You can now listen! To Bat Guano's SwaG! every Wednesday, 9 p.m. Eastern, or the rest of WIDR's programing at any time, on the WORLD WIDE WEBS once again! Go to WIDR and follow the instructions.
Post of Shame
Democrats who voted to give Bush the power to imprison indefinitely and define what is and isn't torture: Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich).
“Greetings everybody! This is your Number One Enemy, your favorite playmate, Orphan Ann on Radio Tokyo—the little sunbeam whose throat you’d like to cut! Get ready again for a vicious assault on your morale, 75 minutes of music and news for our friends—I mean, our enemies!—in the South Pacific.” —Iva Toguri as “Orphan Ann” on a simulated Zero Hour program staged for American newsreels, 20 September 1945.
She broadcast to allied forces in the Pacific, forced by the Japanese to assault US morale. It's obvious she was winking at her fellow Americans the whole time.
Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.
These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:
Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.
The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.
Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.
Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.
Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.
Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.
Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.
Short version: Iraq wasn’t a terrorist threat when we attacked it; it is now because we did attack and botched the job so badly that terrorists are dying to go there and learn how to kill Americans anywhere. So the world is safe from Saddam (who was never a threat) but more vulnerable to terrorism, which (back to the beginning) was on the ropes in the early days in Afghanistan.
On SwaG! tonight will be no "Dog Police," but a secret admirer left in a secret place three moldy oldie weirdie records for me. You'll hear such things as the DAKTARI! theme, and a rarely heard Mancini theme, and other things.
Here's something novel, a post on what's going to be on that radio show, SwaG!, tonight. I found a secret stash of old records going for $0.25 each. Oh, the fun, the joy, the stereo separation! I just put this on: "The Dis-Advantages of You" A swingin' and hip alternative to Herb Albert. You'll hear that and others in my pile tonight. See SwaG! to figure out how to listen on the web, live tonight 9 eastern.
I haven't been posting much in the way of commentary (bitching) because I feel like, when I do, I'm about to turn into Walter in "The Big Lebowski." I can't really say much more than naughty, naughty words.
Much of what's coming out seems like confirmation of old news, such as the link above. What to do? If you're over 18, make sure you're registered. Remember, the Republicans have been in power for years now, and if you like what they've done, vote for your local Republicans this November.
Only the weak, scared, and evil torture. Those who order and sanction torture, but leave the dirty work to others, are an order of magnitude more culpable morally. (A special place is reserved for the lawyers who give legal cover for such orders.) In their fear and their weakness and their smallness, the President and those around him stepped over the line. To do so in the heated days after 9/11 is understandable to a point, though not justifiable. Yet they persisted, first in saying that they did not step over the line and now in seeking to redraw the line. So which is it?
They are descending from the morally reprehensible to the morally cowardly.
Yesterday was Poke the Wound day, and what a day it was! I was so busy poking the wound that I forgot the traditional "Never Forget" post. People probably thought I forgot.
Wound-poking has been going gangbusters, since the wound has been left open, and steps taken to see that it never actually heals. The guy who is responsible for the wound is still free. We are kept in fear of getting more wounds. We got many more wound-makers thanks to a war that Our President said just last night we started just because a tin-pot dictator could have been a threat to our un-wounded portions.
Here are some pictures of Our President, First Lady and Decorative Marine laying a wreath in a temporary reflecting pool hastily set up in the center of the wound. (You wouldn't want him to just throw it in the dirt, would you?)