The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Keith Olbermann: Harsh Criticism of the Bush Administration (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Last night, Keith Olbermann had some very harsh words for President Bush regarding the Bush Administration’s use of water boarding, among other issues. He directly addresses the President. Very harsh.

But at last this frightful plan is ending with an unexpected crash, the shocking reality that no matter how thoroughly you might try to extinguish them, Mr. Bush, how thoroughly you tried to brand disagreement as disloyalty, Mr. Bush, there are still people like Daniel Levin who believe in the United States of America as true freedom, where we are better, not because of schemes and wars, but because of dreams and morals.

And ultimately these men, these patriots, will defeat you and they will return this country to its righteous standards, and to its rightful owners, the people.” (1)

Also, Olbermann talks about former U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin:

“‘Waterboarding is torture,’ Daniel Levin was to write.

Charged — as you heard in the story from ABC News last Friday — with assessing the relative legality of the various nightmares in the Pandora’s box that is the Orwell-worthy euphemism “Enhanced Interrogation,” Mr. Levin decided that the simplest, and the most honest, way to evaluate them… was to have them enacted upon himself.

Daniel Levin took himself to a military base and let himself be water-boarded.” (2)

November 6, 2007 Posted by | Countdown with Keith Olbermann, George W. Bush, Nathan Schmitt, Torture, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Mukasey Tortured Over Definition

By Theo O’Brien

Former federal judge and Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey has refused to comment on whether he considers a number of techniques to be of a torturous nature. Instead, in his second day of the confirmation hearings, he chose a seemingly safe definition of anything that is unconstitutional, while adamantly refraining from listing waterboarding as a type of torture.

Mukasey, a retired federal judge who has ruled in some of the nation’s highest-profile terror trials, repeatedly avoided discussing the legality of specific interrogation techniques — including forced nudity, mock executions and simulated drowning known as waterboarding.

To comment would be irresponsible ‘when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques,’ Mukasey said. (1)

Many Democrats publicly opposed his refusal to deem such acts to be unconstitutional and illegal, thus threatening his confirmation as Attorney General. In a possible attempt to regain some popularity in congress, Mukasey seemed to offer a concession on the issue.”

Michael B. Mukasey on Tuesday declared that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques “seem over the line or, on a personal basis, repugnant to me” and promised to review the legality of all such techniques if confirmed.” (2)

For a former federal judge—who relied on the power and impact of words—Mr. Mukasey appears to have a distinct lack of clarity, intentional or not, I cannot say. His inability to elucidate his position is concerning as he is posed to become the definitive legal authority in the United States.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Theo O'Brien, Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Could Bush Miss the Point Any More?

Bush gave a speech today in which he addressed recent criticism regarding the CIA’s alleged use of torture to elicit information from suspected terrorists. In it, he said

Despite the record of success, and despite the fact that our professionals use lawful techniques, the CIA program has come under renewed criticism in recent weeks. Those who oppose this vital tool in the war on terror need to answer a simple question: Which of the attacks I have just described would they prefer we had not stopped?” (1)

Talk about a straw man argument…wow…

What is this man thinking? Regardless of whether or not torture has been a practice of the CIA, it is not acceptable for the President of the most powerful country in the world to resort to such childish and counterproductive arguments.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | General Discourse, George W. Bush, Torture, White House | , | Leave a comment

President’s Signing Statement: Torture

Crooks and Liars just posted a story on Frontline’s “Cheney’s Law,” and I thought I should provide some extra context. First, the relevant Title of the bill that Bush signed into law on December 30, 2005

In text of H.R. 2863:

Title X: Matters Relating to Detainees – Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 – (Sec. 1002) Prohibits any person in the custody or effective control of DOD, or under detention in a DOD facility, from being subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized and listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation. (1)

The President released a signing statement with the signing of this bill, effectively saying that even though he signed it, he may disregard it is he sees fit. He supports this by claiming it is a matter of executive power and by claiming Title X to be unconstitutional. The relevant section of the signing statement:

“The executive branch shall construe Title X…in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power” (2)

Nowhere is it enumerated that the President may ignore laws that he deems unconstitutional, nor is there any precedent set to this end. The Judiciary only has this power because of Marbury v. Madison, not as a result of any enumeration of policy in the U.S. Constitution.

The purpose of this post was simply to add original source context to C&L’s post, not to make any specific point (though I did submit my 2 cents).

Cheney’s Law” is a special story that examine’s Dick Cheney’s relationship with and view of Executive Branch powers. Here is the video clip that is relevant to the bill I was just talking about.

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Bills, Congress, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Torture | 1 Comment