Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds

First John McCain was tortured while a POW in Vietnam and now Joe Lieberman gives McCain his endorsement. Wacky Joe doesn’t think that McCain has suffered enough,  McCain who has already suffered so much in this life

Does this mean anything? Only if it’s an admission that he sees the writing on the wall of  potential Republican wipe-out in 2008 where Democrats will no longer feel the need to tolerate his presence.

The Carpetbagger reminds everyone that Joe’s word is gospel,

I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008. This man and his supporters will frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that.” (Joe Lieberman in July of 2007)

It’s filibuster day, A Lonely Filibuster

    The latest word from the Dodd camp regarding what will happen on the FISA bill is that tomorrow, Dodd will take the floor and not yield.

He can take “questions” from other senators during the filibuster, which can be no more than 20 minutes. We understand that Kennedy and Feingold so far have agreed to do this.

Dodd has been forced to take this unusual step because Harry Reid chose to introduce the intelligence Committee version of the bill (which grants retroactive immunity to the telecom companies) instead of the Judiciary Committee version (which doesn’t).

I almost wish I hadn’t gone over to TAL he already wrote my commentary and better then I could express it. Just a few months ago many of us were high on the new Democratic majority in Congress and a technical majority in the Senate, but the reality of  Democratic acquiescence to Bush’s agenda has reared its ugly head one too many times. Sure a weak kneed Democrat is still better for domectic policy then the best Republican, but domestic goals can’t be accomplished when the purse strings and rule of law are so intimately attached to our foreign policy. You can’t fix bridges or build schools and give student loans to our future engineers and scientists if hundreds of billions of dollars are going down the  bottomless pit that is the ill defined war on terror. We can’t have a moral direction as a country if the Senate is willing to let the rule of law be crippled by a president that seems singularly incapable of making decisions that are in the best interests of the republic. I wish Senator Dodd luck, he’ll need it.

Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz writing at Vanity Fair, The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush 

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade
deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that or an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

[ ]..The administration crows that the economy grew—by some 16 percent—during its first six years, but the growth helped mainly people who had no need of any help, and failed to help those who need plenty. A rising tide lifted all yachts. Inequality is now widening in America, and at a rate not seen in three-quarters of a century. A young male in his 30s today has an income, adjusted for inflation, that is 12 percent less than what his father was making 30 years ago. Some 5.3 million more Americans are living in poverty now than were living in poverty when Bush became president. America’s class structure may not have arrived there yet, but it’s heading in the direction of Brazil’s and Mexico’s.

The Bankruptcy Boom

In breathtaking disregard for the most basic rules of fiscal propriety, the administration continued to cut taxes even as it undertook expensive new spending programs and embarked in a financially ruinous “war of choice” in Iraq. A budget surplus of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (G.D.P.), which greeted Bush as he took office, turned into a deficit of 3.6 percent in the space of four years. The United States had not experienced a turnaround of this magnitude since the global crisis of World War II.

Alan Greenspan, hardly a raving liberal partisan thinks we’re headed for a recession.

Republicans keep saying, like parrots actually that we have to compete in a global maket. How are we going to do that without engineers.

If you’re income, the middle and working classes income hasn’t grown in six years then the person and party (Republican) that is directing the economy obviously doesn’t know what they’re doing or they’re snake oil salesmen, or a little of both.

Republicans are for small government and I think I just saw E.T. wiz by. They’ve spent like the bills they were racking up were going to be paid by someone else and they were right. They’re going to be paid by you and your grandchildren. I agree that sometimes Democrats throw money at problems, but thats not a bad thing if you can hit the target; Republicans can only see as far as their rich friends.

“Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.” ~ Colin Powell. If only the general and his party would have lived up to those words.

For both Bush and Cheney, virtually any limit on presidential power is too great

House of Bush declares Congress Irrelevant,

U.S. Senate Democrats should know issuing contempt citations and pursuing a criminal case in the firings of U.S. attorneys is futile, the White House said.

