Skip to main content

Michael Mukasey is certainly qualified to be Attorney General of the United States, if Alberto Gonzales sets any precedent.

And while that may be the least convincing recommendation anyone can ever be given for the job, consider that Mukasey yesterday gave perhaps the least convincing answer to one of the most important questions asked of him -- by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)-- in his confirmation hearing:

WHITEHOUSE: Is waterboarding constitutional?

MUKASEY: I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE: "If waterboarding is constitutional" is a massive hedge.

MUKASEY: No, I said, "If it's torture." I'm sorry. I said, "If it's torture."

WHITEHOUSE: "If it's torture." That's a massive hedge. I mean, it either is or it isn’t. Do you have an opinion on whether waterboarding, which 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?

MUKASEY: If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE: I'm very disappointed in that answer — I think it is purely semantic.

MUKASEY: I’m sorry.

And Whitehouse is right, of course. To say torture is not constitutional is -- or should be, in a sane world -- to say nothing at all. That is the response one might expect from a junior high school civics student, not a nominee for Attorney General.

But Mukasey, and his putative boss, George W. Bush, have a much bigger problem than being able to get away with massive hedges. The problem is that Bush's policies have made it impossible for any nominee for Attorney General who hopes to retain any amount of faith with this "administration" to answer these threshold questions with any amount of honesty.

It is simply bedrock truth that no one can answer the torture questions honestly without exposing the fact that the "administration" hinges its entire detainee policy on semantics.

It is similarly unfathomable -- or once was unfathomable in America -- that a nominee for Attorney General of the United States would ever have to say anything other than "no" to the question of "Is waterboarding constitutional?"

George W. Bush's detainee policies have, quite simply, rendered honest and conscientious service as an Attorney General impossible. One simply cannot serve both this president and the law faithfully. It is a paradox and an impossibility, because this president does not serve the law faithfully. And what it means, at bottom, is that George W. Bush's "administration" is an enemy of the rule of law, and has so diminished our capacity to live by it that no honest Senator should permit him the charade of attending to it with the window dressing of confirming an Attorney General.

Anyone who would hold that job in this "administration" will by definition be reduced to serving as a placeholder only -- a mere figurehead to whom everyone will, out of pure habit only, refer to as the "Attorney General," but who will at the end of the day be prevented from administering the law he will have sworn to uphold.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:26 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Mukasey is NOT qualified (42+ / 0-)

    If he cannot say without reservation that waterboarding is, indeed, torture, the man is not qualified for any job within the legal profession.

    PEACE, through SUPERIOR DIPLOMACY!

    by Walt starr on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:27:51 AM PDT

    •  Wow, truer words ... (10+ / 0-)

      in this comment and diary ... rare.  Game on: crickets vs. outrage.

    •  Neither Are Bush And Cheney! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Walt starr, behan, greenearth, Chacounne

      If they are criminally unfit to make appointments, then they are unfit to hold the Office!  

    •  He "what is involved in the technique" (6+ / 0-)

      Maybe he should be waterboarded so he WILL know. Hey if it is not torture, it shouldn't be a big deal right?

      •  See, that's just dumb. (6+ / 0-)

        I'd like to know who Mukasey thought he was fooling with that. Certainly no one who would be listening to his testimony.

        Give me a break.

        •  Yes, he is giving classic BushCo evasive answers (4+ / 0-)

          Just keepin his options open for his new job as Chief Torture Approver and enabler of the Bush dictatorship.

          Anyone with integrity and an intent to uphold rule of law, would have said "Yes, waterboarding is most certianly a form of torture.".

          •  I can't imagine what it is that the Bush Admin. (6+ / 0-)

            does that sways such people to change their opinions so drastically. Mukasey spoke so clearly against torture prior to the Executive getting their grimy hands on him and now, as part of his presidential appointment, he begins the atrocious process of circling the wagons around the president's failed (and more than likely, illegal) policies. I'm unsure if it is the promise of power and titillation of assured monetary gain or just plainly, but no less reprehensible, "We've got the dirt on you" threats that move such people to move in such an unethical direction.

