On April 19, 2009, President Obama released four formerly secret torture authorization memos written by the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration. Among other things, these memos justified waterboarding and torture, laying out with chilling detail the methods to be used in torturing CIA prisoners. One of the principal authors of these memos was Jay Bybee, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel and today a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bybee must be impeached, as a first step in holding those responsible for torture accountable for their actions.
Bybee's memo was written to provide legal cover and attempted justification for torture approved at the highest levels of the Bush administration. It attempts to give a legal veneer to the most brutal of illegal actions, violating U.S. and international law and the U.S. Constitution [The formerly classified Memo is available here: http://ccrjustice.org/files/olc_08012002_bybee.pdf].
Along with justifications for facial “insult” slapping and the use of insects in a confinement box to torture prisoners, Bybee produced a lengthy pseudo-legal justification for the illegal practice of torture through waterboarding: ”Even if one were to parse the statute more finely to treat ‘suffering’ as a distinct concept, the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe suffering. The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.”
It is utterly unacceptable for an individual who produced transparent attempts to justify illegality using the framework of a legal memorandum, and who abused his status as a government lawyer to conspire with other high level government officials to violate the law, to sit as a federal judge, hearing and deciding on issues of supreme constitutional import.
Jay Bybee’s actions in crafting the torture memo constitute High Crimes and Misdemeanors by any standard. Such an individual only brings disrepute to the federal bench and shows a flagrant disregard for the very Constitution he is sworn to uphold.
Once again "guided by a president who has no experience of war and defers to the bull-necked generals and militarists whose careers, power and profits depend on expanded war, we are transformed into monsters..."
The Amazing Pavement Drawings of fellow Nabob, JULIAN BEEVER
To view a slideshow of this Masterful Artist's Illusions just click on the Giant Butterfly above
The Roots of "The Culture Wars" written November, 2008
At the 1992 Republican National Convention, Pat Buchanan lobbed the first explicit attack on modernity, officially declaring a War on Culture in America.
Seizing the RNC podium and appropriating the GOP mantel as a platform to wage his long-fantasized Culture War, Buchanan delivered a rousing speech that presumptively enlisted the support of that party under the leadership of first President Bush.
Buchanan denounced the "radical feminism" of Bill and Hillary Clinton's " agenda [that] would impose on America -- abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat -- that's change, all right," he said, "But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."
Those words may ring familiar as they were echoed anew at the 2008 Republican National Convention, because the still powerful GOP continues to be a propitious vehicle for the marauding legions of backwardness and ignorance. They may have been defeated by and large in the latest round of national elections. But, to them, this was merely a set back and we can be sure they are already regrouping for their next assault on reason.
In the current transition back to a liberal Democratic Party-led government we must not allow ourselves to become complacent, over-confident or narrowly factional in our pursuit of a progressive realization of the Constitutional promise of freedom and equality for all of us.
Recall that, even after Buchanan called on his minions to support George the First that election went to Clinton. But they were far from defeated and eight years later they came roaring back with a vengeance by the name of George W. Bush.
If anyone thinks the reactionary Religious Right will just roll over and play dead while the Obama Administration does its best to clean up the phenomenal mess Bush left in his wake...