Dana Perino, White House press secretary, said Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee’s issuing contempt citations against former White House adviser Karl Rove and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten is pointless because “the constitutional prerogative of the president would make it a futile effort for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys.”

The committee issued citations because Bolten did not provide information or documents in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. Rove, who resigned as deputy chief of staff in August, was cited because he did not appear before the committee to testify. The White House said Rove was immune because of executive privilege.

“The Department of Justice would not require a U.S. attorney to convene a grand jury or otherwise pursue a prosecution of an individual who carries out a president’s instruction not to provide documents or testimony on the basis of the president’s assertion of executive privilege,” Perino said.

Perino didn’t know anything about the Cuban Missile Crisis why should we expect her or her boos to know anything about executive privilege and legal precedent. The Scope of Executive Privilege: The Nixon Case

The Court recognized “the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties.” It noted that “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.”

Nonetheless, the Justices concluded that the executive privilege is not absolute. Where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, the privilege must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, the Court ordered President Nixon to divulge the tapes and records. Two weeks after the Court’s decision, Nixon complied with the order.

Even Thomas Jefferson found that he could not withhold important documents from the Senate. He eventually complied with a court order, though afterwards claimed he only complied because he wanted to. Common sense tells us that Bush is not motivated by concerns about national security when it comes to “losing” e-mail pertaining to U.S. attorneys and he is not forbidding present or former Whitehouse staff from cooperating for any reason having to do with the Senate’s intrusion into genuine presidential authority. Bush’s stance strains the limits of reality. If Congress has no authority to investigate wrong doing on the part of the executive, then we no longer have an officer of a democracy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but a tyrant. In this essay John Dean states exactly what is at stake, “For both Bush and Cheney, virtually any limit on presidential power is too great.” It’s the Whitehouse position that they are at no time regardless of circumstances accountable to anyone.

If Congress wants to roll back some of the damage that Bush is done they have to play the same type of hard ball, Congress Defies Bush on CIA Tape Probe House Will Continue Investigation Despite White House Request to Drop It

House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes told ABC News today that he will ignore the Bush administration’s request to drop its investigation of why CIA interrogation tapes were destroyed.

“This is an administration that frankly does not have a good track record of policing itself,” Reyes said. “We intend to go forward and issue subpoenas next week because we are a whole equal branch of government.”

After telling Congress to get out of the way, the Justice Department took the highly unusual step of telling the same thing to a federal judge.

In 2005, Judge Henry Kennedy ordered the government not to destroy any evidence of mistreatment or torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Administration says that because the destroyed tapes were interrogations of two suspects in secret CIA prisons, not at Guantanamo, the judge should not interfere.

“This is becoming increasingly bizarre,” said Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. “The Justice Department insists it will essentially investigate itself and then tells the court that because it is investigating itself it won’t turn over evidence of its possible criminal misconduct. It’s so circular, it’s maddening.”

Why would a President King whatever yell yippee about this apparent loophole concerning the preservation of the tapes if he isn’t torturing people or if as his supporters claim there is nothing wrong with torture. Wouldn’t he want to save them, make copies to distribute to friends and family.
It is unfortunate that most of the time, most of the media focuses on the presidential race regardless of far-right or Democrat as a horse race. John Edwards is still out there, without the benefit of Oprah. Bill or Fox. Some editor over at Newsweek must have gotten as bored with it all as I am and decided to pay attention to one of the best runners in the race, The Road WarriorEven if he loses in Iowa’s bigger cities, Edwards can still win by wrapping up smaller, far-flung precincts.

For months, Edwards has been rounding up support in the state’s rural precincts where the front runners have paid less attention. While Obama and Clinton have drawn crowds in the thousands in places like Des Moines and Ames, Edwards has been winning over people in tiny towns like Sac City (population: 2,189). That’s important, the strategists say, because under Iowa’s arcane caucus rules, a precinct where 25 people show up to vote gets the same number of delegates as a place that packs in 2,500. In other words, even if he loses to Obama and Clinton in the state’s bigger cities, he can still win by wrapping up smaller, far-flung precincts that other candidates have ignored.