            My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star. -Grandpa Simpson

            by xobehtedistuo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:13:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  He isn't fooling anyone, but what he and BushCult (11+ / 0-)

          are trying to do is to move away from the long-held tradition of blanket definitions of torture like these in the Geneva Conventions:

          1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

          To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

          (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

          (b) Taking of hostages;

          (c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

          (d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

          ...and instead are attempting to force us as a nation to make a list of individual torture techniques that would be prohibited - where some specific "favorites" of the torture crowd would be conveniently left off the list of prohibited techniques and thereby considered technically legal.

          That is pretty much how all of these conservative lawyers operate.

        •  Simple Question to pose to Mukasey (4+ / 0-)

          Mr. Mukasey, is waterboarding conducted by Al Qaeda against an American serviceman in an attempt to gain information an acceptable form of interrogation? Would it be considered torture if done to a American soldier?

          (Alright, it's two questions, but so be it).

          The Republican Creed: Pray and Pass the Ammunition

          by johninPortland on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:31:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Better yet ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina

            Mr. Mukasey, what interrogation methods, if used against American servicemen and women, would you consider unacceptable?

            #2 In light of your previous answer, would any of those methods be considered unacceptable if used by American Servicemen and women against insurgents in Iraq and other countries in the world? If so, which ones?

            #3 Explain the reasoning for any yes answers?

            PS - Any yes answers to #2 will require candidate to remove his name form the nomination process...

            •  Careful with Terminology - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina, Nadnerb in NC

              if used by American Servicemen

              The devil really is in the details - i.e., the parsing of the language.

              The answer would be "Yes, it would be unacceptable if done by American Servicemen". And Mukasey would be in the clear.

              Left unanwered would be whether it would be acceptable if done by private contractors, the CIA, or foreign nationals of governments known to engage in this sort of behavior.

              The questioning should rule out torture by US servicemen, anyone in the employ of the US government, and by any governments doing our dirty work.

              Just like the statement "this government does not torture" is probably correct. We got someone else to do it, nationals of foreign governments, or a non-governmental contractors or employees.

              The Republican Creed: Pray and Pass the Ammunition

              by johninPortland on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:45:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Or... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xobehtedistuo

            "If you are not willing to say whether or not waterboarding is torture, would you be willing to submit to it for the rest of this interview?"

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:00:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Even better . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina

            Mr. Mukasy,

            The United States government has declared waterboarding to be torture when used by other sovereign nations.  If it's torture by foreign governments according this administration, shouldn't it be torture when it's used by this administration?

            My moniker is in honor of three generations of women whose soul's were seared in the cauldron of Hell's Kitchen, NYC

            by hells kitchen on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:36:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Anyone who does not know (8+ / 0-)

        what waterboarding is, at this point, does not read newspapers.  Do we want an AG who does not read newspapers? Is such a person qualified?

        Mukasey is neither stupid nor ignorant.  He must, therefore, be a liar.

        And, if his answers were under oath, a perjurer, as well.

        •  newspaper... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CitizenOfEarth, greenearth, plf515

          Hell, we've got a president who doesn't read the newspaper.  Why should anybody else in his administration be any different?

        •  Here is the online demo (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plf515

          for anyone who has never seen the actual process
          Waterboarding demo (Lord forgive me , it's a FauxNews video)

          If Mukasey claims he doesn't know what it is, he is either:

          1. A liar (most likely)
          1. Too oblivious to current events to be running the DoJ
        •  I thought the same thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plf515

          when he knew he would be questioned about torture, wouldn't he have studied the Geneva Conventions? (Actually, shouldn't he already have known them thoroughly?)

          He had to either be (a)ignorant  of the international standards for prisoner treatment through the Conventions, which I doubt is true...or (b)he was obfuscating.  

          To give him the merest benefit of the doubt, he could have been retaining his judicial independence by not answering directly. But it seemed a departure from the way he answered other questions.

          So I vote (b). Maybe he is threatened by Bush withdrawing his nomination midstream if he doesn't support the Unitary Executive folderol. I am being charitable, because he seemed to have made some comparatively reasonable decisions in his career.

