicans would seek out books critical of the New Deal tells us a little something about their approach to problem-solving. For these GOP officials, one starts with the answer -- FDR bad, spending bad, government bad, Hoover good -- and works backwards, seeking out those who'll bolster their answers before the questions are even asked.

That's how Cons roll - GOPSOP - but as far as proving they're right, well, one book by a dumbfuck doesn't really change the past, now, does it?

Hypocrisy is also GOPSOP. And no one's done a better job demonstrating that today than Sen. Inhofe (R-Batshit Insane):

Yesterday on the Senate floor, Sen. James Inhofe announced that he intended to filibuster Obama's nomination of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Inhofe's announcement comes nearly three weeks after the Republican membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee boycotted Hamilton's hearing claiming that "they had not been given sufficient time to prepare for the hearing." Inhofe's filibuster is surprising given the fact that Hamilton is generally viewed as representing "some of [Indiana's] traditionally moderate strain."

Inhofe does not appear to have explained his decision to filibuster in front of his colleagues on the floor of the Senate. But in statements that he entered into the Congressional Record, Inhofe cited a 2005 ruling in Hinrichs v. Bosman in which Hamilton found that the Indiana House of Representatives may open proceedings with "non-sectarian prayers" only.

That's right. He's going to filibuster a judge for following Constitutional law - y'know, that whole Establishment Clause thing. He also seems to be confused over what the word "Allah" means. But it's the hypocrisy that makes this truly entertaining:
Additionally, Inhofe's vow to filibuster is surprising given his previous insistence that filibustering judicial nominees is "not only an illegitimate use of a senator's power, but is also literally unconstitutional." As Steve Benen notes, in 2003, "Inhofe went so far as to say any senator who would dare filibuster a judicial nominee would necessarily be violating their oath to 'support and defend the Constitution.'"

I'm a writer. I should be able to make shit like this up. But the power of the Con imagination to outstrip my own is astounding, and if I tried to write a book in which people acted this fucking stupid with a straight face, I'd be rejected for being way too unbelievable.

And yet, we get an endless stream of this outlandish fuckery every single day from our elected leaders, celebrated pundits, and mainstream media.

What a world.

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