Thursday, November 15, 2007

Waterboarding = Torture

If you believe there might be some semantic wiggle-room that would let us off the hook, you should try it yourself sometime and see that there is no hiding from the awful reality that our country is torturing people. Listen to what Olbermann has to say about Daniel Levin, a former Bush administration official who just had to find out (the hard way) if our country uses torture, and what the logical consequences of Levin's patriotism should be.


The Exterminator said...

When Olbermann gets going, he's terrific. Thanks for posting this.

I had trouble with the video, John. Since I'll assume this problem was not unique to my computer, I'm including a link here to the transcript of Olbermann's Special Comment.

John Evo said...

Hmmm... I went back and watched it again from here. Worked perfectly. Didn't you tell me recently that you were have some computer issues? Could be a continuation of it. Anyway, thanks for posting the transcript and hopefully no one else will have a problem.

I agree about Olbermann. When he is really passionate about what he is saying, he's terrific. Overall, I give him about a 7 and don't watch his show regularly because of it. This was a good one.

The Exterminator said...

Well, there's no more problem with my computer, because it froze to death. It will go unmourned. I'm on a new machine now.

Same old shitty wireless service, though. Maybe that has something to do with it?

A. said...

I love Keith. More of a thinking man than Bill O'Reilly, more nuanced and sensitive.

As for waterboarding, I thought the whole Mukasey nomination really highlighted the whole torture problem.

On the one hand, the executive doesn't want to take waterboarding off the table. On the other, why doesn't congress just outlaw it? Pass a law calling it torture?

My suspicion? A law would effectively end the debate, force the executive to stop using it, but also not allow democrats to use the issue to club republicans with.

Then again, I can be a bit cynical.

PhillyChief said...

Democrats can't pass shit. They won't even try and pass shit. You know what they're good for? Non-binding resolutions and whining on tv. Despicable.

I never researched it, but I could have sworn I heard on tv recently that waterboarding was one of many things listed at the Nuremburg trials. Granted, not at the top of the list but still, it's fucking torture.

Man, I wish people would stop watching 24. That one Republican debate was a riot where they had the 24 question. It was like each one had to one up the other. "Yeah, I'm for Gitmo". "Well I'd double the size of Gitmo". Followed by a laundry list of things they'd do like waterboard, flaming enemas, forced to sit and listen to Ann Coulter, stretched on racks, boiled in oil, and placed in iron maidens. Ok, some of that last stuff I might be off on, my memory is dodgy.

John Evo said...

EX - "Same old shitty wireless service, though. Maybe that has something to do with it?"

You're asking the wrong guy. I have a two year old Toshiba laptop that is hooked up via a wireless router to our home broadband connection. While it works well, for the most part, I definitely notice a difference when sitting at my wife's PC, hooked up with a hardwire to the same modem. Hers is definitely a bit faster.

A said: "Then again, I can be a bit cynical."

It's difficult not to be. I watch this Democratic congress repeatedly failing to use their Constitutional authority and can't help but wonder how much of it is because politically it's to their advantage NEXT YEAR, not to.

We could be wrong. Obviously there can be much more subtlety and nuance involved. We prefer pat answers and it's rarely that simplistic - still...

My personal preference for politics is that people say and do the right thing, regardless of personal political consequences. We blame them for not doing so, but it's our fault too. Most of us play the political "gotcha" game against our opponents, so they try to position themselves in such a way that we can't do it to them.

Sarge said...

I remember some years ago, somewhere in the north west the police had rounded up some protesting environmentalists, had them "restrained" and were swabbing their eyes with some kind of agent like pepper spray. There was a video, not much comment officially or otherwise. Just a few old grumps who 'tree-huggers' tend to piss off figured 'it doesn't really hurt them'and it served them right, anyway. You get on the cops' radar, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Which is, of course, the point of the exercise: get crosswise of authority, yer ass is out. Personally, I expect to see this in the local cop shops sometime. It'll be 'just routine'.

Just think, anything from murder to DUI to the cop just feels feisty, and for seventy two hours, without even a charge against you, you get your clothes taken away, a sack over your head, no sleep, no permission to sit or lay down, loud music blared at you in a cold room. Any movement not commanded by the officers quickly corrected by a blow. And that's before they even ask you a question beyond your name and address. And before you leave, sign a paper stating that you were not mistreated in any way, if they don't lodge a charge against you.

Look at the mentallity of the people doing this. Some admiral stating that the suicides of people in his grasp is asymetric warfare. Just like the bully who is outraged at you because your blood got on him when he hit you.

And I know people who think that this can't happen here, and if it did, it would only happen to people who "deserved" it.

As to the dems, they are me-firsters and statists before anything else. Perhaps this works on two levels?

If they get TOO loud, maybe there is back channel evidence that the 'executive' will simply suspend the constitution, disolve congress, and the whole deal is they might be next on the list at Gitmo in such a case. Another is, perhaps they want to use it themselves someday.

PhillyChief said...

Hopefully Bush isn't taking notes watching Musharif's martial law. He has the pieces in place. Have you seen all his Executive orders? You can be detained without a warrant and your property seized for merely saying something that aids terrorists and he's repealed the ban on using the military as a police force here.

