Former vice-president Dick Cheney has recently come out of hiding and brought on a mystifying defense of early Bush administration policy justifying torture on anyone deemed a suspected terrorist. Further, Cheney claims that by unequivocally denouncing torture and authorizing the closure of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba , the newly elected Obama administration has left the country less safe.
If it is true concern for the safety of all Americans, some gnawing bit of humanity, or grand conceit that forces him into the sunlight, I certainly cannot say. Nonetheless, bereft of a covert position to wield power, he is forced to come down the mountain of his own delusion of greatness in order to whip up a climate of fear, portending national tragedy unless we pursue a course of policy codifying the worst human tendencies for vengeance, cruelty, and barbarism.
Early after the attacks of 9/11, Cheney told reporters that finding the perpetrators of the attack would require a strategy of “operating on the dark side.”
In his grand delusion he has become consumed by the “dark side.”
Until now, Cheney has been an enigma. A slightly out-of-focus face standing behind the sharp glare of attention focused on George Bush. A menacing scowl adding weight to the former president’s often incoherent words. Without the cover of Bush, Cheney is forced into the open to make his own disquieting case as more truth into the nature and extent of the use of torture begins to see the light of day.
His assertions that what was done was not only necessary but also legal, despite clear national and international law to the contrary, play into a veil of fear and our own private tendency to “the dark side.”
Cross me, my friends, family, and loved ones, and I will, for a brief moment at least, wish upon someone to pay – dearly. I may even wish them dead. That gives me no right to wreak my own vengeance as I see fit. Greatness is never achieved in so doing. I become sullied by the very evil I wish to vanquish.
This must be true for nations just as it is for individuals. In the end it is one person torturing another, and no twisting legal logic laid out in a memo euphemizing torture as “enhanced interrogation” changes that. If we are a nation of laws, founded on ideals of basic humanity, the only real proof of that will come from our actions.
Dick Cheney is a man who lost his moral bearing years ago. For so many important issues facing the country this decade he has been wrong at best and deceitful at worst. There was no connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, no WMD’s, the insurgents were not in their “last throes” in 2005, that was a man’s face – not quail, we did torture. Why much credence should be given to anything he says now is the mystifying part of his resurgence into the public spotlight. He is incompetent in his analysis, conceived with a skewed worldview he feels should be bullied into weaker intellectual mortals than himself – “enhanced rhetoric”, if you will, that is tantamount to psychic torture of a nation.
If terrorists seek comfort in the actions of American policy and leadership, they will find it in a man who would damage the soul of a nation in order to assert a false sense of security that rests in fear mongering and retribution.
Is evil required to defeat evil? That’s a question I can’t answer. I am not convinced humanity has ever really given the alternative a chance. There seems the ever-present risk, as in the case of Dick Cheney, of becoming consumed by that which you seek to exterminate.
It truly isn’t about the terrorists but about us. Evil exists. We must therefore strive not to be evil.
Is waterboarding torture? How about “walling” (throwing someone into a wall), or putting insects inside a “confinement box” with someone afraid of insects?
If so, and if charges are ever brought against anyone involved in committing torture, the Obama administration has announced they will be defended by government attorneys.
Four Bush-era memos defending torture where released yesterday, the full text of these memos is available here (pdf).
Following is a statement from the Deparment of Justice:
In connection with ongoing litigation, the Department of Justice today released four previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) opinions – one that OLC issued to the Central Intelligence Agency in August 2002 and three that OLC issued to the CIA in May 2005.
“The President has halted the use of the interrogation techniques described in these opinions, and this administration has made clear from day one that it will not condone torture,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We are disclosing these memos consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.”
Holder also stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct.
The Attorney General has informed the Central Intelligence Agency that the government would provide legal representation to any employee, at no cost to the employee, in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct and would take measures to respond to any proceeding initiated against the employee in any international or foreign tribunal, including appointing counsel to act on the employee’s behalf and asserting any available immunities and other defenses in the proceeding itself.
