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Torture Club

Friday, Apr. 11, 2008 3:57 AM

The infamous memos by Jay Bybee and John Yoo stating the legal foundation for torture were apparently just the tip of the iceberg.

ABC News and Associated Press are reporting that a series of high-level meetings, including Vice President Dick Cheney, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George Tenet, and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, specifically addressed the procedures and policies of the U.S. government in regards to torture. The attendees comprise what is also known as the 'Principals Committee' - the same group that stonewalled former anti-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke prior to 9/11.

It's becoming clear there are no innocents in this mess, no victims of pressure from Rumsfeld and Cheney - they are all complicit, and all responsible.

President Bush has basically foisted Iraq off on the next president, agreeing with General David Petraeus that further troop withdrawals should be 'paused' after July, and, as a sop, tours of duty will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months in August.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is supposedly saying the opposite - that American troops can depart. I figure that will last until Condoleezza Rice or Stephen Hadley stuffs him back into his box.

Of course, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi expressed her dismay at President Bush's announcement.

Madam Speaker, you have the ultimate tool against an incompetent president who is overseeing a disastrous war as well as a collapsing economy. It's called impeachment, and you refuse to consider the option.

If you don't want to use it, shut your festering gob. I'm sick and tired of your spineless whining. And please don't tell me how everything will be different after November, with a (hopefully) Democratic president and greater majority. I wasn't aware 'wrong' and 'criminal' depended on a 2/3rds majority vote.

At the same time, let's call out the entirely classless move by some GOP members - booing Congresswoman Jackie Speier for saying nothing more than, 'Bush wants us to stay the course, and the man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for 100 years.'

Former Air America host Randi Rhodes claims the controversy and her subsequent suspension over remarks in which she called both Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro 'whores' is because the network's new owners want to change her contract.

I submit it's about Rhodes being a whiny-ass baby not wanting to take responsibility for her words, even as she criticizes two others for doing the same.

CBS gets a Boot to the Head for their commercial for this week's episode of Survivor, in which contestants are shown clinging to a metal grate and striving to gulp down another breath 'as the tide is rising' and the announcer inquires gravely, 'How long can you hold your breath?'

Perhaps this is why America can't see its way clear on the issue of torture: it's entertainment. It doesn't matter whether it's Jack Bauer or Jeff Probst presiding, it's exciting! It's dramatic!

To paraphrase an old saw, 'All that is required for evil to triumph is for good to watch too much television.'

Here's a column by a mother who let her 9 year-old son ride the subway home by himself, thus drawing no small amount of criticism (including from a 'parenting expert' on the TODAY Show) about how irresponsible and dangerous that was.

Yes, Virginia, there are risks in the big, bad world, and it's natural to want to protect our children from those risks. At the same time, when is your child old enough to venture out on his own? How do they develop the critical thinking skills necessary to solve problems?

Bubble-wrapping your kids is not the solution.

A Boot to the Head for BART, which has signed a contract with Peet's Coffee to operate kiosks at several stations ... at the same time they are cracking down on the 'no food/drink' rule aboard trains.

Coffee, BART officials explain, will be allowed only in no-spill cups. (Which, I'm sure, will be offered for a modest price at the new kiosks.)

Maybe commuters need to buy a bunch of Tommy Tippy cups for babies and put their morning coffee in those ...

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