Attorney General sells out and Bush blocks justice once again

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has decided to make being a doublespeak political appointee a priority over his sworn duty to upheld the law, AG denies details in CIA tapes inquiry

Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike angrily denounced Mukasey’s refusal, which they said blocks congressional oversight of the Justice Department.

Additionally, lawmakers from both parties accused the Justice Department of obstructing a House Intelligence Committee inquiry by advising the CIA against cooperating.

“Earlier today, our staff was notified that the Department of Justice has advised CIA not cooperate with our investigation,” House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, said in a joint statement Friday.

Congress can in Mukasey’s view have all the oversight committees they like, but they are not to be allowed to do any actual oversight in their capacity as a co-equal branch of government. If we do end up with a Democrat in the Whitehouse in 2008 the question be not be whether these same supporters of extraordinary executive branch powers will do a 180, but how fast.

In a letter Thursday to CIA Director Michael Hayden, the House panel had asked the CIA to hand over by Friday all documents and cables regarding the interrogation tapes and their destruction. Based on the Bush administration’s response Friday, it appeared likely the administration also would block testimony by acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the National Clandestine Service. Both have been summoned to testify to the committee on Dec. 18. Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed.

What would Bush have to gain and what is he hiding by blocking testimony from one the most compelling witnesses. Dumb rhetorical question, since we all know that you don’t block testimony unless you’re hiding something. Scooter Libby didn’t get up one morning and lie about what he knew about Whitehouse leaks in regard to revealing a NOC agent’s identity. He lied to protect his buddies. Mukasey is playing his end to protect the Whitehouse as the clock ticks away on their term and the Whitehouse is doing their part by claiming to have rights and privledges that they have invented out of thin air.

It pains me to be critical of Senator Harry Reid, but what the hell is he thinking, Notes from the global war on terror 

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, seems intent on doing the president’s bidding. He has indicated that instead of the Judiciary Committee’s bill, he may put on the floor a deeply flawed measure from the Senate Intelligence Committee that dangerously expands the government’s powers and gives undeserved amnesty to the telecommunications companies. The White House says amnesty is intended to ensure future cooperation but seems truly aimed at making sure the public never learns the extent of the companies’ involvement in illegal wiretapping.

More here, Stop the FISA sellout 

More to the point, if the Senators don’t know for a fact that your rights have not been violated, then why are they proceeding with this bill? Shouldn’t they wait to act until after they have gotten full information about the nature of the abuses? Why the rush to legalize those abuses?

It is that Beltway mentality at work. That small nugget of truth in the bromide about there not being much difference between Conservatives and Democrats. They get elected, they all become friends, adopt the club’s mentality and look out for each other when one gets in trouble. It is mostly a one way street though with Democrats always so willing to just let things go so we can supposedly move on to more pressing issues. Republicans didn’t think that way about Iran-Contra, going after Bill Clinton like rabid dogs, or lying us into the Iraq tar pit. Senator Reid is goofy if he thinks all this forgiving and forgetting is ever going to be reciprocated.

Charity, double-talk and torture

Remember Freedom Watch. They aren’t the only right-wing charity using the troops, Study Faults Charities for Veterans -Some Nonprofits Shortchange Troops, Watchdog Group Says

Americans gave millions of dollars in the past year to veterans charities designed to help troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, but several of the groups spent relatively little money on the wounded, according to a leading watchdog organization and federal tax filings.

Eight veterans charities, including some of the nation’s largest, gave less than a third of the money raised to the causes they champion, far below the recommended standard, the American Institute of Philanthropy says in a report. One group passed along 1 cent for every dollar raised, the report says. Another paid its founder and his wife a combined $540,000 in compensation and benefits last year, a Washington Post analysis of tax filings showed.