      •  Whitehouse showed him a video of (14+ / 0-)

        waterboarding.  Mukasey's desire to leave open the possibility that there might be circumstances in which waterboarding might not be torture is absurd.  The common justification for this is the "ticking time bomb" scenario -- "What if you KNEW that a suspect knew where and when the bomb was going to go off" -- is a complete red herring.  Torture is torture -- the nature of the information you are trying to find out doesn't change that.  

        Are their circumstances in which torture might not be morally wrong, where the ends justify the means? After all, there are circumstances in which killing someone is justifiable; for example, someone is pointing a gun or a knife at you or your kid, and the only way to protect yourself or your kid is to kill the attacker first.  

        Can you extend that logic to cover the "terrorist who knows where the bomb is" scenario?  Seems dubious to me -- after all, how do you KNOW that the guy is a terrorist, how do you KNOW that he KNOWS when and where the bomb is going off?  How do you KNOW that torture will make him give you the correct information, rather than false information that will distract you long enough for the bomb to go off?  When a guy holds a gun to your head, or a knife at your kid's throat, you KNOW with absolute certainty that you are being threatened in a way that justifies any defensive action you take, including killing your attacker.  And even then, your conduct may be second-guessed.  

        For example, if you disable your attacker and then shoot him five times, your defense of justifiable homicide may be questioned.  If you disable your attacker and then flay him alive, your conduct WILL be questioned.  There are some things that even the most dire, imminent threat will not justify.

        The Mukaseys of the world will say that they have to leave the definition open because of the chance that in some dire, hasn't happened yet scenario, waterboarding is the only thing that may prevent a terrorist attack from succeeding.  

        The problem with that logic -- aside from the fact that the ticking bomb scenario only happens on "24" -- is if you refuse to define waterboarding as torture under any circumstances, then it is NEVER torture, and government agents can justify it whenever someone thinks it's going to be an effective "tool" for finding out anything.

        I guess what I would say is this.  Waterboarding is torture, and torture is torture.  That is the only way that government agents will think of it as something that is illegal and wrong; if there are  circumstances that they think are as imminent and threatening as gun at your head or knife at your kid's throat scenario as possible, they have to be willing to take the risk that someone will second-guess their conduct after the fact.  

        "You are seeing impeachment as a constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a constitutional crisis." -- John Nichols

        by litigatormom on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:07:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OMG, Welcome Back! :) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litigatormom, behan, greenearth

          Agree that after seeing the video of waterboarding, Mukasey has no cred left.

        •  They seem to have trouble distinguishing reality (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litigatormom, snazzzybird, greenearth

          from a TV show.

        •  Also consider the fact that all statistical (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litigatormom, greenearth, dragoneyes

          analysis show that torture does not work and will more than likely result in misinformation. So, at this point I guess that the desire for the Admin. to use, and justify the use of torture, plays right into the general incompetence of the Executive as everything they have done to make Americans safer fails by moving further away from the goal and creating more enemies.

          And in what world does one become the very thing they despise and fight against. The Republicans have lost their bloody minds and their humanity and are the epitome of what is currently wrong in this country.

          My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star. -Grandpa Simpson

          by xobehtedistuo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:24:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "The problem with that logic" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litigatormom, joesig, milkbone

          ...is that it is just cover for cowards.  Torture (including waterboarding) is and should remain illegal.  If you are in the position of being able to torture someone in a ticking bomb situation, and it is your judgment that doing so is the only way to prevent disastrous consequences, then you should also be willing to pay the legal consequences.  "In my judgment, the only way to save X-thousand lives was to waterboard the detainee.  I recognize that doing so was illegal, and I will accept whatever punishment this court and society will mandate as a consequence."  Those can be very moral actions to take -- particularly if the torture did, indeed, result in the saving of thousands of lives; the person taking such actions can expect some leniency from the court and society, but probably not complete exoneration.

