Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pro Torture GOP Protects Bush, Blocks Torture Ban, Supports Bush Torture Policies

The GOP blocks passage of a bill that would have banned torture outright even as Bush had threatened to veto it. Bush and his criminal conspirators --the GOP leadership in Congress --have thus worked mightily to cover up his crimes, obstruct justice and make legal the crimes that Bush has already committed.

But that's not all. The GOP is moving to quash an investigation of Bush that will involve "obstruction of justice", an investigation that one hopes will end in Bush's impeachment, removal, arrest and trial for war crimes.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US government has asked a Congressional committee to suspend its probe into the destruction by the CIA of videotapes, citing 'significant risks' to its own investigation, the New York Times reported Saturday.

The US Justice Department's request Friday to the House Intelligence Committee came after the panel had summoned two CIA officials to testify next week -- a hearing that now is likely to be postponed, the daily reported.

The committee had demanded that the CIA produce by Friday all cables, memorandums and e-mail messages related to the videotapes, as well as the legal advice given to agency officials before the tapes were destroyed.

The deadline passed without the arrival of any of those documents, the Times wrote.

--US government seeks hold on probe into torture tapes
There is probable cause and mounting evidence that the "authorization" for the widespread tactic of torture by the US goes all the way to the White House --Bush himself! In any case, "Water boarding" is not the only torture procedure that US torturers employ. Photos from Abu Ghraib depict a veritable smorgasbord of horrors. Integral to Bush policy is "sleep" deprivation" --the subject of correspondent Brian Ross' interview found on Uruknet:
BRIAN ROSS: And did you know the CIA officers feel without a doubt you had the legal right to do what you were doing?

JOHN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I remember - I remember being told when - the President signed the - the authorities that they had been approved - not just by the National Security Counsel, but by the - but by the Justice Department as well, I remember people being surprised that the authorities were granted.

JOHN: You know, you may not think about it, but-- but exhaustion is-- is a very difficult thing to handle. It's one thing to be tired. It's another thing to be so tired that you begin to hallucinate.

And after a while some people just can't take it anymore. And they'll tell you if-- "Just give me an hour. Give me two hours of sleep, I'll tell you anything you wanna know."



BRIAN ROSS: And that's after how long generally?

JOHN: I recall the handful of times it was used on people it was usually 40 hours plus. They just simply couldn't take it anymore.

Like all criminals desperately trying to cover their tracks, the conspirators forgot an important detail and it is too late to rewrite the history. The destruction of the so-called torture tapes violated a federal court order.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal courts had prohibited the Bush administration from discarding evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.

Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.

While judges focused on the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tried to guarantee that any evidence of detainee abuse would be preserved, the CIA was performing its toughest questioning half a world away. And by the time President Bush publicly acknowledged the secret prison system, interrogation videos of two terrorism suspects had been destroyed.

The CIA destroyed the tapes in November 2005. That June, US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. had ordered the Bush administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

CIA Destroyed Tapes Despite Court Order
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush does not recall being informed about the destruction of the tapes. That is not a denial. If Bush himself had not authorized the US program of torture at GITMO, Abu Ghraib and the CIA's Gulag Archipelago throughout Eastern Europe, why is he and the GOP leadership intent upon making legal the crimes for which there is probable cause in the public record to prosecute Bush. Why did the CIA obstruct justice, violating a Federal Court order not to destroy the tapes? Why is justice obstructed if not to protect the guilty? Likewise, why does Bush seek to make legal ex post facto numerous crimes if not to protect himself from prosecution in US Federal Courts or international tribunals?
It must be pointed out that Bush did not issue a preservation order until after the tapes had been destroyed. UPDATE II: Perino says she’s “not allowed” to comment on Bush’s reaction to the destruction of the tapes:

Q Dana, is the President concerned about the impact on the CIA’s reputation and its integrity, not just here but around the world? I mean, there’s been similar episodes — we don’t know the full scope of this — but we know what we know, based on his point, that may be comparable to Abu Ghraib, where there were photos that were released –


Q — the President spoke extensively about that.

MS. PERINO: Well, one, I haven’t — I’m not allowed to characterize the President’s reaction to this, but what I can tell you is that he — as I said Friday, he has complete confidence in General Hayden, and that remains.

White House Finally Issues Preservation Order, Days After Destruction Of Torture Tapes Revealed]

Despite their worst efforts this criminal conspiracy, consisting of George W. Bush, the CIA, and the leadership of the GOP in Congress, the US is still bound to the Geneva Convention and US criminal codes which make Bush subject to trial on charges that he committed capital crimes.

