Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, George Bush, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, News, Policy, Politics, President, Republicans, Torture, War on Terror

Two Cents, Nancy Pelosi and Torture

I was going to hold off a li’l while before posting my opinion on Nancy Pelosi, and whether or not she was briefed by the CIA on the Bush Administration’s use of torture.

Most people seem to have already made up their minds on the matter- even as the majority of the facts remain unknown- and the story is beginning to die out in the news.

Rather than run the risk of posting on an irrelevant topic later (God forbid!), I guess I’ll put my two cents in now.

First of all, I am saddened at how fast so many people- politicians and regular folk alike- jumped to conclusions on this subject, labeling Rep. Pelosi a hypocritical liar before any actual facts could even be substantianted.

I’m not saying she’s not a hypocrite, nor am I saying she isn’t a liar. I’m not even saying she handled herself appropriately with regards to the CIA’s use of waterboarding.

What I’m saying is that we just don’t know.

Not yet, anyway.

I’ve heard Pelosi discussing the CIA briefings she received as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

These so-called briefings have been a pet peeve of hers for a long time, certainly before this waterboarding controversy ever hit our radar screens.

When Congressional members of the Committee are briefed by Intelligence officials, they are not necessarily given complete or truly accurate information. The CIA (especially, one assumes, during this country’s most dangerous and dishonest administration) simply is not held accountable for briefing Intelligence Committee members with complete information.

Once the oft-incomplete briefing is held, the members of the committee are not allowed to ask questions for clarification purposes or to be given more information. In addition, they are not allowed to discuss the briefing with anyone else- including their own attorneys or staff members.

Pelosi isn’t saying the CIA didn’t “brief” her. She’s simply saying they didn’t give her the details that are now public knowledge, and even if they had, she wasn’t allow to do or say anything at all about any of it.

Pelosi is not the only Representative to level this charge. Bob Graham is another vocal critic of the briefings, and in fact backs Rep. Pelosi’s version of events as well.

Considering the CIA’s use of torture is illegal, are we really to believe that the organization, under the command of the likes of Bush and Cheney, really gave Pelosi all the information she would have needed to be able to determine that they were breaking the law?

Of course not.

They wanted to continue torturing people… they’re not going to give one of their adversaries the rope she needs to hang them.

Beyond all the did-she-know-or-didn’t-she-know nonsense, are we not missing the point entirely?

The point, people, is torture.

The illegal, immoral use of torture, and the lies we were all told by the Bush Administration for years, to justify violating the Geneva Conventions, thus making us less safe.

The GOP, it seems, is using Nancy Pelosi to defend such horrors as waterboarding, in effect saying “Pelosi should have stopped us and because she didn’t, we tortured people over and over again”.

As if George Bush, prior to signing all those executive orders was really looking to Pelosi, screaming, “For the love of God!! PLEASE STOP ME!!!”

Give me a break.

All I can say is, any one of you who believe Nancy Pelosi deserves to go down as a result of these briefings, and her alleged inaction as a result, better be supporters of Bush/Cheney and friends being charged with war crimes.

If you aren’t in support of the Bush Administration being taken to task for its lying, torturous, war-time transgressions, then you really need to shut your mouth where Nancy Pelosi is concerned.

For even if she is guilty of every single one of these allegations against her, they still pale in comparison to what our previous Commander-in-Chief was up to.

Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Democrats, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, News, Newt Gingrich, Politics, Republicans, Torture, War on Terror

Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi and Torture

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi engaged in a “despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort” when claiming to know little about the use of waterboarding and other CIA-sanctioned “enhanced” interrogation methods.

She lied to the House of Representatives and to the American public.

That’s what Newt Gingrich says, anyway, while trying to justify his belief that the House should open an inquiry to investigate her claims that the CIA never briefed her about the use of torture on terror suspects.

The “despicable, dishonest” part of his quote sounded familiar somehow, so I immediately got to researchin’.

Lo’ and behold…

… I found what I was looking for.

How about this

The House ethics committee recommended last night that (the) House Speaker face an unprecedented reprimand from… colleagues after concluding that inaccurate information supplied to investigators represented “intentional or . . . reckless” disregard of House rules.”

