Outrageous Bullshit Double-Header

The Muse knows I am fuming, and has graciously allowed me to post another post.

First, absorb this bit of reality and see if you’re steamed enough to power a freight train:

We learned a few years ago that the CIA had video documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives who’d been subjected to “severe interrogation techniques,” but because of what the video showed, the agency destroyed the tapes. In effect, officials had evidence of a possible crime, so they eliminated it — which is itself a crime.
Within a few weeks of the revelations, Bush’s Justice Department appointed a prosecutor to lead a criminal investigation into the destruction of evidence.
What we didn’t know until today is that a far-right senator, Pat Roberts (R) of Kansas, acting his capacity as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was apparently made aware of the alleged crimes in a closed briefing in 2003, and raised no objections.

That’s right.  This fucktarded piece of shit has no problem with crimes being committed.  None.  No problem, cover it up.  And we’re not talking minor shit, we’re talking war crimes.

These people aren’t amoral so much as anti-moral. 

Meanwhile, John Yoo, he of the torture memos, has decided the Prez can use nukes any ol’ time he likes.  No limits on his power to destroy civilizations whatsoever.  Totally fine with the Constitution, despite the fact the Constitution’s all about the checks and balances, and despite the fact that Supreme Court precedent sez executive powers tain’t so unlimited.  Observe:

As far back as 1804, a unanimous Supreme Court held in Little v. Barreme that Congress has sweeping authority to limit the President’s actions in wartime. That case involved an Act of Congress authorizing vessels to seize cargo ships bound for French ports. After the President also authorized vessels to seize ships headed away from French ports, the Supreme Court held this authorization unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress’ decision to allow one kind of seizure implicitly forbade other kinds of seizure. More recently, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court held that the President does not have the power to unilaterally set military policy (in those cases with respect to detention); he must comply with statutory limits on his power. Taken together, these and other cases unquestionably establish that Congress has the power to tell the President “no,” and the President must listen.
John Yoo is a moral vacuum, but he is also a constitutional law professor at one of the nation’s top law schools and a former Supreme Court clerk. It is simply impossible that Yoo is not aware of Little, Hamdi and Hamdan, or that he does not understand what they say. So when John Yoo claims that the President is not bound by Congressional limits, he is not simply ignorant or misunderstanding the law. He is lying.

Indeed he is.  Lying about the law, and yet Berkeley believes he’s qualified to teach law.  I’ll never, ever, understand that one.

Bonus outrages: selling plates of pasta to save your life (thank you, broken health care industry!) and the Cons’ idea of a bipartisan dialogue on health care reform.  Maybe we should hold a pasta fundraiser to see if we can whip up enough cash to get these idiots some brains.

Shock to the Conscience

Ladies and gentlemen, our legal system:

The hits just keep on coming. From the Center For Constitutional Rights:

Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse at Guantánamo. The British detainees spent more than two years in Guantanamo and were repatriated to the U.K. in 2004.

The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law. The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” Finally, the circuit court found that, even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantanamo had any Constitutional rights.

So torture is a forseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants. I guess it’s official.

I don’t know how these people sleep at night.  I don’t know how they can call themselves Americans.

Right now, I’m pretty fucking ashamed to be a citizen of a country in which these sorts of legal arguments are considered sane.

Torture, Genocide, Etc.: All In a Day’s Work

So sayeth Assistant Attorney General Tony West:

Citing the Westfall Act, Tony West wrote that “the type of activities alleged against the individual defendants were ‘foreseeable’ and were ‘a direct outgrowth’ of their responsibility to detain and gather intelligence from suspected enemy combatants.” In defending the government’s position, West cited case law stating that “genocide, torture, forced relocation, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by individual defendants employed by Department of Defense and State Department were within scope of employment” and similar cases justifying CIA torture as part of official duty.

I can’t believe just how far this country has sunk.  Teabaggers can scream that health care reform means Obama’s a big ol’ sociocommiefascist.  But they’re ignorant enough of history to miss the fact that it wasn’t universal health care that marked Nazi Germany as a deadly threat to the world.  It was the fact that they went about calmly murdering entire classes of people, and they, too, saw that as “within scope of employment.”

(Tip o’ the shot glass to Mike at C&L, who led me to David Swanson, who led me to the above outrage.)

About Those CIA Directors

I’m sure you’re going to hear at least one credulous acquaintance babble about something like, “Those CIA directors wrote that letter to President Obama saying how very awful it would be if the Justice Department actually did its job, so therefore investigating must be a bad idea!”

Here’s the only proper response:

Can someone tell me what kind of arrogance would lead someone to write a letter like this, and more importantly, why anyone would pay attention to it?

We respectfully urge you to exercise your authority to reverse Attorney General Holder’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.