          Far less moral are the claims that "In my judgment, the only way to save X-thousand lives was to waterboard the detainee; but I chose to let thousands die in order to avoid the possibility that I might spend some time in jail," or that "In order to avoid the possibility that I might spend some time in jail for taking moral actions in some exceedingly rare situations, torture should be legal."  Those are positions of morally diminutive cowards.

          •  Exactly, (0+ / 0-)
            No jury would convict the man who tortured a terrorist and was able to disarm the nuclear weapon hidden in NYC.
            •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              milkbone

              The jury should convict the torturer, but the sentence should likely be significantly mitigated.  The torturer is guilty, but we may not wish to punish that guilt because of the exigent circumstances.

              •  Should? (0+ / 0-)
                The jury is entirely free to find the defendant innocent for any reason it pleases. This can be and has been abused, and judges usually hide it from juries, but if this kind of theoretical case I'd find it entirely appropriate.

                Though if the defendant tried to avoid taking responsibility, but covering up the torture or trying to weasel out of it, I'd throw the book at him.

                •  Sorta (0+ / 0-)

                  The jury doesn't have to provide any reason for finding the defendant not-guilty.  It is not empowered to find the defendant innocent, and it should follow the judge's orders in deciding between guilty and not-guilty.

                  •  True (0+ / 0-)
                    I used innocent loosely. Not Guilty is correct.

                    But there is no obligation to follow the judge's orders. It's generally a good idea, but in extreme cases it's perfectly acceptable for a jury to find not guilty because the law is wrong or because of extenuating circumstances.
                    It's yet another check on judicial power. The prosecutor has to convince the jury that not only did the defendant do something illegal, but something actually wrong.

                    They can also find someone guilty, is suppose, but that can be appealed. A not guilty verdict cannot be.

                    •  A jury can disregard the law (0+ / 0-)

                      I have a difficult time saying they should disregard the law.

                    •  You are talking about "jury nullification" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Foodle

                      which is when a jury ignores compelling evidence of guilt and/or the judge's instructions concerning the governing law, and acquits because of some other principle.  Sometimes these principles are noble, and sometimes they are not.  The most horrible examples, which used to happen all the time and still happen from time to time, involve the acquittals of white men for crimes against black people. A more recent example was the attempt by Scooter Libby's lawyers to get the jury to acquit him because he had been thrown to the wolves by Karl Rove (and because Valerie Plame wasn't really covert so there was no underlying crime, blah blah blah).

                      My guess is that a person who tortured someone who really did have the critical info that would save NYC from imminent annihilation would never be charged or tried.  The difficult cases would be when someone was tortured because the agent THOUGHT that the suspect had information that could save NYC from annihilation, and turned out to be wrong about that.  Was his mistaken belief made in good faith?  Was it "reasonable" -- in other words, was it based on more than the believe that Arab-looking men are all terrorists, or actual solid evidence? These are all things that might provide at least a partial defense -- a mitigating factor in charging or sentencing.  

                      But you can't take the facts that might, in extremely rare circumstances, support a complete or partial defense to the crime of torture and turn them upside down so that the extremely rare circumstance becomes the presumptive truth.  Which is what Bush has done, and Rockefeller seems to have condoned.

                      "You are seeing impeachment as a constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a constitutional crisis." -- John Nichols

                      by litigatormom on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 02:21:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Right (0+ / 0-)
                        That's why I'm suggesting that rather than legalizing torture, especially secret torture, handle those rare cases that are always brought up as justification, by letting a jury decide whether it was justified.

                        I was thinking of the "acquittals of white men for crimes against black people", when I said it had been abused. I still think the principle is a good one and the proper solution to that particular problem was to stop keeping black people off juries.

        •  I was reading (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrississippi, greenearth, Foodle, Shaviv

          balloonjuice the other day and read a very amusing idea. In the next debate, the GOP prez candidates should be asked "if you knew that it could result in obtaining information that would stop a terrorist attack, would you have gay sex with another man?"

          It's about as realistic a scenario as the ticking time-bomb. So I like this question. America needs to know whether its president will really do what is necessary to protect Americans.

          •  And who will be the first to ask... (0+ / 0-)

            "Pitching or catching?"

