21 May, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

From the department of No Fucking Surprises, Dan Froomkin reports:

Top White House officials waved off early warnings from the FBI that interrogation tactics being used on detainees might be illegal, according to a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general.

The report states that FBI personnel started notifying headquarters as early as 2002 that other government employees were using abusive tactics -- including sexual humiliation, prolonged hand-to-foot shackling and exposure to extreme temperatures -- on detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Justice officials conveyed some of these concerns in
at least one White House meeting in 2003, but the White House apparently ignored them. A year later, the revelation of similar abuses at Abu Ghraib became a source of everlasting shame for American citizens, a serious blow to the United States's moral authority, and a potent rallying cry for the nation's enemies.

That the White House ignored the FBI's red flags is not really surprising, considering that as of Spring 2002, top Bush aides including Vice President Cheney were reportedly micromanaging the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement. In other words, those aides -- depending in large part on secret and since-withdrawn memos from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for cover -- intentionally and specifically approved some of the tactics that alarmed the FBI.

I wish I lived in an age where this would be a shocking revelation rather than Yet Another Way The Bush Administration Proves Its Total Disregard For Law and Decency. But alas, the fact these assclowns would not only ignore FBI warnings about illegalities, but gleefully micromanage torture tactics, surprises me not at all.

This is a nice thought, though:

But knowing that the nation's top law-enforcement officials put senior White House aides on notice that the interrogation tactics they had approved were potentially illegal adds a key element to the portrait of complicity in what could someday be prosecuted as violations of U.S. torture statutes or even war crimes.

To quote one of my favorite comic book characters: "Heh heh heh... bueno."

I hope they reserve space in whatever sad, cold prison they're going to for Pastor John Hagee, who should be locked up with the rest of the obnoxious loons for being an absolute ass:

Last week, John Hagee, a televangelist sought out by John McCain for political support, expressed regret to Catholics for his attacks on the Roman Catholic Church (he’s called the church, among other things, “the great whore” and “a false cult system”). This week, it looks like it’s time for yet another apology.

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God’s behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a “hunter,” sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God’s will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

Seriously. He really did make the argument.

And the fact that McCain hasn't kicked this outrageous fucker to the curb doesn't speak well about his moral authority at all. It's one thing for people to hold odious, ridiculous views: our country allows that. But to make this idiot and the dumbshits who swallow his poison into a respected political player, that's just disgusting.

Things like this make me so very glad to be an atheist. I don't have to worry that this loon might be correct about God's purposes. Any God who would send some vicious little shit to kill 6 million of His chosen people to give the survivors a hint to move is not, in my not-so-humble opinion, a figure worthy of worship. Any lunatic who finds such a god worthy of praise and worship needs his head examined. And any politician who wants such a lunatic's endorsement needs to be kicked right off the nation's political stage.

Moving on. You recall how there's been this huge hoo-ha over Barak Obama's "appeasement" issues? He mentions a willingness to sit down and hammer out solutions with states like Iran and Syria, and the entire right wing goes into a frothing fit. You can just imagine what they'd do to someone who not only talked about talking, but is actually going to sit down and talk with one of those nasty "state sponsors of terror," right? They'd have a hairy cow with fangs. They'd be raging. They'd be denouncing the talkers as cowardly little appeasers, wouldn't they?


After eight years of stalemate and periodic tension, Israel and Syria announced Wednesday that they have launched “serious and continuous” indirect peace talks aimed at ending one of the region’s longest-running disputes.

In identical statements issued from Damascus and Jerusalem, the rival neighbors said that they are taking part in indirect negotiations with Turkish diplomats serving as mediators.

“The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind,” according to the statement. “They decided to pursue the dialogue between them in a serious and continuous way, in order to achieve the goal of comprehensive peace.”

If it's Israel doing the appeasing...

A U.S. official in Washington praised the talks. “I think Turkey played a good and useful role in this regard,” senior State Department official David Welch said of the talks, according to the Reuters news agency. “Israel and Turkey have apprised us in the past of these discussions and kept us

...that's like totally different. Of course. QED.

How long before we're rid of these two-faced pieces of shit, again?

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