… so, I didn’t pay attention to former Deputy AG Comey’s testimony until just now. This is a hell of a story, somehow managing to make what we already knew about the crazily illegal domestic surveillance initiative even more crazy. It’s really bizarre that this gang is so awful that John Ashcroft manages to emerge as one of the major good guys, but I said we’d miss him when he resigned.
During tonight’s presidential debates, candidates were asked whether they would support the use of waterboarding — a technique, defined as torture by the Justice Department, that simulates drowning and makes the subject “believe his death is imminent while ideally not causing permanent physical damage.”
Both former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) suggested they would support using the technique. Specifically asked about waterboarding, Giuliani said he would allow “every method [interrogators] could think of and I would support them in doing it.” Tancredo later added, “I’m looking for Jack Bauer,” referencing the television character who has used torture techniques such as suffocation and electrocution on prisoners.
The audience applauded loudly after both statements. Watch it:
During the debate last year over loosening the definition of torture, Gen. Colin Powell declared, “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions]…would put our own troops at risk.” Earlier this year, the U.S. Army dispatched a general to tell producers of the television show 24 that its promotion of torture “was having a damaging effect on young troops.”
Transcript: Read more
“House Democrats, who have been divided on whether the president needs authorization from Congress to attack Iran, suggested yesterday that they are more united on the controversial issue.”
[A] new amendment by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) could attract the most votes. His measure would prevent funds authorized in the bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from being obligated or expended to plan a contingency operation in Iran.
Andrews said in an interview that he has spoken to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) about his amendment to the pending defense authorization legislation.
“He will be supportive of this approach because it balances the assertion of our constitutional prerogative with the needs of the military to act in case of an emergency,” Andrews said.
Recent press reports suggested that “momentum is slowing” in Congress for ethics reform. Apparently not. The Hill reports tonight, “House Democratic leaders have decided to use their Honest Leadership and Open Government legislation from the 109th Congress as the basis for the lobbying reform bill that the House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up this week. By doing so, the leaders are on a trajectory to meet key demands made by left-leaning advocacy groups favoring strong reform. But that course has sparked strong opposition from rank-and-file members of their caucus.”
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of the U.S. News & World Report, argues this week that it’s “Too Soon to Leave,” his latest installment on getting things wrong on Iraq over and over again.
Zuckerman’s main argument is that things could get really bad if U.S. troops leave Iraq “too soon,” failing to recognize that things are extremely awful already.
Zuckerman’s latest op-ed strikes a familiar tone. At the end of 2005, he said we were turning a corner in Iraq:
Indeed, what a foolish time to talk of getting out, just when we are getting our act together with the accelerated and improved training of Iraqi troops, and just before an election when Shiites and Sunnis are working to form the sort of institutions required to build a nation and quell the low-level civil war.
Before the war, he supported the invasion by falsely connecting Saddam Hussein’s secular regime to the problems of Islamist extremists like Al Qaeda, and he shamelessly misused the 9/11 attacks throughout 2004 and 2005 to mindlessly cheerlead for President Bush’s failed strategy.
Enough’s enough. A month after the invasion, Zuckerman wrongly predicted, “Those who were so confident that America would mess up the war are now equally assured that America will mess up the peace, but all of them should be prepared to bite their tongues.”
It’s time for Zuckerman to take some of his own advice and stop writing on Iraq — his credibility is shot, and no one should care anymore what he has to say.
In many ways, I feel that Semisonic’s “Closing Time” is the most perfectly generic alt rock hit of the nineties, released in 1999 just in time to sum up the decade and slam the door shut on the once promising phenomenon of post-punk breaking into the mainstream. I had a damn hard time remembering the name of the band:
Be all that as it may, I find this weirdly hilarious:
When Minneapolis trio Semisonic began to work on their new album, All About Chemistry, the band found themselves in an unfamiliar position: they were no longer upstarts, underdogs or indie rockers. Instead they had a hit song and sales of two million albums worldwide to follow up.
CBS News recently reported that a campaign aide to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) had been indicted on charges of voter fraud. The aide, Aaron Lay, is alleged to have “illegally cast his ballot in two 2004 congressional primary runoffs in which McHenry was a candidate.” McHenry barely won the primary campaign, in which Lay served as a political director, by a margin of just 86 votes.
Since news of the indictment broke, McHenry and his supporters have attempted to spin the charges, claiming they are the work of a “politically motivated” district attorney on a partisan witch-hunt:
“It’s unfortunate that political opponents chose to target this young man in order to attack me.” – Rep. Patrick McHenry [Link]
“It’s shameful that District Attorney Locke Bell is trying to destroy his life for political purposes. I continue to support Congressman McHenry.” – Cleveland County Republican Party Chairman Wayne King [Link]
“This is the culmination of a three-year smear campaign against Congressman McHenry…This case is much like the Duke Lacrosse case in that a politically motivated district attorney sought an indictment against a young man.” – McHenry spokesman Jason Deans [Link]
McHenry’s attempt to spin the story as a “politically motivated” district attorney on “a three-year smear campaign” is difficult to believe.
First of all, the district attorney, Locke Bell, a Republican, is a political supporter of McHenry’s. He told the Charlotte Observer today that he had contributed money to and helped host a fundraiser for the congressman.
Also, Bell couldn’t have possibly participated in “a three-year smear campaign” against Lay and McHenry, as he only “inherited” the case recently when he became district attorney in January.
So, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell is actually a recently elected supporter of McHenry, not a long-time political opponent on a three-year quest to “attack” and “destroy” him. McHenry’s attacks are befitting of the man who has been called the “next Tom DeLay.”
John Hawkins at RightWingNews takes on allegations that the right is involved in perpetuating a Nazi-style “Stab in the Back” narrative about Iraq by perpetuating a Nazi-style “Stab in the Back” narrative.
This is the sort of crap that makes The New York Sun an indispensible source of arch wingnuttery: “Sarkozy To Extend Prime Job To Known Anti-American”. The article doesn’t make it very clear, but I think headline refers to the fact that Hubert Védrine may or may not have been in talks with Sarkozy about becoming Foreign Minister, though it appears Védrine won’t, in fact, become Foreign Minister. The real news here, though, is that Sarkozy appears to be wooing two different Socialists — Védrine and Bernard Kouchner — for some kind of foreign policy position, even though they’re not only both Socialists, but on different ends of the foreign policy spectrum.
The moral of the story would seem to be that Sarkozy doesn’t have particularly strong feelings about what he wants to do in foreign affairs and is overwhelmingly interested in ways to strengthen his political position in hopes of pursuing domestic reform.
Okay, the Spurs are officially a dirty team and David Stern needs to learn about a thing we like to call “common sense.” Robert Horry gets a two game suspension, but Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw are both out for one game.
Seeing as how the Suns normally play an eight man rotation, it’ll be interesting to see how Mike D’Antoni plays it. When Kurt Thomas gets fouls or needs a break, I guess the Pat Burke era begins?
UPDATE: Wise words from Henry Abbott.