To the extent permissible under federal law, the government will also indemnify any employee for any monetary judgment or penalty ultimately imposed against him for such conduct and will provide representation in congressional investigations.
“It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department,” Holder said.
After reviewing these opinions, OLC has decided to withdraw them: They no longer represent the views of the Office of Legal Counsel.
The anticipation and excitement in Washington grows exponentially with each successive day, Saturday, Sunday, and now Monday. The streets of the city become ever more tightly wound as the afternoon sun settles into the cold western sky.
We join a tight crowd of people wrapping around the fence facing the south lawn of the White House. Tourists, to be sure, wanting to catch a glimpse of this fabled mansion, this center of power.
The crowds are tight, and slowly it turns into a little more than just a mob of tourists gawking at the White House. Shouts rise up from the crowd.
Liar! War-Monger!! You’re a liar and a War-Monger
A man and woman surge against the general flow of the inching crowd holding signs saying “I hated George Bush Before it was Cool!” I resist the temptation to tell the man that he still isn’t cool – rejecting George Bush’s disastrous presidency isn’t about being “cool”
I make my way toward the middle of the fence and spy what it is the crowd is now murmuring about – on the south lawn a few years inside the fence – a pair of shoes.
Much bonding and snapping of pictures, until a man with a very big and deadly looking gun and the unfortunate task of guarding the White House on the afternoon of George Bush’s last day in office strolls purposefully toward the object. Eying it suspiciously he ascertains that it is a pair of shoes – ceremonial, symbolic shoes – but still, just a pair of shoes. The agent walks back toward the White House.
Moments later, from behind us, another agent tells us that we must all move away from the fence, to a more secure area further back. Presumably beyond shoe-throwing distance.
We’re just trying to say Goodbye to George Bush.
And keeping a watchful eye over the entire proceedings:
A jerk and a bigot
Eddie Burke is a local Anchorage shock-jock wanna-be with a radio show mislabeled as “smart radio”. In reality Eddie Burke is apparently little more than a foul-mouthed, small-minded right-wingtip idiot. But I don’t want to sound biased. Let’s look at the evidence.
We begin with a small group of Alaskan women “talking over coffee” about the political goings-on in their state and nation. They decide to organize a rally– some might call them community organizers – to voice their rejection of McCain and his running mate, their governor, Sarah Palin.
They print flyers and alert the media. KBYR Radio in Anchorage is one of those media outlets, home of Eddie Burke.
When Eddie Burke finds out about the rally, he announces it on his little radio show, calling its organizers and those who would attend
…a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots”
Such intelligent and insightful discourse gives us evidence that Eddie Burke has no class.
He then gives out the names and phone numbers of the rally organizers, urging his cadre of desperate listeners to call them up and tell them what they think; which, oddly enough, is what Eddie Burke thinks. (And that is truly a Bridge to Nowhere – Eddie Burke telling you what to think.)
Of course, people do call and leave messages full of vehement hatred, but the women are undaunted.
As it turns out, an estimated 1500 people show up, the biggest rally in the history of the state (bigger than the one for Palin’s “triumphant” return to Alaska after her “lipstick on a pitbull” (or whatever) speech that the media breathlessly – and stupidly – covered.
Obviously not anticipating the level of disgust the McPalin ticket brings to many Alaskans, Eddie Burke and his crowd show up about 20–strong. Go get ‘em tiger. And so Eddie Burke does. But when trying to address the media, he is surrounded by Obama supporters chanting “O-Bah-Mah, O-Bah-Mah, O-Bah-Mah”
Kind of like “Drill – baby – drill” only smarter.
Little Eddie Burke (he’s actually not that little) and his tiny band of Palin supporters (or perhaps those who just know a “socialist” when they see one – they looked it up on wikipedia) are drowned out by the vein of emotion tapped at the rally, an Alaskan source of energy that this country truly needs. Providing evidence that Eddie Burke really is as dumb as he sounds on the radio.
So is Eddie Burke Sarah Palin’s kind of guy?
McCain on Palin’s Foreign Policy
McCain said Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska is close to Russia. This wasn’t something I read on a blog or heard on Fox News. I saw McCain hold a microphone in that awkward way he does (another story for another time) and heard those words part from his lips.
