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Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Bizarro World: Cheney Demands Document Release, Obama Keeps Photos Secret

Bizarro Obama, claiming the need for secrecy, prepares to wrestle Bizarro Cheney, armed with customary shotgun, who demands document release.

The two Super Bizarros of the Right and Left prepare to battle

Harry Shearer in the Huffington post has called the new reality the Mirror World edition. Did somebody yell, “Simon Says: Everybody switch sides”? Screw it, Harry, I think it’s worse than that, we’ve formally entered BIZARRO World. We’ve been phasing in and out of Bizarro World ever since 9/11, when people were evacuating shopping malls in the midwest, convinced that Saddam Hussein was about to bomb them, but now with Cheney demanding the release of documents to show how effective our use of torture was and with Barack Obama, Mr. Transparency in Government, deciding to fight the release of torture photos, I think we’ve taken up permanent residence and Kal-El ain’t gunna come to rescue us. William Rivers Pitt thinks everyone is damn scared that the real dirt will come out and if Seymour Hersh is right, there’s some really horrible stuff we’re going to find out about how we conducted our “enhanced interrogations.”
Now, President Obama has decided to revive the military tribunals for Gitmo prisoners–you know, the ones he promised to end during the election campaign? And Republicans are dancing all over Nancy Pelosi for allegedly being untruthful about she knew about prisoner interrogations, in order to distract the country from the lies that President Bush told us about “We don’t torture.” Right is left, up is down, in is out…
In other news, after all that brouhaha about Obama addressing the Notre Dame commencement, a little over 2 dozen protestors showed up and Obama entered to a standing ovation and gave his speech to thunderous applause. The official White House transcript includes a protestor’s boo that Katharine Zaleski said showed his commitment to greater transparency. While being open about dissent is admirable, being transparent about the little things while maintaining secrecy about the big ones is backasswards…Bizarro World.

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Is this really to protect the troops or to protect the people who gave the orders to them?

President Obama tries to convince the public that not releasing the torture photos will protect the troops.

Would you like maple syrup or strawberries and whipped cream? Oh, no, not ze whip!

Poor President Obama. He’d REALLY like to get past this little torture problem that the Bush administration dumped like a load of crap on the Oval Office rug. But it just keeps coming back. Now the claim is, that in spite of his campaign promises of transparency, he will oppose releasing the torture photographs and that this will somehow protect the troops. There’s a possibility that this is true, but this writer believes that the president is being disingenuous. What not releasing the photographs is going to do is protect the president from having to do something about the perpetrators of these crimes. And I don’t mean the grunts and CIA operatives who actually performed the “enhanced interrogations” but the chain of command that issued the orders, back to and including former President Fratboy–I mean, Bush.
There is a long-standing tradition of treating previous administrations and their officials with kid gloves. You publicly give them the respect of having done whatever they did for the best reasons and especially, if there was anything fishy about it, you treat it as a hands off situation. The time to have done something was while the administration was in office–and that means use of the constitutional impeachment procedures. The problem is that the Bush administration committed high crimes and misdemeanors. They broke our laws against torture and international treaties against it. Yet, back in 2006, Nancy Pelosi took the impeachment process off the table, effectively leaving only one course of action, investigation and possible charges only after the change of administration.
Now the Democrats have been acting as if they were complete innocents in the matter. But it seems that Speaker Pelosi had been informed about the use of torture, and tacitly supported it by not doing a goddam thing about it. Nancy is also being disingenuous and trying to say that congressional leaders had only been informed about the possibililty of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, in other words, she knew that torture MIGHT be used, but not that torture actually WAS being used. Come on, now, Nancy, if a CIA spook tells you he might have to do something, chances are he’s already doing it. But this goes to the heart of the matter. Maybe the Bush administration is directly culpable for this crap, as former VP Dick Cheney is proud to admit, but there are a lot of people who are complicit in that they didn’t DO ANYTHING to stop it even though they were in a position to object or, if their voices were overborne by the “soft on terrorism” rhetoric of the time, leaked it to the news media.
Which brings us to another complicit group. The news media were cheerleaders for the so-called War on Terror. At some point in time, if there had been rumors that we were practicing torture, and there had, the news either suppressed the stories or said, so what, these were the people who attacked America. It wasn’t until the Abu Ghraib photographs started showing up on the internet that they were forced to break the story. Now the line many editors are taking is that we are ALL complicit because 100% of the American people were behind Bush’s war and nobody cared if we stepped on a few innocent Iraqi toes if it meant making America safer. What these apologists are forgetting is that a substantial portion of the American people were not gung ho about invading a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 and which did not have any weapons of mass destruction to threaten us with. But these people, through the complicity of the news media were marginalized and vilified as traitors, commies, anarchists, cowards, surrender monkeys or Frenchmen.
So this is the problem that Obama faces. If he allows the release of the photographs, they are probably so awful that the clamor to do something will be tremendous. But this will open a can of worms that will not just affect the former administration, but also members of his own party, journalists and god knows how many others who had the power to do something but stood by and did nothing.
But some of us didn’t.
See: How Americans Came to Support Torture, in Five Steps
Analysis: Obama revives old arguments on photos
Lawyers scoff at W.H. photo claim
Babes in TortureLand: Media Torture

