Performance is the key. In truth, tricks are incidental

Did Donald Rumsfeld Violate Federal Law?

Here’s a connection between the various torture memos that doesn’t seem to have been made yet anywhere in the media — it’s possible that, back in 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized interrogation techniques he knew to be in violation of federal law. On November 27, 2002, Donald Rumsfeld received a memo from DOD General Counsel William Haynes requesting the Secretary’s approval of interrogation methods labeled “Category III.” The memo defines Category III interrogations as “Use of mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger, and light pushing.” Rumsfeld signed off on the document.

But an internal Department of Defense memo from a month and a half earlier in 2002 reveals the real definition of Category III.

…first example of Category III is the one Haynes probably should have pointed out to his boss. It involves “The use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family.”

What’s the problem? That’s almost an exact definition of torture under pre-existing federal law and is therefore illegal. 18 U.S.C 2340-2340A is a federal statute making the U.N. Convention Against Torture part of American law.

Inexplicably I ‘ve heard the phrase “freedom isn’t free” used in conjunction with a defense of Bush not allowing weapons inspectors to continue their work in Iraq. Killing or causing to be killed over 30,000 Iraqis in order to free them. If not for the rivers of blood it would be laughable to think of Iraq as a threat to America’s freedom. Iraq has a population of around 25 million, they had an inept little air force, and no navy worth a piss. Still, in the spirit of trying to find points of harmony between patriots and the Right, it turns out the Right is correct if we accept their false correlation between Iraq and American freedom,  Iraq War Could Cost US Over $2 Trillion, says Nobel Prize-Winning Economist

The real cost to the US of the Iraq war is likely to be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion (£1.1 trillion), up to 10 times more than previously thought, according to a report written by a Nobel prize-winning economist and a Harvard budget expert.
The study, which expanded on traditional estimates by including such costs as lifetime disability and healthcare for troops injured in the conflict as well as the impact on the American economy, concluded that the US government is continuing to underestimate the cost of the war.

The report came during one of the most deadly periods in Iraq since the invasion, with the US military yesterday revising upwards to 11 the number of its troops killed during a wave of insurgent attacks on Thursday. More than 130 civilians were also killed when suicide bombers struck Shia pilgrims in Karbala and a police recruiting station in Ramadi.

The paper on the real cost of the war, written by Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor who won the Nobel prize for economics in 2001, and Linda Bilmes, a Harvard budget expert, is likely to add to the pressure on the White House on the war.

I just have a small doubt that a guy that ran two businesses into the ground even with help from Daddy’s friends and now enjoys free health care courtesy the American working class will show any signs of changing course based on pressure moral or otherwise. If he was still an alcoholic we could assign his lack of insight and compassion on the selfishness of the bottle, but now he has no excuse.

Karen Kwiatkowsky points out how bright career military gentlemen can disagree. It gets little surreal when they’re both looking at exactly the same thing, yet perceive something different.

Green Zone commander General George Casey and his predecessor, 5th Corps Commander in Germany, Lt General Ricardo Sanchez are both Most Excellent Yes Men on Iraq. Yet, they publicly disagreed this week. Sanchez told troops on their way to a tour in Iraq that “Iraq was on the verge of civil war.”

Within hours, Casey, speaking to CNN in Washington, said specifically that Iraq was NOT on the verge of civil war.

Bush never made the moral case for war. I’m not saying he didn’t try and rationalize it. Bush or Chicken-little said about Iraq, “on any given day” with dangerous chemical weapons. “Iraq’s weapons are controlled by a murderous tyrant,” Bush said. “We have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.” Well if that was true, then yes we would have had a moral obligation to protect ourselves, but it wasn’t even in the ball park of truth. He said that Iraq was harboring terrorist, while that is serious, its arguable that even if that was true, which it wasn’t, it didn’t present an urgent threat, another Operation Dessert Fox would have taken care of that problem. Bunnypants even negated a large part of his own argument when he admitted that he would have invaded Iraq whether they had WMD or not. Terrorists ? The number of terrorists in Iraq has increased rather than decreased because of Bunny’s adventures.
 Is the USA or the world better off with this war? Only if you, yours, and many faceless Iraqis were not part of the carnage. With perfect twenty twenty vision into the future, the sheepish herd of Bush support has boosted that we”ll all see in fifty years, Iraq will be a paradise of democracy because of the neoconing of Iraq. Saddam is 65, like all nations and rulers Iraq was not immune to the winds of change and freedom, as they were one of the most secular governments in the middle-east they would have drifted toward a more open, less repressive society anyway and there was a multitude of things that Bush could have done to point them in that direction. I don’t think Bush wanted to take an out of the box approach because the spoiled rich kid mentality combined with the rigid unimaginative Darth Cheney could was only capable of tunnel vision.
The last and best case for putting boots on the ground in Iraq is the one that appeals most to the altruistic feelings of most Americans. We were going to save the Iraqi people from a brutal government. If that is/was THE reason. If that is the moral and intellectual hook on which the neocons , the freepers, the Fox News drones want to hang their argument, the least we could hope for is some intellectual honesty and consistency. Bush has let 2-3 million people die in Darfur in the last 4 years. Were the dead of Darfur not entitled to a little shock and awe to protect them from warlord butchers. The neocons just don’t do morality very well, we’re all hypocrites now and then, but Bush and the neocons are so hypocritical they’ve managed to give both morality and democracy a bad name.

The Abramoff scandal goes a little deeper then just a few payoffs.Its deep in terms of money, but its also deep in terms of the number of people and companies involved. There will be a point at which there will be so many names, incidents, dates, places that it will reach Iran-Contra status and people’s eyes will just glaze over and that will be as tragic as the scandal itself… Welcome to the Machine, How the GOP disciplined K Street and made Bush supreme.

If today’s GOP leaders put as much energy into shaping K Street as their predecessors did into selecting judges and executive-branch nominees, it’s because lobbying jobs have become the foundation of a powerful new force in Washington politics: a Republican political machine. Like the urban Democratic machines of yore, this one is built upon patronage, contracts, and one-party rule. But unlike legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, who rewarded party functionaries with jobs in the municipal bureaucracy, the GOP is building its machine outside government, among Washington’s thousands of trade associations and corporate offices, their tens of thousands of employees, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in political money at their disposal.

There’s more then one way to buy a vote: Question for Judge Alito: What About One Person One Vote?

Even if Judge Alito has changed his position on the reapportionment cases, the fact that he was drawn to constitutional law because of his opposition to those rulings raises serious questions about his views on democracy and equality.

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 “I am not a trickster, I am a magician. That is, I perform feats of conjuring and illusion for the purposes of entertainment. Performance is the key. In truth, tricks are incidental; if magic consists of mere trickery, then acting requires nothing but costume and make-up. I used to be an actor. To be exact, I was a member of an undergraduate drama society at Oxford (Poly, as was, not the University). I still live in Oxford; I still act. When I’m on stage, I’m an actor playing the part of a magician. Spectators, for all this, remain fixated on secrets, on trickery. They witness the performance — the performance — of a stunning magical feat, and barely has their initial amazement subsided than they are asking (I hear them, I see it in their faces): How the fuck did he do that?”  – from the novel The Houdini Girl by Martyn Bedford