Oh, and for things like waterboarding and other civil rights violations, it never hurts to cheat and overload the US Commission on Civil Rights with conservatives. Cute.

He's an insolent child who always has to get his way and always thinks he's right. That's just the stuff for making a dictator.

A. said...

I'm sorry... I'm still trying to get over Phillychief's "flaming enemas" comment.

Hmm... maybe that will be my new blogger monicker... "Flaming Enema."

PhillyChief said...

I don't know, I think it would work better as a tagline for a blog - "The Meme pool, like a flaming enema to irrational beliefs".

Feel free to use it. I make no claim of it to intellectual property. :)

The Exterminator said...

How about:
The Meme Pool, a flaming enema for those who want to get their shit together.

John Evo said...

@ Philly chief -
"Feel free to use it. I make no claim of it to intellectual property."

Are you sure? Once it becomes just another meme, it's lost to you forever.

@ Exterminator -
"The Meme Pool, a flaming enema for those who want to get their shit together."

Instead of "those", how about using the word "theists"? Nice suggestions, but "A" is such a mild-mannered guy, full of hope, looking for reconciliation... I don't think "flaming enema" works for HIM at all. Better if Philly hangs on to his intellectual property and uses it on his blog!

@ Sarge -
I've never been one of paranoids, seeing government conspiracies at every turn, but this group really worries me. I'll breathe a little easier after Election Day '08.

While I don't see "conspiracies" everywhere, it is nonetheless true that you always have to be extremely vigilant of any group that holds power - whether it's your local police, tax collectors, military, judiciary, etc. That's why we have a Constitution - to protect not the majority, but the individual citizen. When our President undermines that very document of security, then we are all in trouble whether we did something illegal or not.

A. said...

If I'm so mild mannered... well, hey, maybe I could use a flaming enema. Light a fire under my a**, you know?

Thanks for the suggestions though. Seriously, with friends like you guys, who needs enemas?

Sarge said...

I think that "conspiracy" is a matter of definition. One man's closed meeting among like-minded persons to determine policy vis a vis others is another man's conspiracy.

One has read that the up-coming election was in jeopardy because of "terrorist" threat...maybe. But, the fixeroo is in, the status will remain quo or become even more so (?) so we'll go through with that largly ceremonial process. People who go to the same schools, have the same economic interest, etc. don't need to sit down together, it's all been done beforehand in Skull & Bones and MBA courses.

John Evo said...

"Seriously, with friends like you guys, who needs enemas?" LOL! Now who is cracking up the crowd?

Sarge, mmmm, got mixed feelings there. YES, I know it FEELS like the fix is in, but I differentiate between a deeply flawed system, operating at the will of deeply flawed humans, producing a largely monolithic result in terms of the "type" and a result that is in FACT FIXED, as in a group or a secret society said, "this is our guy". The net result often isn't much different. But to say that it would be impossible for a "Mike Gravel" or a "Ron Paul" to become president, is only to acknowledge the reason that fine art is trumped by video games. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Sarge said...

I just listen to their own words and watch their actions. Boss Tweed said that he didn't care WHO voted (women, others un-enfranchised in the day included) as long s HE controlled the nominations. And who could forget Carter's administration? His "own" party gave him no support. Tip O'neil and them, if they paid attention to him at all, did the equivelant of yanking chairs from under him, stomping his lunch, putting a "kick me" sign on his back. I know some people in Harlem who were distrustful of H. Clinton when she ran for the senate. Sure enough, she got in, and sorry, folks, my first priority is 'upstate'. Keep me in office and I may get back to you or not hurt you too badly, at least.
Our local "representative" (Schuster) was more or less appointed by others rather than voted in, actually.

I often am told, in tones of exasperated patience, that "we have a two party system..." What's this WE shit? And wherefore? Do they have turds in their pockets, these 'we's'? We seem to be in a fancy restaurrant with a large bill of fare, high prices, but very little to actually eat and poor quality service grade of food in the dining room people on my block are seated in.

I agree, Mr. Kelly with Pogo was quite correct about the enemy and his identity.

I deal with kids in several programs, and do what I can. Most live in what amounts to a police state (I don't go to many schools for programs anymore, it's too big a pain in the ass. A teacher observed to me once that he could pick out most of the bullies from his earlier teaching days among the "security" staff. He said they had probably found school bully Nirvana.) and they are persuaded to be passive, be spectators, not actors, and certainly not do things on their own. What with the 'corn pone' opinion syndrome, who can blame them for the video gane aand skate board thing?

About five years ago in a school near here the student council president was not one of the jocks or brains, he was activist. Actually tried to make a difference. The administration finally deposed him and used very Kissinger-esque terms for their justification. The students had been irresponsible, elected the "wrong" person. When presented with the fact that this young man had been looking out for the interests of the students, it wasn't denied. It was put forward that the interests of the school and the interests of the students were often in opposition, and the school trumped the students. A lot of people got a shock if not an education from that statement. And things went back to normal.