McCain on Palin’s Energy Policy and Experience
“Sara Palin knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the country” – John McCain.
Oh really? Take that scientists, technicians, entrepreneurs, business owners, speculators, bloggers, writers, anybody who’s read a book about energy or entropy, or anything remotely scientific… Oh, and lest we forget, all ya’ all at the Department of Energy. Sarah Palin knows more about energy than any of you. Combined. So when she said that Alaska provides 20% of the country’s domestic supply of oil and gas, she didn’t mean it. She knows that it isn’t even half that. So just never mind. She knows a lot about energy. Okay? Enough with your pesky questions.
Chastise Man leaves you with his favorite mantra:
We Get the Leaders We Deserve”
Our “American Hats”
John McCain asked his fellow Republicans to “take off their Republican hats and put on their American hats” while calling for a postponement to the start of the Republican convention, set to begin tomorrow in St. Paul, due to hurricane Gustav.
Senator McCain should perhaps be asking the FBI, Minneapolis police, and the Ramsey County Sheriff to take off their police thug hats and stop harassing and detaining American citizens.
A friend, who lives in Minneapolis, alerted me to a series of raids carried out over the weekend by Ramsey county sheriff SWAT team with the assistance of FBI agents.
At least four homes were entered, computers, personal journals, and political pamphlets seized while occupants were handcuffed and forced to lay on the floor. Repeated demands to see a search warrant were apparently ignored until the heavily armed officers left.
Dozens of people were also handcuffed, photographed, and detained at a public venue and meeting place for an organization called the “Republican Welcoming Committee” for “fire code violations”.
There were no reported illegal acts nor has there been any evidence proffered by any source that I could find of any conspiracy to commit any illegal acts.
It appears nothing more than an abridgment of the constitutional rights of left-wing dissidents intent on carrying out their once-guaranteed freedom of speech and assembly.
Where is the Outrage?
Any American should be concerned when they see such tactics used, but little is being reported on this, save for the links below.
We all hope for the safety of those in Gustav’s path, but there is perhaps an even larger storm brewing in this country, one that has been gaining strength for some time. And it is one for which we must not evacuate but meet head-on.
George Bush and Dick Cheney have done much to eviscerate American principals, and too many have gone along for too long, either through agreement, ignorance, or apathy.
We are left with a police state in Minneapolis on the eve of the nominating convention of the party that has given us eight years of national tragedy. What’s next?
We’re losing America and too few seem to care.
“Liberals Are Killing America”
Not only that, the 14th amendment is “predicated on nothing less than pure communism” (which is why Barack Obama is poised to “take over America”).
Further, our reliance on and addiction to Middle Eastern oil (using G.W.’s own characterization) is nothing more than a plot from liberals, headed by Al Gore, to block our blessed right to drill every last drop of oil – the environment, future generations, and true economic development and innovation be damned. Every God-fearing American knows that drilling in ANWR would provide the “opportunity to free ourselves from the bondage of tyranny from the Middle East, with very little impact on the environment”.
Liberals are killing America.
After nearly eight years of continued and relentless erosion of the founding principles upon which America was founded (a.k.a. the Constitution); after more than five years of a war of choice, sold to a frightened and supine public on false justification, poorly planned, and incompetently executed; after largely underestimating the true terrorist threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan, only to let it re-emerge stronger and smarter; after abandoning the principals of humanity that once held to the core of the spirit of America (at least in theory); after illegal imprisonment, torture, and surveillance of its own citizens; after allowing a city to drown through sheer incompetence; after neglecting our environmental heritage, wrecking the economy and burdening future generations with unfathomable debt (both environmental and economic); after making a mockery of this country in the eyes of the world, after all this and more – and all of it at the hands of neo-conservative idealogues bent on a radical un-American agenda and usurpation of power from the hands of a few into the hands of even fewer, turning the country of Paine and Jefferson, Adams and Washington into something those men might likely abhor if they knew what would one day become of their bold, if imperfect, vision – it is liberals that are killing America.