Water boarding is torture! It is not an "enhanced interrogation technique"; nor is it mere "harsh interrogation". It was torture when Torquemada did it for the Spanish Inquisition and it is torture now! Nor is "water boarding" the only procedure inflicted by modern versions of Torquemada. Check out the image on the right. This is not water boarding. Water boarding does not cause massive external bleeding. We have no reason to assume that this victim of US torture is alive. We have less reason to suppose that useful information of any kind was ever elicited. We have no more reason to believe that this man was in any way at any time, a "terrorist". He most certainly had nothing to do with 911. We have every reason to suppose that George W. Bush is personally culpable for what may very well be a capital crime.

In the meantime, Bush has given up the moral high ground. He has given cause to terrorists. As it did for Reagan and Bush Sr, terrorism will have gotten much, much worse for this administration's inhumane, ham fisted and criminal approach. In the end, it doesn't even work. Terrorism increases and no useful information is ever obtained. Bush has become a terrorist if he had not been one already.

Even Britain, considered our closest ally, has dealt with this issue --but not Bush. In the year 2005, the British government was told by the courts that it would be required to demonstrate that evidence obtained under torture had not been used in some 30 cases in which foreign terror suspects were held in Britain. The GOP, by contrast, attempts to re-define the issue with euphemisms. I expected nothing more from them. The GOP is, after all, not a party, it is a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy. The party in Congress will try to re-write the laws to make legal the crimes Bush has already committed.
Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.

The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government's intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army's field manual on interrogation, which bans water boarding, mock executions and other harsh [torture] interrogation methods.

--GOP Senators Block Bill That Bans Torture
What else could have been expected from a rogue "President" eager to cover up his complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity? Just recently it has been charged that Bush himself may have ordered the destruction of video tapes depicting US torture in progress.

I appeal to Federal Judges throughout the US. A Federal Judge, by law, may, upon his own motion convene a Federal Grand Jury with broad investigatory powers including the power to issue subpoenas. If you are a Federal Judge, I appeal not only to your sense of patriotism but to your regard for the rule of law and the jurisprudential principles which constitute the legal foundation of American justice. Convene a Federal Grand jury! Begin the Federal Investigation of George W. Bush, his co-conspirators in the GOP, the corrupt gang of crooks that constitute his administration.

A cowardly Congress, perhaps threatened, has proven itself incapable of investigating 911 let alone the myriad of crimes that Bush openly boasted about in his State of the Union Address of 2003.
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

--George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2003

This ominous remark most certainly refers to the summary execution of more than 3,000 thousand people. How many more have died upon an imperious order is just a matter of conjecture. Bush, typically, delivered this aside with a demonic sneer, a smirk notable for what it does not say. It does not claim that these victims of Bush's megalomania are in fact terrorists; only that they are "suspected" terrorists. Even in "barbarous" countries "suspects" are given a chance to prove their innocence. But the US was once a civilized nation. Prior to Bush, it was the responsibility, the duty of prosecutors to prove guilt. Those accused of crimes were not expected to prove innocence. The arbitrary abrogation of this "presumption of innocence", as we have witnessed in Bush's criminal regime, is a defining characteristic of tyrannies. Down with tyrants!

Bush Covers Up His Administration's Capital Crimes

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Friday, December 14, 2007

How the GOP Abuses Language to Cloak its Criminal Political Agenda

Let's make a few things clear at the start. "Water boarding" is not "harsh interrogation" nor is it an "enhanced interrogation technique". It's bloody torture. "Water boarding" was invented by the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition --expert in such matters --called it what is: tortura del aqua. In English: Water Torture! I suggest that GOPPERS persisting in playing stupid word games submit themselves to tortura del aqua. Afterward, I will be happy to debate the issue with them.

My comments are in response to the latest GOP absurdity from GOP Senator Kit Bond who likened Water Boarding to "swimming the backstroke":
GWEN IFILL: I just would like to -- but do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?

SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. It's like swimming, freestyle, backstroke.

--GOP Senator Says Waterboarding Is "Like Swimming, Freestyle, the backstroke.
The fact of the matter is the GOP deliberately masks its real and heinous intentions with euphemisms and code words --techniques designed to simply change the subject, like "re-framing", itself a "euphemism" designed to hide GOP intentions to deceive.
That's why I wrote a "A New American Lexicon" for my business and political clients. But it soon made its way to the Internet, where it raised a storm among Democrats in Washington, DC, and in the blogosphere, who accused me of the worst kind of spin. They say I'm manipulating the debate in an attempt to obscure the true effect of the policies I advocate. Yet this lexicon genuinely seeks to establish a common language for a pro-business, pro-freedom agenda.

