Thursday, December 20, 2007

"It's like mugging the postman and then complaining that the mail isn't delivered on time."

Republican minority in the Senate breaks filibuster record in only half a term, and then complains about Democratic majority getting nothing done. "Upperdownvote!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gonzalez Stripped of "Lawyer of the Year" Title; Blog Brief's Honorable Mention Rendered Less Impressive

What a year for Mr. Gonzalez! Earlier this week, the ABA named the disgraced former Attorney General the "Lawyer of the Year," to much derision (including here). Two days later, the ABA responds by re-naming his title "Newsmaker of the Year." Much better. Unfortunately, the honorable mention "lawyer bloggers" received for Lawyer of the Year was also downgraded. Maybe next year.

No fair re-outlawing the things we aren't doing!

Bush still implausibly claims "America does not torture," yet he threatens to veto a new bill making clear that the CIA must follow the same anti-torture laws as the Army (of course laws against torture were already perfectly clear before this wave of reading miscomprehension took hold of the attorneys at the DOJ). I agree with Sullivan's take:
Bush is now fully owning Abu Ghraib. That, I guess, is one helpful result of flushing out what this president has done. At the time, of course, he expressed shock at the techniques exposed by the photographs at Abu Ghraib. Now he is declaring them legal and necessary. They are not legal - and the president operating under the rule of law cannot simply invent or reinvent what is or is not the law. But of course, he is not operating under the rule of law. He is operating under the rules of the Decider.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Second QOTD

From Unsolicited Opinion:
Everybody “supports” the troops, so much so that they are a political football to be bandied about in favor of particular political agendas. I’m no different; I have my own agenda. I define supporting the troops as sending them into harm’s way only when absolutely necessary and making every effort to help them return to something approaching a normal life when they return. By that definition America fails on both counts. We’ve sent our forces to a wholly unnecessary war in Iraq and we have provided nowhere near the resources to assist them and their families when failed them miserably upon their return. . . . That’s the political agenda I have in mind when I say support the troops: give them a mission worthy of their sacrifice and make them whole (or as close to whole as possible) after that sacrifice.
via skippy

Quote of the day

"If I had to guess, the tapes were destroyed because obstruction-of-justice charges are no big deal compared to war crimes charges."

Alberto Gonzalez Is Most "Talked-About" Lawyer of 2007

Well, if I (and you) get to be Time's Person of the Year for no apparent reason, then I guess its fair for the American Bar Association to name a disgrace to the office of Attorney General as its "Lawyer of the Year" because he was so "talked-about." Yes, when the nation's highest law enforcement officer lies, prevaricates, and repeatedly authorizes violations of the law and Constitution, then people do tend to talk about that.

As a side note, we "lawyer bloggers" earned an Honorable Mention, putting me beside such notorious attorneys as Michael Nifong (the disgraced Duke lacrosse prosecutor), "Scooter" Libby (the guy convicted of obstructing the investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, likely to protect Bush and Cheney; Bush commuted his sentence), Howard K. Stern (of the Anna Nicole Smith custody battle), Monica Goodling (embroiled in the Bush Administration's improper firing of U.S. Attorneys), David Addington (Dick Cheney's consigliare), and fictional lawyer Michael Clayton (as played by TV's George Clooney). The only non-ironic runners-up are Patrick Fitzgerald (the prosecutor who nailed Libby) and Edwin Chemerinsky (the constitutional law scholar who was un-hired and then re-hired as founding dean of the new Donald Bren School of Law in Orange County).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

U.S. Official: Maybe It's OK to Torture U.S. Troops

This has gone too far for too long. The Administration's unsupportable stance that waterboarding by the U.S. is not torture is leading them to the logical, reciprocal conclusion that waterboarding of U.S. persons by our enemies is not torture either. This is what happens when your President and his idiot legal advisors believe the Geneva Conventions are "quaint." Watering down these clear historical treaty obligations enshrined in U.S. law serves no purpose other than to excuse and define away the war crimes authorized by the highest levels of the current Administration, while simulatenously increasing risks to our troops in the future.


I was wrong. Another purpose these bad faith legal positions and euphemisms (i.e. "enhanced interrogation techniques") serve is to get so many people criticizing you that you ironically win "Lawyer of the Year."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Head of Guantanamo Bay Hearings Resigns Over "Evidence" Obtained by Torture

Morris D. Davis, the former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recently resigned. He explains why in an op-ed column in the LA Times, concluding "that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system," and "that the system had become deeply politicized." While Davis complains of the lack of transparancy in these closed hearings and the convening authority's improper involvement in preparing the prosecution's case, the event that directly precipitated his resignation was the placement of a torture advocate above him in the chain of command after Davis had insisted that prosecutors not attempt to use evidence obtained by torture.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Democratic Complicity with the Bush Torture Regime

What good is an opposition party when it never actually opposes the party in power? It looks like Senator Jay Rockefeller and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman have known about the illegal torture for years but never bothered to do anything about it. When your job is oversight your job is to speak up when something so illegal is happening. Instead, they played dumb. And now Rockefeller has the gall to suggest that his Intelligence Committee is the appropriate body to investigate the wrongdoing that he himself had been ignoring.

Corrente is appropriately shrill:
Since the voters put them back in power, the Democrats have taken impeachment off the table, punted on the war, never figured out a way to hold Republicans accountable for filibusters and obstructionism, so legislation is in the toilet, and never managed to use oversight power to do anything more than chip away around the edges of the Bush regime—though they have written a great number of Sternly Worded Letters.

And now, top Democrats turn out to be enablers of war crimes by our lawless executive. What a surprise. Harry, Nancy, nice work.

What do we got on the spacecraft that’s good?

Please, can we give Leader Nance the heave-ho? She’s a fuckup, and an enabler. Everything Barney Frank isn’t. Barney Frank for Speaker!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

U.S. Claims Unilateral Right to Kidnap...

...and the kidnappee doesn't even have to be a terrorist.
America has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States. A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

The admission will alarm the British business community after the case of the so-called NatWest Three, bankers who were extradited to America on fraud charges. More than a dozen other British executives, including senior managers at British Airways and BAE Systems, are under investigation by the US authorities and could face criminal charges in America.
"We don't need no stinkin extradition!"

Monday, December 03, 2007

U.S. Intelligence: Iran Has No Nukes

Pretty big news, eh? Maybe we can make it through this Administration without starting another war. 414 more days...

(the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) can be read here)


Bush claims this information doesn't change anything, and then lies about when he learned it (says he was only briefed about it last week for some unbelievable reason).

Various crazy people get mad at the CIA and other intelligence services for ruining one of the bogus bases for their next really stupid war. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, is vindicated.

Juan Cole speculates that CENTCOM commander Admiral William J. Fallon and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen may have been behind getting the document written and released.