Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul

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Report Spells Out Abuses by Former Congressman

Former Representative Randy Cunningham pressured and intimidated staff members of the House Intelligence Committee to help steer more than $70 million in classified federal business to favored military contractors, according to a Congressional investigation made public on Tuesday.

The investigation found that Mr. Cunningham, a California Republican who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for bribery, repeatedly abused his position on the committee to authorize money for military projects, often over the objections of staff members who criticized some of the spending as wasteful.

The inquiry also found that despite numerous “red flags” about the propriety of a particular contract for work on a controversial Pentagon counterintelligence program, committee staff members for three years “continued to accept and support Mr. Cunningham’s growing requests for this project.”

Currently there are 12 Republicans and 9 Democrats on Intelligence Committee. Peter Hoekstra (Republican 2nd District of Michigan) appointed to that position by the eagle eyed champion of teenage pages House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert(R). Hoekstra is sharp as a razor, he and Curt Weldon were going to form their own little WMD expedition, go to Iraq and find those darn WMD. Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee turns a blind eye to Representative Randy Cunningham(R) ripping off taxpayers for intelligence services of dubious value, yet give him a plane ticket and a camo uniform and he’ll find those WMD. This all should rise a few flags with voters. Consider Hoekstra’s behavior in light of what some conservatives have said about Democrats,

*Ask Michael Reagan what should be done with Howard Dean (he “should be hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!”)
*Or ask the graceful, dissent-loving John Hinderaker what he thinks of Jimmy Carter (he “isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side”)
*dissent-loving John Podhoretz (“It is now clear that Al Gore is insane . . . There is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely”)

Releasing this report on Cunningham and the conservative controlled Intelligence Committee is, according to Representative Peter Hoekstra(R),

“disturbing and beyond the pale.”

How could someone of questionable mental faculties and such tarnished moral judgement tell whether a report that shines a light on the ramshackle way on which the House Intelligence Committee runs tell if the report that he wanted to suppress was “disturbing” or “beyond the pale”. To make such distinctions, one has to be capable of rational judgement. It is at least possible that Chairman Hoekstra is embarrassed that he has run an immensely important component of the United States national security apparatus like a Manchurian candidate on acid. If Petey had the slightest shred of honor he’d resign.

President AWOL, George W. Bush offers up no evidence that it does, but swears on his favorite pair of fluffy slippers that torturing people in violation of Geneva Common Article III , the War Crimes Act, and the McCain Amendment will save American lives. Rights against torture– without remedies

Any CIA official who acts in good faith will probably conclude that waterboarding, hypothermia, stress positions, and related techniques violate one or more of these features of American law.

What the new Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) did, however, was to make these legal norms effectively unenforceable. That is why Rickard’s op-ed is a bit misleading. The McCain Amendment does not provide an individual remedy for violations, the MCA states that individuals cannot enforce their rights under the Geneva Conventions in judicial procedings, including appplications for habeas corpus. As for the (amended) War Crimes Act, it requires that the Justice Department decide to prosecute a CIA official who acted on orders from the President, which, at least under this current Administration, is very unlikely.

The bottom line is simple: The MCA preserves rights against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, but it severs these rights from any practical remedy.

This means that the President can have his “alternative sets of procedures”– i.e., torture lite– if he can persuade CIA personnel to violate the law with the promise that they will never be prosecuted or punished for doing so. When Rickard suggests that someday CIA officials will have to answer to judges and juries, he assumes precisely what the new bill acts to forestall– judicial inquiries into the conduct of CIA interrogations.

Imagine a badly plotted futuristic novel about some semi-fictional eastern European country that has re-embraced whole swaths of the the operating framework of the old Soviet Union, then you would get something like the way Bush and his supporters are running America.

There are many things that are deeply distressing about the Military Commissions Act of 2006. One of the most distressing is its deeply cynical attitude about law. The President has created a new regime in which he is a law unto himself on issues of prisoner interrogations. He decides whether he has violated the laws, and he decides whether to prosecute the people he in turn urges to break the law.

Kneel on your prayer rug and face Pennsylvania where the all seeing- all knowing Sen. Rick Santorum(R) has had a vision, a blinding insight, the United States has avoided terrorist attacks at home over the past five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been focused on Iraq instead.. Rep. Peter King(R) disgrees. He sees Baghdad as less like Mount Doom and more as being just like Manhattan. Is anyone starting to fell like it is National Bad Similes Week.
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman must get some awesome headaches juggling all the double standards and ethics problems, The party of values

Newly disclosed e-mails suggest that the ax fell after intervention by one of the highest officials at the White House: Ken Mehlman, on behalf of one of the most influential lobbyists in town, Jack Abramoff.

The e-mails show that Abramoff, whose client list included the Northern Mariana Islands, had long opposed Stayman’s work advocating labor changes in that U.S. commonwealth, and considered what his lobbying team called the “Stayman project” a high priority.

“Mehlman said he would get him fired,” an Abramoff associate wrote after meeting with Mehlman, who was then White House political director.

Yet despite the fact that conservative is synonymous with moral and financial corruption and being just plain batshit crazy, people will vote for them in a few weeks because they’re the party of “values”.

“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” (inscription beneath bust of Mark Twain in the Hall of Fame)