If America is dying, it is not liberals that are killing it. But neither is it conservatives – or even neo-conservatives.
It is an apathetic, uninformed, ignorant, unthinking, fat and lazy public that is killing America. It is allowing what has happened to happen, and then letting it continue in the hopes that our tanks stay full with cheap fuel and our televisions stay tuned to American Idol while the country slips away.
If this is, or ever was, a nation based on government of the people and by the people, then it is at the hands of the people that it will be allowed to die.
Liberals aren’t killing America; Conservatives aren’t killing America.
We are killing America.
-Have a Nice Day
…the citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor.
-Mark Twain, an American
A young man of conscious:
And the conscious of the King – in solidarity with his subjects :
Said with a straight face as if he has no idea, no idea at all, that the world would be a better place if he had stayed on the golf course and never set foot in Washington.
And what’s up with the jerk doing the interview? “Uh, Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?”
He “came to that” because you’re an idiot, Mr. Interviewer, the President is an idiot, and this country and the entire world will pay for it for years to come.
How is it that we have sunk so low as to take the president’s alleged abstinence from golf as some meaningful act of solidarity with those whose lives he has ruined? WHY IS THIS MAN STILL IN OFFICE??!!
If we get the leaders we deserve, then we have gone woefully astray my friend. January 2009 will come eight years too late.
I must have been sleeping in 7th grade civics class…
“There shall be oversight of or law passed constraining the Vice President of the United States – as long as his name is Dick Cheney – from allowing him to do or say whatever the hell he wants.”
Darn, I really must of slept like a baby when that part of the Constitution was read.
Watch it and Weep:
And that’s just in his own congressional district. (California District 8, Nancy Pelosi – yikes! A San Franicsco Liberal!!).
Maybe we don’t need 19,045 music and arts teachers in this one district, but in California it seems we’re more and more hard-pressed to see to educating our children at all, let alone in the arts. And don’t think music and arts isn’t important. Without music programs (and an excellent teacher) in his school many years ago, Chastise Man could easily have pursued a life of crime. (who knows?)
But what of other issues?
With the $1.3 billion my congressional district has spent on the war in Iraq to date, there could have been 135 new elementary schools built, staffed with 19,363 new teachers to educate the children in those schools, 503,943 of those children could have health care, or 161,260 more Head Start organization for those children to go to. Seems like we could have blanketed the district with education with plenty left over for other districts (who, of course, could have blanketed their districts… Hell, America could have actually lived up to Bush’s rhetoric of “no child left behind”)
Ah, but what about national security, the “hotbed of terrorism” the “central battlefield on the war on terror”; keeping America safe from those who would do us harm and all that?
My $1.3 billion would have put in place 17,027 Port Container Inspectors, or 24,085 public safety officers.
Our dependence on foreign oil? $1.3 billion from district 8 would have built 2,402,036 homes with renewable energy. That’s two million, four hundred two thousand, eighty five homes – from the tax bill thus far for the Iraq war from one congressional district.
Health care? 554,874 more people with health care.
Affordable housing? 4,035 more units…
I think the point is clear.
Obviously America is much better off after five years of war in Iraq, our kids are better educated, our streets and ports are safer, we’re well on the way to kicking our “addiction to oil”, the less fortunate have affordable housing, and we all have access to health care.
Happy April Fools from Chastise Man. In the time it’s taken you to read this happy post, America has spent nearly a half-million more dollars on the war in Iraq.
click here to learn more
The Time: May 1st 2003
The Place: USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego; Iraq
US Army Pfc. Jesse Givens died in Iraq in the service of his country on the first of May, 2003, in his 34th year. He wrote this letter to his wife Melissa, his five year-old son Dakota (nicknamed ‘Toad’) and his unborn child Carson (nicknamed ‘Bean’). He asked Melissa not to open the envelope unless he was killed. ‘Please, only read it if I don’t come home,’ he wrote. ‘Please put it away and hopefully you will never have to read it.’
Andrew Garland, baritone
Lee Hoiby, composer and pianist