Huh.

I bet your average Pelosi-hater will read that and begin foaming at the mouth… nodding their heads in agreement… “Yup-yup, that’s right… they’re gonna recommend a punishment for her? That’s great!!”

… Except that the quote’s not referring to Nancy  Pelosi at all. 

See, Newt Gingrich knows a thing or two about lying to the House of Representatives and unethical behavior himself.

In January of 1997 the House Ethics Committee voted, 7-1, to reprimand then-House Speaker Gingrich, as well as fining him $300,000 in additional sanctions. This action concluded the investigation against Newt Gingrich for illegally using tax-deductible money for political purposes, and for lying to investigators.

The above quote was said about Newt more than 12 years ago.

Gingrich, in fact, holds the distinction of being the first-ever, and to this day, only House Speaker to ever receive an official reprimand by the House of Representatives.

Yeah. I said ever.

In the meantime, he’s going off on Pelosi every chance he gets. He says she only has 2 defenses with regards to this CIA waterboarding fiasco… she was either dishonest or incompetent.

I wonder which defense worked best for him?

The dishonesty defense? Or the incompentence one?

Unfortunately, Gingrich, who never had that much credibility to begin with, simply sounds ridiculous right now.

He’s unusually rabid with regards to Speaker Pelosi, and knowing his own history as Speaker of the House, it simply seems he’s being over-zealous for the wrong reasons.

He just wants someone else to join him in his rare distinction of “Reprimanded House Speaker”.

Poor guy’s gettin’ lonely.

Gingrich himself does not support torture, and for that I congratulate him. His is not a popular position within the Republican Party right now, and I applaud him for taking a stand.

His motivation for calling for Pelosi to be investigated may, perhaps, seem more genuine if he would back off a little from the rabid-attack-dog act, and hold off until all the facts are known.

I sincerely hope the rest of us will do the same, waiting until all the facts come to light before condemning Nancy Pelosi to Newt Gringrich’s ‘hood.

Personally speaking, if it does turn out that Speaker Pelosi knew that our soldiers were torturing people and never did anything to either bring the behavior to light or stop it, and then turned around and went on a media-blitz after Bush left office, condemning him for knowing about torture, supporting torture, and not actively working to end torture, I will not only be calling for her to be reprimanded, but impeached entirely.

Posted in Abu Ghraib, Barack Obama, C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Dick Cheney, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, President, Torture, War on Terror

Abu Ghraib, Appeals and The Grand Old Party

I am among the enlightened ones who feel the entire Bush Administration should be tried for war crimes… and have felt this way for quite some time.

Today I read an article that further cemented that view.

Most of us remember the scandal of Abu Ghraib prison, back in 2004.

Prison guards- U.S. Military personnel- were accused of physically, psychologically and sexually abusing inmates… numerous pictures emerged, proving the allegations.

Immediately, the Bush Administration found itself on the defense, claiming that such treatment of fellow human beings was not condoned nor sanctioned by the United States of America.

They claimed that the actions of the guards were those of a few rogue “bad apples”… certainly nothing widespread, and definitely nothing that our great country would ever knowingly allow.

Ultimately, 12 guards were tried and convicted- dishonorably discharged- and sent to prison for the abuse.

Case closed, right?

Wrong.

Recently, and in what seemed an unrelated situation,  ex-VP Dick Cheney raised a ruckus with the Obama Administration– an Administration that unlike its predecessor, stands strongly against torture,- and requested interrogation memos be made public.

This was a risky attempt by Cheney to “prove” to the American people that the use of torture has made our country- and those inhabiting it- safer.

Obama, ever the gentlemen, has released some of these memos.

The results, it seems, have back-fired on the GOP.

What?

The GOP shot itself in the ass?

Unheard of!

These memos, justifying the use of “enhanced interrogation”, give credence to what the convicted Abu Ghraib guards have been saying all along…

… They were merely following orders.

According to the memos, the Bush administration not only authorized and condoned the torturous abuse of inmates, it even hired psychologists- who have never interrogated a single soul- to the tune of $1,000 a day, to train our servicemen and women to use such tactics.