A little organization called the Freedom Alliance showed up on AIP’s worse charities list. And who founded that organization, none other then Mr. Iran-Contra, Oliver North. Also listed as a director is former Republican Senator Steve Symms who was acting like Karl Rove before it became the kind of behavior that the Republican party adopted as the status quo,

Symms claimed in a radio interview that a photograph existed from the 1960s showing Kitty Dukakis, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, burning an American flag to protest the Vietnam war. Kitty Dukakis angrily denied the accusation as “totally false and beneath contempt,” and Symms later admitted that he could not substantiate it.[1] Nevertheless, the claim became national news, as media outlets began searching for the photograph Symms said he had “heard” about.

This is from the Freedom Watch link above. One just has to wonder why a group of multi-millionaires find it necessary to run expensive media ads rather then give to the troops directly,

Freedom’s Watch, a deep-pocketed conservative group led by two former senior White House officials, made an audacious debut in late August when it began a $15 million advertising campaign designed to maintain Congressional support for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq.

[ ]…One benefactor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008. Raising big money “will be easy,” the benefactor said, adding that several of the founders each wrote a check for $1 million. Mr. Blakeman would not confirm or deny whether any donor gave $1 million, or more, to the organization.

Since the group is organized as a tax-exempt organization, it does not have to reveal its donors and it can not engage in certain types of partisan activities that directly support political candidates. It denies coordinating its activities with the White House, although many of its donors and organizers are well connected to the administration, including Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary.

Inspector General for Iraq Under Investigation

But Bowen’s office has also been roiled by allegations of its own overspending and mismanagement. Current and former employees have complained about overtime policies that allowed 10 staff members to earn more than $250,000 each last year. They have questioned the oversight of a $3.5 million book project about Iraq’s reconstruction modeled after the 9/11 Commission report.

I think we’ve all linked to some of Bowen’s reports. Currently Bowen and his office are under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. It seems that he might have found just enough wrong doing to appear like one of the good guys.

As SIGIR grew in prominence, dissension was growing within the agency’s offices. In 2006, several former SIGIR employees sent an eight-page complaint to the presidential council, an executive-branch oversight body, alleging that the agency’s leaders had engaged in fraud, violated federal regulations, created a hostile workplace, abused their positions and “sustained patterns of inappropriate behavior.” The council launched an investigation and eventually referred some of the matters to the FBI.

In an e-mail to SIGIR staff members, Bowen described the complaint filed with the presidential council as a result of “disgruntled former employees.”

Disgruntled former employees? While we’re using hackneyed excuses we’ll probably hear that Mr. Bowen will be leaving his job soon to spend more time with family.

House Passes Bill to Ban CIA’s Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics. A law that should have been superfluous since we don’t torture people right? And if we don’t torture people why has Bush already claimed that he’ll veto it, another cry wolf Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra has said that we’d all be dead if it wasn’t for these practices that are not torture. While someone that Rush Limbaugh would no doubt call a phony soldier, Retired Army Gen. Paul J. Kern has said that it would be best if the CIA was bound by the Army’s field manual which forbids torture. The world turns as Conservatives continue to play Chicken-Little.

freedom-alliance-fringe-right.jpg

Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals

In June 2005 U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. had ordered the Bushies and the CIA to protect “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.” The following month a similar order was issued by U.S. District Judge Kessler. Still the CIA or more specifically those in the loop that knew about the tapes might have a technicality to cling to. The tapes were in one of Bush’s secret prisons not named in those orders from Judges Kennedy and Kessler, CIA Destroyed Tapes Despite Court Orders. Still the argument could be put forth that the administration did not act in good faith by concealing the whereabouts of those tapes. As is usually the case with the Bush gang they may have created enough a crack to escape legal culpability for obstruction of justice, maybe not.

It looks like the Senate wasn’t completely out to lunch, CIA Interrogation Tapes: “Bad” is Hardly the Word — Call it Criminal

In 2005, the Senate Intelligence Committee repeatedly tried to determine if CIA interrogators were complying with interrogation guidelines. The CIA refused twice in 2005 to provide the committee with its general counsel’s report on the tapes.

