07 November, 2007

To Hell In A Handbasket...

Yesterday morning the Senate Judiciary Committee approved, by an 11 to 8 vote, the nomination of Michael Mukasey and sent it on to the full Senate for a vote. Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Charles Shumer joined the Republicans in voting for the nomination and in so doing betrayed, along with those Republicans, both common sense and common decency.

If you've been following the nomination hearings, you have surely heard that Mukasey declined to give an opinion on whether or not "waterboarding" should be considered as torture. He carefully explained that he was not privy to the actual techniques employed by U.S. interrogators, as they're classified, he was unable to offer an opinion on their legality or moral status.

Except that he wasn't being asked to do so. He was given an explicitly hypothetical definition of a procedure that was defined to him as "waterboarding" and asked to comment on whether or not that procedure was moral and/or legal: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Dem. RI) asked, "is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning. Is that constitutional?" To which Mukasey replied, "If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional"

WTF? IF it amounts to torture? What kind of moral reprobate are we dealing with here? Disregard for a moment the fact that Whitehouse' description is inaccurate (the technique doesn't simulate drowning, it is in fact controlled drowning in that the lungs are actually filling with water), what kind of human being can hear of such a thing and not immediately agree that such an act is torture?

Of course the White House was quick to defend Mukasey's response by noting that he had not yet been briefed on classified interrogation techniques and couldn't be until his confirmation. But this is utterly irrelevant. Mukasey wasn't being asked to comment on actual interrogation techniques, only the status of one described to him. Whether or not such a technique is actually used was not relevant to the question. And still he couldn't, or wouldn't, answer.

In reality, of course, Mr. Mukasey was likely assisting in covering the administration's collective ass. If he were to give what seems to any rational humane person to be the obvious answer, then it might mean difficulty or even eventual prosecution for Bush and his morally-challenged band of sycophants.

With the by-now painfully obvious lack of moral standards and the lust for power and disdain for the rule of law that characterizes this President and his rotten, corrupt administration, do we really need an Attorney General who is unable to support common sense and common decency over political sycophancy and fear? Do we really need another moral degenerate in a government already filled with them?

Keith Olbermann (who in my opinion has rightfully inherited the mantle of Edward R. Murrow) has the right take on this administration in his MSNBC commentary last night:
The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush.

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity;

All the invocations of World War Three, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists…

All of it is now — after one revelation last week — transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the re-focusing of our entire nation, towards keeping this mock president, and this unstable vice president, and this departed wildly self-over-rating Attorney General — and the others — from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country.

See the link for the full transcript and a video.

Indeed. What else is there to say? At one time, one would have expected Democrats to stand up against this fraud and expose it, but we have two of the leading members of that party complicit in the process of approving yet another degenerate sycophant to the already degraded office of Attorney General. The damage this man and his fellow travelers have wrought to the office of President, the United States, and the democratic process may well not be fully known for years. Next November cannot possibly come quickly enough!

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