BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Beam me Up, Scotty


Gonna deal with some crazy Joementum in a second.

But first...

Time to check in with (current) White House Spokesman...Scott McClellan.

The issues? Rendition, torturing the "evildoers," and sendin' 'em to countries that'll torture 'em for us.

Something that we, uh, don't do:
Q: Scott, one follow-up on that: Why not take (prisoners) back to U.S. soil if you are concerned that they not be tortured, where you are under clear guidelines both of U.S. law and, of course, the whole torture issues that you raised.

Why move them around to foreign countries --

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. Renditions have been in place for a long time.

Q: Yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: Secretary Rice talked yesterday about the Jackal and others that have been rendered previously and brought to justice, and the importance of rendition as a tool that will -- can help us prevail in the war on terrorism.
The Jackal?!

What bad B-movie are we living in?!

Extraordinary Rendition, starring Bruce Willis, Virginia Madsen, Michael Madsen, Jeff Fahey and Jean Claude Van Damme.
And she made very clear that we are going to do everything lawful within our means to protect our citizens. And we have to recognize --

Q: Render them back here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, no, hang on, I'm coming to your question.

We are in a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy.

This is an enemy that has no regard for innocent human life.

They don't wear uniforms.

They don't report to a particular state or nation.

They espouse an ideology that they seek to spread throughout the world.

It's a hateful and oppressive ideology.
There you go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 talking points for the conservative talking heads.
Now, in terms -- you jumped in there a second ago, so I forgot the first part of your question I was coming to.

Q: Why not -- why not render them back to the United States where there is --

MR. McCLELLAN: Response to that -- the way I would say -- respond to that is that we make decisions on a case-by-case basis, working with other countries, in terms of where individuals are rendered.

Q: What is the purpose of rendition, other than, if it is not, in fact, to subject detainees to a degree of interrogation somewhat more difficult than that which they would be subjected to in the United States?

And that being the case, what definition of torture does the United States understand and accept?

MR. McCLELLAN: The ones that are defined in our law and our international treaty obligations.

We have laws --

Q: If that's the case, then why bother to render anybody?

MR. McCLELLAN: We have laws that prohibit torture. We have treaty obligations that we adhere to. And the Convention Against Torture is a treaty obligation that we take seriously and we adhere to. And in that treaty, it -- those treaties and laws, it defines torture. And --

Q Then what's the purpose of rendition?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- so we adhere to our laws and our treaty obligations, and our values. That's very important as we move forward in conducting the war on terrorism.

But what this is about is how we conduct the war on terrorism, how we protect our people, our citizens.

And each country's highest responsibility is the safety and security of their citizens.

And we all must work together to prevail in this different kind of war.

And intelligence helps save lives.

And we have an obligation -- when people are picked up on the battlefield -- unlawful enemy combatants -- to do our part to question them and learn information that can help us prevent attacks from happening in the first place.
Fantastic: You have all the talking points you need.
And we work very closely with countries throughout the world to make sure that we are doing all we can to protect our citizens -- but we do so in a lawful way.

Q: But if we are committed to international conventions against torture, what, then, is the purpose of rendition?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to get into talking about specific intelligence matters that help prevent attacks from happening and help save lives. As Secretary Rice indicated yesterday, the steps we have taken have helped save lives in America and in European countries. We will continue to work with --

Q: But you seem to be suggesting that --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you're --

Q: -- there's more to be gained by interrogating these people outside the United States than there is inside.

MR. McCLELLAN: It depends. It's a case-by-case basis, Bill, and in some cases they're rendered to their home country of origin. You cited two examples of past renditions yesterday, one individual that was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993; another individual that is one of the most notorious terrorists of all time.

Q: But how do we know they weren't tortured? They claim they were.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q How do we know they weren't tortured?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we know that our enemy likes to make claims like that.

Um, I have a question for Mr. McClellan.

"Scott, how do we know ANYTHING?"
Q The President and Vice President have both been speaking very warmly about Senator Lieberman lately.

And the Senator has suggested that the President should appoint a bipartisan working group on Iraq to meet perhaps weekly, including members of Congress, National Security officials, to talk about progress there, and to be able to report back to the American people.

Is that an idea the President would welcome?

MR. McCLELLAN: Senator Lieberman has talked about the visible and practical progress that is being made on the ground, and he's talked about the importance of winning in Iraq.

And I think while there may be disarray and disagreement within the Democratic Party, Senator Lieberman is someone who is firmly committed to supporting our troops and succeeding in Iraq.

He recognizes the importance of victory there and the importance of succeeding.

Q So is his suggestion something the administration would embrace?

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't had a chance to look at what he said today, Kelly, so I'll have to take a look at that. But we work very closely with him in the war on terrorism, and we appreciate his leadership, and we appreciate his ideas. And I'll take a look at that and see if there's anything else to add.
On that note...

Let's take a look at Senator Lieberman's "ideas."

Cortesy of the Hartford Courant.

Lieberman Calls For Formation Of 'War Cabinet'

Can we start an online petition, ""
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, increasingly isolated in his own Democratic party because of his strong support for the Iraq war, today called on the White House and congressional leaders to form a special "war cabinet" to provide advice and direction for the war effort.

The Connecticut Democrat's "Bipartisan Victory in Iraq Administrative Group," designed to take some of the political edge off the war debate, would be modeled after similar panels during the Vietnam War and World War II.

Lieberman, whom the Bush administration has praised repeatedly for his war stance, defended the president.

"It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more years," the senator said.

"We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."
"We can't tolerate the kind of division that current exists in our country," the senator said. "Why are we fighting among those who have the same goals?"
"I understand the position I'm taking on the war in Iraq is controversial," Lieberman said.

"In a sheer political sense, it would be easier to keep quiet."
Lieberman said he had not yet figured out details of how his cabinet would work. It would probably meet weekly and discuss conditions in Iraq, and perhaps recommend policy.

Decisions on spending and how to implement and execute policy would remain with the executive and legislative branches.

Lieberman plans to send a letter to congressional leaders and the White House today outlining his proposal.

Send me your comments, and I'll start the website.


Hurricane victims tell US Congress of racial slurs

From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Survivors from New Orleans told a congressional panel on Tuesday they felt abandoned by government at all levels after Hurricane Katrina hit the city and had been subjected to racial slurs and menaced by guns when they sought food and water.


Leah Hodges, a community activist, recalled trying to help a group of stranded senior citizens.

The military took them to an evacuation point on a highway where they spent the night, awakening to a "bunch of hard red necks scowling and growling at us in military uniforms ... pointing guns at us and treating us worse than prisoners of war," she said.

Hodges described waiting in the burning sun in conditions she likened to a concentration camp. Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, asked her to stop making that comparison.

"I'm going to call it what it is. If I put a dress on a pig, a pig is still a pig," she responded heatedly.
Miller countered, "Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed."
Hey, Florida? Be proud!

You've got a genius...working for you!

More later...


  • Unfortunately Miller is not my Florida congressman so I can't vote against him. Equally unfortunately Queen of the Damned, Katherine Harris is. (I did vote against her in EVERY election she ran in). I saw her in a recent holiday parade in Punta Gorda made eye contact, shook my head and turned my back to her. I doubt she cared, but I couldn't bring myself to smaile and wave to her.

    By Blogger Carlton Noles, at 10:42 AM  

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