--Frank I. Luntz, The Lexicon of Political Clout

I have news for Luntz. Indeed, he is complicit in GOP intentions to deceive the American people. This is a subject about which I have some personal experience. For a brief period of time, as a result of my fairly extensive experience as a major market broadcast journalist, I "hired out" to big corporations to include Shell Oil, Exxon-Mobil, DuPont, HCA and Humana. My job was to teach their top executives how to "bridge" from unpleasant topics to company "lines", a process called "staying on message". I quit doing this for reasons of conscience. "Bridging" itself is a euphemism for changing the subject; staying on message a euphemism for avoiding the issue. I wrote manuals about this. And later burned them.

The GOP will not debate because it dare not debate. It dare not deal in fact. The GOP, like the corporate flacks who support and inspire them, dare not deal with issues because the issues are against them. When corporate/GOP flacks are not lying outright, they lie by spinning. The GOP conducts "campaign schools" where "campaign manuals" instruct potential candidates with Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. It is disastrous for the nation that the GOP has made more malevolent use of those techniques than have the people's radicals for whom it was all intended. It was Alinsky who advised: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Torture is among the most pernicious issues obscured by the Bush administration's application of deceptive, right wing techniques. Bush's war of aggression on Iraq is another. Never the war on terrorism that it was called, it is rather, a war of naked aggression, a war crime, a violation of Nuremberg Principles and the Geneva Convention.
The Bush administration and the GOP generate euphemisms by the dozens to help shield the American people from the harsh realities of their foreign and domestic policies. Euphemisms like “collateral civilian casualties,” are some the most disgusting examples of using words to remove the life from something and turn it into a non-issue. Most Americans who would hear, “We regret any collateral civilian casualties,” would probably not think about what that statement really means. “Collateral civilian casualties” is of course a nice way to say “killing innocent people.”

--Propaganda Machine tools: Euphemisms

Social Security is another. Luntz, a self-described practitioner of these new psycho-socio linguistic techniques employs them himself in defense of Bush's attempt to dismantle the only governmental program that is an unqualified success: Social Security.
I have encouraged supporters of Social Security reform to counter such inaccuracies by talking about how the president's plan "personalizes" Social Security. When you personalize something, whether monogrammed towels or Social Security, you enhance ownership by allowing the owner to leave his or her mark on it. In this case, personalizing Social Security means partial ownership of our retirement. Instead of Washington making all the decisions, we will personally determine how a portion of our retirement savings should be invested.

--Frank I. Luntz, The Lexicon of Political Clout

Let's take this bit of re-framing apart. First of all, he even puts into quotes a new label, in fact, a new "frame". He wants you to believe that Bush's plan would "personalize" Social Security. How does giving your money to a Wall Street insider who gives you a worthless piece of paper in exchange "personalizing" Social Security? It isn't. Who would you trust --the only government program that "turns a profit" or a Wall Street insider whose only interest is the money to be made from it? What Luntz does not tell you is that it's your money already. It's already "personalized".

We don't need the government to "personalize" or, in any other way, put its stamp of approval upon our right to the money that we have earned. It has been GOP regimes primarilythat have raided the Social Security trust fund since 1980. It was the profligate regimes of Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr and now Bush Jr that have manufactured the crisis by routinely raiding the "Social Security Trust Fund" to gloss over GOP deficits. Ronald Reagan alone doubled the size of the federal bureaucracy and tripled the national debt. But for that fact, Social Security might not be in trouble.
Before looking at taxation under Reagan, we must note that spending is the better indicator of the size of the government. If government cuts taxes, but not spending, it still gets the money from somewhere—either by borrowing or inflating. Either method robs the productive sector. Although spending is the better indicator, it is not complete, because it ignores other ways in which the government deprives producers of wealth. For instance, it conceals regulation and trade restricdons, which may require little government outlay.

--Sheldon L. Richman, The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Or --the government just raids the Social Security trust fund. The GOP philosophy is this: break Social Security so that the party can justify abolishing it or worse "fixing" by using it's "failures" as excuse to enrich their Wall Street cronies. The GOP war on Social Security endangers not only the "security" of millions of Americans, it endangers to their lives, health, and well-being.

"Broken" is another term with which the right wing hopes to "frame" the Social Security debate. Social Security might have been running a surplus were it not for GOP greed and incompetence. At last, turning Social Security over to Wall Street is not "personalizing" your retirement. That's the frame. What it is, in fact, is a payoff to Wall Street for its support of the GOP. The GOP/Wall Street insiders will make a killing off your money. Facts from the "no frame zone".

