Thursday, October 04, 2007

Daily Headliners--Bush torture, RNC's new logo, Craig remains in office

Here are today's Daily Headliners.

Secret Bush endorsement of torture interrogations: We really shouldn't be surprised by this New York Times story;

[Soon] after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.

Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

I sometimes wonder if George W. Bush has a secret desire to be a failure here. This NY Times article shows how petty and immature this administration is. This administration refuses to accept any oversight--if Congress outlaws "cruel, inhuman and degrading" CIA interrogation techniques on prisoners, we'll just create a secret memo saying that CIA interrogation techniques did not violate the standard.

Now Kevin Drum has an interesting take on this NY Times story;

The Times says that "most lawmakers" didn't know about this secret opinion. That means that some of them did. I'd like to know which ones. I'd also like to hear each of the Democratic candidates tell us whether or not they promise to repudiate all secret Bush administration memorandums on torture and detention during their first day in office. Quickly, please.

I will say that some of the lawmakers who knew about the secret opinion, were probably Republicans in the top leadership positions. I'd love to know who they were. And yes, we need the Democrats to both repudiate and publish all the secret Bush memorandums on torture and detention, so that we have a clear historical record of what these petty tyrants in the Bush White House have done over the past seven years.

The Republican National Committee's new 2008 national convention logo: This is a rather strange story that I first found through Carpetbagger, with the original source story coming from bothThe Right's Field and This is the new official logo for the Republican National Convention for 2008;

The RNC's new 2008 national convention logo.

I've been reading the comments on Carpetbagger, The Right's Field,, and even The Daily Kos. The comments are almost all the same here--the elephant is colored the Democratic Party's blue, rather than red, the elephant is mounting 2008, and are those prison stripes on the elephant? I will admit that the RNC design is pretty bad. In fact, I'm wondering if the Republicans were designing their logo to look more like a Democratic donkey, rather than an elephant. Just for comparison, here is the Democratic National Committee's design for their national convention logo;

Democratic National Committee 2008 Convention logo.

The big problem I have with the DNC's 2008 logo is that you don't even know where the convention is being held. With the Republican's logo, at least you know the convention is being held in Minneapolis. With the Democrat's logo, they left the host convention city completely off. And just so you know, the Democrats are holding their national convention in Denver, Colorado.

Sen. Craig vows to remain in office for term; Gee, why am I not surprised about this MSNBC story;

MINNEAPOLIS - Idaho Sen. Larry Craig lost a bid Thursday to withdraw his guilty plea in a men’s room sex sting but defiantly vowed to finish his Senate term, prolonging a headache for Republican leaders already facing a tough political climate.

Craig had announced plans to resign his seat by Sept. 30 but wavered when he went to court in hopes of withdrawing his plea. He issued a statement Thursday on staying in the Senate shortly after Republican Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter relayed word that he had selected a replacement for Craig in the event of a vacancy.

“I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively,” Craig said in a written statement that disappointed fellow Republicans who have urged him to step down. Craig, 62, said he will not seek a fourth term in November 2008.

“He is ready to act should we receive a letter of resignation,” said Jon Hanian, Otter’s spokesman.

Craig said in his statement: “I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee — something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate.”

The bipartisan ethics panel has already signaled it is reviewing details of Craig’s case, a step requested by Senate Republican leaders. His decision to stay and fight raises the strong possibility of public hearings — almost certain to be televised — centered on the issue of gay sex.

Senate Republicans made clear they wish Craig would leave office and let them forget the episode that has fueled jokes on late-night television for weeks. Idaho is likely to remain in the GOP column after next year’s election, but Craig’s insistence on finishing his term was received frostily by colleagues.

“Senator Craig gave us his word” that he would resign by Sept. 30 if he could not overturn the guilty plea, said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who chairs the GOP campaign committee overseeing next year’s Senate elections. “I wish he would stick to his word.

Senate Republicans want Craig to resign so they can put behind this latest sex scandal to be heaped upon the GOP's "culture of corruption" image. The last thing the Republicans want is for Senator Craig to be the poster boy for the continuing Republican scandals, going into the 2008 elections. Well, Senator Craig is saying the hell with the Republican Party--he's more concerned about his own political ass, than he is about the GOP's reputation. So Craig is staying in the Senate, even though he declared that he would resign if his conviction could not be overturned.

There is actually a bit of an irony here. Craig is telling the Republican Party to go to hell--he's going to do whatever he wants to save his political career. President George Bush is telling the Republican Party, the Democrats, and the entire country to go to hell--he is going to do whatever he wants to save his legacy (such as continuing the war in Iraq.). Do you see a connection here?

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