Further down in the same post by Hurley,

In 2005, the Senate Intelligence Committee repeatedly tried to determine if CIA interrogators were complying with interrogation guidelines. The CIA refused twice in 2005 to provide the committee with its general counsel’s report on the tapes.

It s high school, but since Republicans in particular insist on acting like petulant 15 year olds it only fair; every Republican that doesn’t think water boarding is torture needs to get in line to be water boarded,

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.

Kit obviously has a low threshold for moral sensibilities of and an IQ to match.

From a Critic of Tribunals to Top Judge 

The paper was prickly at times, referring to Bush administration “spinmeisters” and dismissing the argument that the new challenges of fighting terrorism meant that civilian judges and juries would be endangered by federal trials.

Prior terrorism and organized crime cases, he wrote, showed that “the existing United States criminal justice system does not have to be put aside simply because the potential defendants have scary friends.”

If we had another president and officials that had created a climate of trust and ethics then maybe military tribunals could work, but those are obviously not the conditions that we’re working under. If the administration can find a way to shoe horn their agenda into proper legal military proceedings they will.

Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Holiday Village wallpaper

Holiday Village wallpaper

Scott Horton accomplishes quite a feat drawing together Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Thomas Jefferson for lessons on tyranny and how it works, The President-Tyrant

It is common for people today to question how any leader can be a tyrant who achieves office through popular election, and, indeed, who remains popular. But such talk is foolish and betrays an ignorance of the origins of the term and the historical context of its use. Throughout history, tyrants came to power through means of control and manipulation of popular opinion. This was so familiar a feature to the thinkers of antiquity, that Aristotle charts it as a characteristic of the tyrant.

[ ]…On Monday, the White House announced a National Intelligence Estimate, which has been available for half a year and whose release Vice President Cheney has vehemently fought. It tells us that Iran packed in its nuclear weapons program under the pressure of sanctions in 2003. Bush tells us that he learned about this “only the prior week.” But the lie is quickly exposed as McConnell acknowledges having briefed him at least in August, and other intelligence figures note that the basic information on which the intelligence assessment rested was in hand since June. Nevertheless, let’s recount some of the statements that a president who fully understood what the intelligence assessment on this issue was made to the American public in a predictable effort to build sentiment for a war which his Vice President was busily plotting:

March 31st: “Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon…”

June 5th: Iran’s “pursuit of nuclear weapons…”

June 19th: “consequences to the Iranian government if they continue to pursue a nuclear weapon…”

July 12th: “the same regime in Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons…”

Bush and his supporters will continue the drum beat of paranoia until he leaves office, but the chain will remain unbroken as all the Republican candidates mindlessly echo some version of the same world view. There is this giant straw man in the room that represents Conservative thinking . It consists of two extreme positions. There is some kind of radical Islamic threat so huge and powerful it threatens the very existence of western civilization and anyone that doesn’t buy this scenario is pro terrorist. Conservatives refuse to allow for a middle ground where there are degrees of threat. Of course they would never admit that what they sell as toughness is actually fear born of zealotry, a modern day lynch mob that is out of control, all too willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives and betray our Jeffersonian ideals to get the relatively small number of bad guys.

An ideal cannot wait for its realization to prove its validity

Lawyers Cleared Destroying Tapes

The former official spoke on condition of anonymity because there is a continuing Justice Department inquiry into the matter. He said he was sympathetic to Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former chief of the clandestine branch, who has been described by intelligence officials as having authorized the destruction of the tapes. The former official said he was concerned that Mr. Rodriguez was being unfairly singled out for blame in the destruction of the tapes.

The former official said Mr. Rodriguez decided in November 2005 that he had sufficient authority to destroy the interrogation videos, based on the written authorization given to him from lawyers within the branch, then known as the Directorate of Operations.