Uh, at least three of the people who signed this are implicated in the crime. How absurd it is that they are strutting around like some sort of heroes, when in fact they are publicly urging the president to engage in a cover-up from which they stand to benefit.

Naked self-interest, anyone?

That Flushing Sound You Hear Is America’s Moral Authority Going Down the Toilet

So, Mexico’s been torturing suspected drug traffickers. When America slapped its wrist by threatening to withhold funding for the drug wars, their response was, basically, “Fuck you, you fucking torturing hypocrites.”

While the neocons were salivating over their Jack Bauer dreams, we DFHs saw this coming a mile away. We knew America was pissing its credibility away, and human rights abusers everywhere would use our torturing ways to excuse their own:

The accusations of hypocrisy highlight one of the hard-to-quantify costs of the Bush administration’s use of torture against suspected terrorists to extract unreliable intelligence: the loss of credibility as a champion of human rights. In recent months and years, in fact, a growing number of nations have rejected calls from the U.S. to end human rights abuses, citing the Bush administration’s actions:

China: In response to the State Department’s annual human rights report critical of the Chinese government, a government spokesman said the report “exposed the double standards and downright hypocrisy of the United States on the human rights issue, and inevitably impaired its international image.” [3/12/2008]

Iran: The L.A. Times reported on Iran’s latest response to the State Department’s latest human rights report, writing, “Iranian officials regularly accuse the West of hypocrisy in zeroing in on Iran’s human rights record, citing prisoner abuse allegations in the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay. [3/11/09]

Russia: In response to criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney regarding Russia’s human rights abuses, then-Russian President Vladimir Putin asked, “Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests?” [5/11/06. Similar remarks: 3/27/08]

Venezuela: The Venezuelan government responded to a recent State Department report on Human Trafficking, saying, “It is scandalous that a country…where torture has been practiced and terrorists are protected, pretends to prop itself up as a judge of human rights in the world.” [6/19/09]

As Matt Yglesias recently explained, the abuses that go on in Iran, China, North Korea, and other nations are perpetrated on a much wider scale and have gone on far longer than those that occurred in U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba. But the fact remains that “whenever you read about these kind of techniques being applied in Iran or North Korea, it’s immediately apparent to everyone that it’s torture, it’s cruel, it’s inhumane, and it’s wrong.” Indeed, it was immediately apparent to the world that the U.S. abuses were torture as well. Now, Obama must work to rebuild the credibility that his predecessor squandered.

Too bad he’s not.

Now just imagine how much worse it would be if we’d given the world John McCain instead.

Hannity, the Defiant Coward

Are you fucking kidding me?

I’m getting rather ambivalent about having celebrities get waterboarded, even when it changes their opinion like Erich “Mancow” Mueller. It’s torture, now he knows it. But the more it is done the more it becomes a parlor trick in too many eyes. It’s torture, it’s a crime not a game of Cranium.

And you still have a result like this from moral degenerates:

Mancow also revealed that his friend Sean Hannity “called me and said ‘it’s still not torture.'”

So more evidence that Sean Hannity is an a-hole.

So, he’s still too much of a despicable coward to put his money where his mouth is, but he thinks he’s right and Mancow’s wrong.

I don’t even have the words for what a disgusting piece of yellow shit he is.

Olbermann to Hannity: "You Are Now Unnecessary"

Keith Olbermann has pronounced Sean Hannity a superfluous piece of shit:

Last night on Countdown, Olbermann announced that he was rescinding the offer to Hannity, and instead giving $10,000 to charity following radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller’s waterboarding attempt. Olbermann promised to donate to the charity Veterans of Valor, founded by Sgt. Klay South, who administered the waterboarding to Muller. Olbermann revealed that Mancow’s publicist had contacted Olbermann’s show yesterday to see whether Olbermann would make a similar offer to Mancow as he did for Hannity:

OLBERMANN: Mancow Muller had the guts to put his mouth where his mouth was, and the guts to admit he was dead wrong. As you saw, he not only said it is torture, but that he had nearly drowned as a boy, and it is drowning, and that he would have admitted to anything to make it stop.

So the offer to the coward Hannity — a thousand dollars a second he lasted on the waterboard — is withdrawn.

And to Mr. Muller, whose station’s publicity person contacted us yesterday saying she’d heard I’d offered ten thousand dollars to anybody who would do what he did –

You got it. Ten thousand dollars to the military-families charity of the man who did the waterboarding, Veterans Of Valor. […]

As to Hannity, you are now unnecessary.

Not that he was necessary to begin with, o’ course.

And so ends this chapter of the Waterboard Hannity chronicles. Skeptic Kitteh was right:

Bookie Kitteh’s now taking bets on how long it is before Hannity feels brave enough to spout off about waterboarding again.