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Friday, November 02, 2007

Waterboard Chuckles And DiFi

First, a reasonable and moral American:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Friday he won't support Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, further undercutting his chances for a quick confirmation, because Mukasey hasn't taken a firm enough stand against torture.

"No American should need a classified briefing to determine whether waterboarding is torture," said U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. He planned an afternoon news conference to make the announcement in Burlington.

Sliding support among Democrats on the panel, which will vote on the nomination Tuesday, makes it somewhat less likely the full Senate will send Mukasey to a Justice Department that has been leaderless for weeks.

Um, this country has been leaderless for years, but the DoJ does, in fact, have an acting AG not to mention The Decider himself.  That's neither here nor there.

I'm glad Pat's finally come around on Mukasey.  I was a bit worried last week that he'd give a free pass to Mr Hypothetical, but he speaks the right: we don't need details on just how nicely our torturers do their job; it's torture, period.  And that is immoral, illegal, ineffective and un-fucking-American.

Sadly, Chuckles Schumer has apparently convinced DiFi to support Mukasey (no linky, just heard on NPR), presumably because he feels it's more important to save face having suggested the guy to Bush in the first place rather than, you know, standing up to an administration that tortures.  Goddamned enablers should watch this video (h/t Molly Ivors) and then tell us whether they'd undergo the same treatment on a Saturday night out with the gang.  Hell, try it on the Senate floor!  I'm sure it's safer than bungee jumping or playing Halo3.


[Update: just got this e-mail from Pat:

Our country was founded on democratic principles that reject torture, and no one in our country is above the law -- not even the President. We have seen the Bush Administration repeatedly undermine our democratic values by dodging accountability, hiding its practices from congressional oversight, and prioritizing unilateral presidential power.

President Bush has kept the courts, Congress, and the American people in the dark about activities in the White House for nearly eight years. Our democracy cannot afford to have another Attorney General who has little regard for the law -- we need an Attorney General who will uphold the Constitution and not bend it to fit the President's agenda.

This administration's view that the President is above the law not only threatens our fundamental civil liberties, but our position as a world leader as well. I grew up during a time when the world looked to the United States as a beacon of freedom that rejected tyrannical principles. Unfortunately, our leadership is quickly eroding.

I'm proud that Congress passed the Leahy Law, which requires our government to cut off assistance to any foreign security force unit that has committed gross human rights violations. If our own Attorney General, whose role it is to uphold the law, cannot bring himself to denounce waterboarding, how will other nations view such a double standard?

Some issues are so critical, so fundamental to who and what we are as a nation, that we must act on our convictions -- and this is one of them. America does not torture. We do not inflict cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Certainly, we must do everything we can to prevent attacks on our nation, using appropriate interrogation techniques that require extensive questioning and thorough investigation. Waterboarding, however, is not one of these techniques.

In his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michael Mukasey was simply asked if waterboarding is illegal.  The fact that he could not provide a simple "Yes" to this question raises serious doubts about his ability to protect our basic rights.

My number one priority is to restore strong leadership and independence to an agency whose morale and image have been severely tainted. I wish that I could support Mr. Mukasey's nomination, but I cannot.

B-b-but...9/11, 9/11, 9/11!]

['nother update: TKK has it right: the term should be 'partial drowning interrogation.']

[Infuriating update: DiFi:

I believe that Judge Mukasey is the best we will get and voting him down would only perpetuate acting and recess appointments, allowing the Administration to avoid the transparency that confirmation hearings provide and diminish effective oversight by Congress.

So when you have a confirmation hearing and get "transparency" in the form of the nominee refusing to say whether PDI is torture, you'll do what exactly?  Confirm him?  Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick manufactured by What In Goddamned Unholy Hell Is Your Major Malfunction, Inc.]

November 2, 2007 in Why We Fight | Permalink


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Chuckie and DiFi suck. Amazing how 'saving face' for Schumer involves validating his own piss poor judgement at the expense of the rule of law. Some face!

Posted by: joejoejoe | Nov 2, 2007 1:33:15 PM

TKK has it right: the term should be 'partial drowning interrogation.'

What's wrong with "Freedom Dunking"?

Posted by: geor3ge | Nov 2, 2007 1:50:00 PM

'partial drowning interrogation.'
'partial drowning interrogation.'
'partial drowning interrogation.'
'partial drowning interrogation.'

You got that right!

Posted by: spock | Nov 2, 2007 1:50:13 PM

'partial drowning interrogation.'
is the best.
Freedom dunking is interesting, but I like the connotations of
'partial drowning interrogation.'

Posted by: spocko | Nov 2, 2007 1:51:46 PM

the best we will get and voting him down would only perpetuate

translation: if we don't do everything bush demands he will be mean to us!

it's so much easier to go along to get along.

Posted by: dirk gently | Nov 2, 2007 2:27:13 PM

the best we will get and voting him down would only perpetuate...

I can't stand DiFi, that torture/Bushboy-enabling, death-profiteering bitch.

Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick manufactured by What In Goddamned Unholy Hell Is Your Major Malfunction, Inc.

However, I wuv you.

Posted by: Soprano | Nov 2, 2007 2:37:35 PM

Charles and Di. Don't those bluebloods come from the House of AIPAC?

I think John Dean's offering the best solution: Mukasey should agree to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate war crimes. Either that, or (my compromise) release the secret Abu Ghraib video.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden | Nov 3, 2007 9:25:51 AM

So when you have a confirmation hearing and get "transparency" in the form of the nominee refusing to say whether PDI is torture, you'll do what exactly? Confirm him?

This whole fiasco really crystallized for me what the Dems are up to. It's all about *looking* like they're an opposition. They don't want to actually *be* an opposition party because that would get them crossed off all the best guest lists, but they have to *look* like an opposition so they can get reelected. And, BB (Before Blogs), they got away with it. They could take meaningless No votes, when it was their Yes on cloture that really mattered, and tell their constituents they opposed whatever. It worked.

It was, and is, all about appearances.

So DiFi wants to make sure the Senate *appears* to be exercising its advise and consent function without actually having to do so. And she doesn't even get the irony of voting Yes on a nomination in order to demonstrate that there's a body that can vote No on one.

Posted by: flory | Nov 3, 2007 10:52:22 AM

I hate, on one big level, what Schumer and Feinstein are apparently going to do - - and thus I hate to say that Feinstein may well be right (past history supports her statement). Any recess appointment Chimp comes up with (no doubt in a state of extreme pique) if the Senate nixes Mukasey is likely to be worse... and with no hearings, so no one will have any inkling how much worse, and in what ways. At least there's been a chance to inspect Mukasey.

A non-torture-related potentially nasty quality of Mukasey's (just to make everyone feel better)is the fact that he's reportedly an old, close pal of Giuliani.

Posted by: Li'l Innocent | Nov 4, 2007 4:07:33 PM

Posted by: joanasevilyboaz | Nov 5, 2007 6:47:38 AM

Recess appointments don't have to happen because recesses aren't necessary. Reid did it in the summer: a sort of "rolling" session to prevent such things. Consider DiFi isn't up for election until 2012 (and presumably will be retiring anyway), so she could maintain a Dem presence on the Hill until Bush's term expires and not need to worry about getting home to campaign...

Posted by: NTodd | Nov 5, 2007 8:23:30 AM

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