It looks like this investigation is going no where. He said that she said that according to so and so because no one expressed any objection and lacking any real leadership from the Whitehouse stuff was destroyed, what can ya do.

Balkinization shows us that Congressional over sight wasn’t exactly stellar, The Government Institution Most in Need of Comprehensive Reform 

But even if we had the very best Dems on the Committee, there would still be virtually nothing they could do to address possible unlawful, or even just unwise, conduct by the intelligence agencies.

You could say that Dems are complicit or simply too trusting of the the Bushies when it came to making important legal decisions in the war on terror,

6. while assuring the legislators that it has been vetted by the lawyers and is legal

7. without showing the legislators the legal analysis supporting the conduct

8. without disclosing the legal arguments that cut the other way

9. without informing the legislators of any policy-based or legal dissent within the executive branch

It as though some Democrats have either forgotten how to be the opposition party or more important have partially relinquished their role as a co-equal branch of government that is supposed to be watchdogs, to prevent the excesses of the executive. At the same time I would hesitate to pile on Pelosi, Harman or Jay Rockefeller. They’re given this information and then forbidden to share it. Perhaps unlike some Democrats I can understand the Maureen Dowd school of liberalism where they see good people that stay in Washington for a certain of years and regardless of party adopt a Beltway mentality. Caution, rather then proactive rules their approach to any issue.

Bush can issue and violate his own executive orders, Bush Legal Docs Declare Him King, Senator Says – Updated 

Apparently — and this is real news of the Whitehouse statement — the President decided to secretly ignore Executive Order 12333, which, among other things, has long been the only real source (other than Fourth Amendment) of legal protection of the privacy rights of U.S. persons overseas vis-a-vis surveillance by the federal government. This is a gap in FISA that the 1978 Congress said it would get around to closing — but it never did. And so the only thing standing between U.S. persons overseas and their own government snooping on them has been E.O. 12333.

If the President publicly rescinded 12333, there would be a huge outcry. It would prompt Congress to act immediately.

Which is presumably why he didn’t do so in public. Whitehouse suggests that the President secretly transgressed 12333. If so — if in fact the President chose to ignore 12333 without notifying the public or Congress, it’s quite outrageous — constitutional bad faith, really, to announce to the world that you are acting one way (in large part to deter the legislature from acting), while in fact doing exactly the opposite. It might even mean that the Administration allowed executive branch officials to mislead Congress by assuring them in testimony that 12333 remained a serious limitation on government surveillance. (Now that’s something worth investigating.)  -emphasis mine

The Ballad Of Abu Zubaydah 

We know that one of the two destroyed CIA interrogation tapes documented the torture of Abu Zubaydah.

We know that Zubaydah was no “high-value” Al Qaeda operative, but an “insane, certifiable” gofer. We know that when this truth was conveyed to George II, his response was to personally press the CIA to pursue further “information extraction.” We know that Zubaydah provided no actionable intelligence, but that his desperate attempts to placate his torturers may have resulted in US-directed “dark side” operations that killed innocent people. And we know that George II, aware of all this, has nonetheless persisted in attributing an increasingly important role to Zubaydah as both Al Qaeda fiend, and key to “cracking” the 9/11 plot.

If there is a consistant thread to the Right’s rhetorc on fighting terrorism it is the meme that anything and everything they do is absoluetly necessary. If you do’t let them do what they want, if don’t let them spin like spiders on scid then we’re all gonna die. The truth is always the same. What they do is frequently counter productive and  the antipathy of American ideals.

An ideal cannot wait for its realization to prove its validity ~ George Santayana

One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything

Gang Rape Cover-Up by Halliburton/KBR Revealed

    A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

If it wasn’t for a sympathetic guard who let her use their cell phone who knows what would have happened.

Remember good old Freedom Watch the group that bullied NBS into running its ads. Ads that were clearly politically motivated  and the costs of which could have been contributed to the USO or some other well established non-partisan  cause. Maybe they were trying to win back some of the support from military families that the Right and their  Decider Guy have lost,  Bush loses ground with military families

Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war’s fifth year.

Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush’s job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.

Fox’s Shep Smith let’s America know what most of us already knew, Fox is the Konservative Network,  Shepard Smith Says Fox Is President Bush’s Network

Courtney Friel then said to Smith that we (Fox News) had the White House number on their blackberries. This is when Shepard Smith said, ” We’re his network after all, so we do have his number.”

One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything. ~ G. C. Lichtenberg

Justice Department and CIA join in destroyed tapes investigation

Justice, CIA to probe destruction of taped interrogations

The Justice Department and the CIA will jointly investigate the destruction of videotapes of CIA interrogations of two al Qaeda suspects, a top official said.

The Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for national security, Kenneth L. Wainstein, announced the investigation Saturday in a letter to the CIA’s top lawyer, John Rizzo.

The probe will determine “whether further investigation is warranted,” Wainstein said.

CIA Director Mike Hayden said his agency will cooperate fully.

“I welcome it as an opportunity to address questions that have arisen over the destruction back in 2005 of videotapes,” he said. Watch the explainer on the CIA tapes controversy

President Bush and Vice President Cheney learned about the videotapes Thursday, when Hayden briefed them about the tapes and their subsequent destruction, administration officials said Friday.Video Watch the explainer on the CIA tapes controversy »

The tapes — showing using newly approved “alternative” interrogation techniques — were recorded in 2002, Hayden said Thursday in a letter to CIA employees.

At least CNN put the “alternative” in quotes. Bush has said that we don’t torture so we must euphemism some prisoners. This is going to drive people crazy trying to keep up with who knew what and when, then what actions they took and why didn’t they do more, Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Which brings us to Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Venice) Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment who it is said did not do enough to stop the destruction of the tapes. Out of fairness she has replied,

CIA Director Hayden’s public statement yesterday, that some members of Congress were informed about the existence of videotaped interrogations of high value detainees, prompts me to respond.

In early 2003, in my capacity at Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I received a highly classified briefing on CIA interrogation practices from the agency’s General Counsel. The briefing raised a number of serious concerns and led me to send a letter to the General Counsel. Both the briefing and my letter are classified so I cannot reveal specifics, but I did caution against destruction of any videotapes.

Given the nature of the classification, I was not free to mention this subject publicly until Director Hayden disclosed it yesterday. To my knowledge, the Intelligence Committee was never informed that any videotapes had been destroyed. Surely I was not.

This matter must be promptly and fully investigated and I call for my letter of February 2003, which was never responded to and has been in the CIA’s files ever since, to be declassified.

Anyway No Quarter has a run down on who was in charge of what at the CIA from 2002 forward, More on Torture Tapes

And then there is the question of the DDO and ADDO. When the tapes were made Jim Pavitt was the Director of Operations (the guy in charge of the spies) and his Deputy was Stephen Kappes. But Stephen Kappes quit the CIA in a snit with CIA Director Porter Goss in November 2004, so he was not around in 2005 when the tapes were destroyed. Jose Rodriguez replaced Kappes. However, Kappes returned to the CIA with the current Director, Michael Hayden, and is the Deputy Director of the outfit. Stephen Kappes is likely to find himself in the hot seat answering some tough questions about the making of those tapes in the coming days. And Kappes must immediately recuse himself from any role in the current investigation of the matter at CIA.

Another personality likely to keep the media frenzy boiling is Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. Dusty replaced Buzzy Krongard, as the Executive Director of the CIA and was in that position when Jose Rodriguez allegedly moved unilaterally to destroy the tapes. Buzzy was Executive Director when the tapes were made.

Jose may present some porblems for Silvestre Reyes, the Democratic chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, since Rodriguez and Reyes are said to be friends. Not a particularly big deal since Reyes can and should recluse himself should Rodriguez become a focus of the investigation. Since the doors at the CIA leadership posts seem to have been revolving we’re bound to hear more names dragged in as things progress.