The practice of journalism has succumbed to the right wing onslaught not only because most media has been bought out by the ideologues. Working journalists, who should know better, will write about "true facts" when writing about Bush.
He cited more facts (true or not, no reason to start believing anything he says now) than he has ever used in a speech. Second he remained particularly defiant.

--Radio Left

Facts are, by definition, true. Secondly, I am hard pressed to name an instance in which Bush has uttered a "fact" --true or otherwise described, if that's possible.
What Democratic strategists can learn from Luntz is to pay closer attention to crafting the language of political discourse, a pivotal factor in GOP victories of recent years. If we keep our language clear and straight, the GOP will be regarded as the party of equivocation.

--Ruy Teixeira's Donkey Rising

But will they? Issue framing is now practiced by armchair consultants and both parties are tarred. Focus groups are, in fact, consulted by both parties. Key words and phrases are tested for their effect. The holy grail is the sound byte distributed via various media. The media may be blamed for having conditioned the public, but our educational institutions must be held responsible for not having encouraged critical attitudes, for having failed to provide the cognitive skills necessary to cut through the crap. In summary, "water boarding" is not harsh or enhanced interrogation, it's torture, a war crime, as is the war of aggression against the people of Iraq. Privitizing Social Security is not "personalizing" it; it's another way the GOP pays off its base.

100 Examples of GOP Corruption, Lies, and Ignorance

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GOP Front-Runners Run Out of Wiggle Room

None of the GOP presidential hopefuls are supported above a level of about 23 percent according to polls released by New York Times and CBS News. Mitt Romney's dilemma typifies the party's dilemma. Romney, a Mormon, must get the religious extremist vote to get the nomination. If he gets it, he risks losing the White House. The GOP is now paying for having made a Faustian pact with religious right and other extremists.

The numbers come from a CBS story headlined: Huckabee Soars Into GOP's Top Tier.
(CBS) Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's meteoric rise in the polls is not, it turns out, an Iowa-only phenomenon. According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll, the former Arkansas governor is running neck-and-neck with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the race for the support of GOP primary voters nationwide, and all the momentum is on Huckabee's side.

Huckabee was supported by 21 percent in the poll, up from a mere 4 percent in October, thanks largely to a swell in support from Christian conservatives. He trails Giuliani by only 1 percentage point - a statistically insignificant margin. While Huckabee's support has more than quintupled in the past two months, Giuliani has seen his fall by 7 percent.

--CBS News

Huckabee just pulled off a cart-wheeling flanking maneuver to strike at Romney's rear --the source of Romney's support. To be fair, Romney could not have done otherrwise. But with only 23 percent to work with, there is no chance that any Republican can find mainstream running room. That goes for Rudi Giuliani --equally insane by any standard.
While Giuliani and Huckabee led among GOP primary voters, Mitt Romney - seen as Huckabee's top rival for the support of Christian conservative voters - also saw his support increase slightly, from 12 percent in October to 16 percent now. Both John McCain and Fred Thompson have seen their support crumble. Thompson has seen the most dramatic drop, falling from 21 percent in October - good enough for second place - to 7 percent now, tying him with McCain for fourth place.

However, Republican primary voters, as a group, remain fluid, suggesting there is still room for movement in the GOP field.

--CBS News

Stuart Rothernberg, editor of the Rothernberg Political Report points out that none of the candidates have been able "to coalesce support behind him". Unless Rudi Giuliani turns over some rocks, it is unlikely he will find enough support to beat any Democrat. There is an explanation. Carl Jung stated that as much as thirty percent of any population consists of incipient psychos, presumably kept in check by a majority of some two-thirds.

Having accused the GOP of mass insanity on numerous occassions, I would venture that the GOP is down to its base of some 23 percent: nut cases, religious fanatics, and other right wing extremists, a GOP base that is 180 degrees out of phase with the rest of the populuation, the principles of our founding, common sense, decency. The fanatics represent the party's hard core which finds in George Bush's failures, his only successes. I am increasingly confident that sane folk will call them what they truly are. Abysmal, miserable failures.

The GOP will lose against any Democratic candidate because it is unprepared to condemn what Bush has done to the nation. No GOP candidate is prepared to tell the truth: George W. Bush is a traitor to the US and its Constitution. Nevertheless, this miserable excuse for a party should pay the price for having supported the overthrow of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our every international obligation since George Washington.

There ought to be a price to be paid for having been criminal, stupid, and arrogant! Fuck the GOP!

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