This is not a case of military personnel going berserk, needlessly torturing prisoners of their own accord…

Rather, this is a case of military personnel following the orders of their Commander in Chief.

How interesting that the Bush Administration worked so tirelessly to make our nation’s heroes- people like my cousin, my aunt and my uncle- scapegoats.

Lawyers for the guards are now working on an appeal of their clients’ convictions… and seek to have the dishonorable discharges expunged from their records.

The situation would be laughable, had so many of our own military not lost their freedom as a result of it.

How can the Bush Administration claim that torture is justified, and is making us safer, when just a few short years ago they were accusing the men and women who were doing it, of being bad apples?

If these “enhanced interrogation” techniques are so kosher, why did those in the know not stand up for these people?

Why not laud them as heroes?

Why throw them so thoroughly under the bus?

The answer is simple.

Bush, and cronies, knew the torture of fellow human beings was wrong…

… And yet they condoned it, authorized it- ordered it- anyway.

These are the “ideals” and principles the GOP clings so strongly to today… they are fighting tirelessly to preserve the use of torture- physical, mental and sexual abuse- and they are fighting for the right to blame my heroes for the behavior.

They then wonder why their way of life, their very party, is completely falling apart.

That, my friends, is why I say good riddance to the Grand Old Party.

Posted in C-Haze, Current Events, News, Policy, Politics, Religion, Torture, War on Terror

Pews, Research and The Church

One of my pet peeves is people using their brand of religion as an excuse to do hateful and hurtful things.

My contempt isn’t reserved solely for Christians.

However, because I am more familiar with the teachings of Christianity than I am other religions, it does tend to upset me more when I see self-proclaimed Christians doing evil things in the name of God.

I learned of a new Pew Research survey regarding church goers and their support of torture.

The results were not surprising.

Of the 742 American adults questioned, 54% of regular church attendees (those who go at least once a week) are in support of torture.

Those who do not go to church- or who rarely attend- were least likely to support the torture of other human beings.

I am reminded of my father’s first church, right after he graduated from Seminary. It is because of that church that I refuse to attend services to this day.

I was a junior in high school, have never met so many evil, hypocritical, vicious people in such close proximity to each other.

These church members were quick to judge others- anyone and everyone but themselves, in fact- and showed little, if any, compassion- ever.

I was quickly confused…

Am I really to believe that these “faithful” members- these jerks- that show up at church each and every Sunday have a better chance of going to heaven than someone who truly lives a more Christ-like existence- but rarely (or never) goes to church?

I would happily take my chances with the Ghandis of the world… or an atheist who works tirelessly for world peace… a homosexual that spends his life working so that all people, regardless of color, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation can enjoy basic human rights… people who never set foot in a church…

… But who are doing more to live as Jesus would want us to than his own supposed followers are.

Surely Jesus would never approve of the horrific, inhumane, torturous treatment of any of his father’s children.

Not the Jesus I know.

Yet it is his so-called followers that most staunchly support the unspeakably horrible treatment of others.

Way to get it wrong, folks.

I guess I’ll see y’all in hell.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Conservative, Current Events, George Bush, News, Policy, Politics, President, Torture, War on Terror

Bye Bye Bybee…

I just signed a petition calling for Judge Jay Bybee’s impeachment.

Judge Bybee, for those who aren’t aware, is currently under federal investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The investigation centers around a legal memo Bybee wrote during the Bush Administration, authorizing “enhanced” interrogation techniques- techniques that the Justice Department considers to be torture.

Mr. Bybee isn’t just in trouble in the good ol’ US of A either- he’s also being investigated in Spain for war crimes.

Currently, this not-so-nice guy enjoys a cushy gig as a federal judge in the 9th district.

Nice.

 Anyway, if you’re interested, the petition is being sponsored by Moveon.org.

If you aren’t interested, shame on you.

This is a morally bankrupt man.

A man that believes that torturing fellow humans is not only an appropriate action- but an action that makes us safer in our own beds at night.

He’s wrong, he’s criminal, and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.