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Swine Flu? Bioterrorism? We Report, You Decide!

If you saw the press briefing about the swine flu outbreak the other day (replayed in part on The Daily Show) in which one reporter asked if this could be a bioterrorism attack. Well, this naturally causes one to voice the question, “WTF???” Bio-frickin’-terrorism? Who the hell would have THAT kind of paranoid fantasy? Well, MY guess would be the people who believe that the USA became less safe as of January 20, 2009. You know, the ones who discovered a terrorist plot every time they needed to score some political points so they could claim they’d made us “safer” and who now claim that revealing our use of torture–that everyone already knew about anyway–had made us less safe. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Dick Cheney and Fox News. But it isn’t just limited to them. President Obama went down to Mexico City and shook hands with an archaeologist and the next day, said archaeologist> dropped dead of flu-like symptoms. DUN DUN DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Obama was tested and found clear of the flu virus–a good thing too, because some people may have accused him of giving the flu to the archaeologist, instead of him contracting it from one of the thousands of flu victims in Mexico City. I can see a call for closing the borders coming–keep them illegal immigrants and their flus away.

Foxy, the cable news reporter, asks if the swine flu outbreak could be an act of bioterrorism. On being told there did not seem to be any reason not to ascribe it to natural causes, she naturally assumes that since the answer wasn't no, it was confirmed that the answer could be yes...

In the world of cable journalism, non-denial is as good as a confirmation.

What I want to know is, if someone was planning on a bioterrorist attack on the US, why did they start the outbreak in Mexico? Why not New York CIty or Chicago or any other crowded US metropolis? I think the only attack here, beyond the simple microbial, is an attack on reason. But that never stopped anything in this country! Reason, schmeason, the economy is in the toilet, our leaders had authorized torture, let’s have a good old-fashioned plague to get things really going. I’m surprised no one’s said it’s God’s wrath. Oh wait a minute, Tiffany Wellsley on Republican Faith Chat tells us that it’s GOD’S LATEST PUNISHMENT OF IDOL-WORSHIP, meaning Catholic saint veneration, and ends her screed with the “silver lining” that it may do something to alleviate the illegal immigration problem. Well, there you have it–a call to close the borders. I’m not going to post THAT url–if you need to find it, google it.

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My Goodness, How will I pack all of my things in that time…

There is a difference between an immediate closing and signing the order for closing immediately

There is a difference between an immediate closing and signing the order for closing immediately

I have to go with Jon Stewart on this one, it’s not like they have a lot of stuff to pack. While Darth Cheney has called these the “worst of the worst”, we know that most of these guys were poor schmucks caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hell, has Cheney ever been right about this situation? Or any other? Sorry Dick, it was my fault for getting near the line while you were wildly blasting your shotgun at some birds.

There are still innocent men in Guantanamo, innocent men who’ve languished in the place of America’s shame since 2002. Many have been tortured, many subjected to humiliating treatment, unable to contact their families, refused the right to defend themselves against unspecified charges. Granted there are men who plotted against the US; but because there are so many innocents, they should be brought to federal prisons, veritable country clubs compared to this concentration camp, as soon as possible. The records and evidence–if there is any–can come over later. Juridical triage should be performed to determine which prisoners are most likely innocent, and get them the hell HOME. Before a year.


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