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:03:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Probably pitching... (0+ / 0-)

              ...Republicans like screwing people in the ass a lot more.

              BTW, milkbone, what language is your sig in, and what does it mean?

              In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa

              by Andrew M on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:55:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  sig (0+ / 0-)

                My sig is from The Battle Of Maldon, a Old English poem written to commemorate a battle against invading Vikings. A good translation would be:

                   

                Will shall be the sterner, heart the bolder,
                   Spirit the greater as our strength lessens

                There is an interesting essay on the poem and the history surrounding it in The Tolkien Reader, which is where I first learned about it. I use it as a tag partly because of its distillation of the heroic code, and partly because I think the eths and thorns (those funny letters) look neat.

                Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

                by milkbone on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 03:23:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  What killed me, yesterday, (9+ / 0-)

      was this little gem.

      MUKASEY: I would not advise the President to grant rights beyond those that they already have.

      Pardon the hell out of me, BUT, last time I checked, the President is not invested with the power to "grant" basic rights, particularly ones guaranteed by the very document giving him any power at all. Then again, I'm of the opinion that neither does he have the power to deny them, so what do I know.

      The phrasing of that answer just gives me chills. Firstly, it assumes that they don't already have any rights. Secondly, it shows an interpretation of the idea of "rights" as flexible, rather than understanding that "rights" are indeed just that, rights, inherent and inviolate. Rights do not exist at the whim of the President. That is the very basis for the writ of Habeus Corpus to begin with. This is a man who supposedly is a great enough legal mind to be appointed to arguably the most important Judicial position in the country and yet he either is ignorant or in denial of the very basis of law.

      Feh. I knew he wasn't going to be good just because, well, come on, look who's appointing him, but I didn't think he'd be more of the same bullshit we've been being force fed for the past six years.

      The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelley

      by justme on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:54:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your reading is too harsh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milkbone

        Firstly, it assumes that they don't already have any rights. Secondly, it shows an interpretation of the idea of "rights" as flexible, rather than understanding that "rights" are indeed just that, rights, inherent and inviolate. Rights do not exist at the whim of the President.

        There are rights and then there are rights.

        Some basic, fundamental rights are, indeed, inherent in all human beings and should not be violated at the whim of the President or anyone else.  However, that does not mean all rights are inherent and inviolable, or that no one has the ability or power to grant or retract rights outside of those basic, fundamental, inherent, and inviolable rights.  In fact, the opposite is true, as examples like property rights, contracts, and eminent domain make clear.

        You should not read Mukasey's statement to be advocating the denial of basic rights, nor to be advancing the position that basic rights only exist at the whim of the President.  What you should do in response to Mukasey's statement is question exactly what rights he considers to be inherent and inviolable, and whether the writ of habeas corpus is among them.

    •  As Dan Abrams - to his credit - pointed out n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phoenixdreamz

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:00:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One can be qualified... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shaviv

      but unfit for office.  Like 5 SCOTUS members.

    •  It IS that simple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drbloodaxe

      I was appalled that a simple "no" would not come from Mukasey's lips.  Sure, I see the issue that he is a judge, an interpreter of the law, and in his realm up until now, "waterboarding" is not codified, but torture is.  Yeah, I see that legal distinction from a judicial perspective.

      But that's not where he is right now, nor is that the job he's interviewing for, nor is that the correct rationale for someone aspiring to the top law enforcement officer of the nation.  Waterboarding damned well IS torture, and is unquestionably unconstitutional.  That he could not say so shows clearly he will continue the torturing of words and laws to suit this president's illegal policies.  I'm less than happy.

      That is, I believe, the "bombshell" Leahy suggested could derail his confirmation.

  •  Is waterboarding torture? (14+ / 0-)

    Good question.  Have all of our presidential candidates answered unequivocally?

    •  He takes the administration position %100: (11+ / 0-)

      If it's torture, it's illegal.  But because what we do isn't (or might not be) torture, what we do is not illegal.  Mukasey showed that he is clearly unwilling to create the bridge between the action (waterboarding) and the term (torture), and so he takes the administration's position that we can do whatever we want as long as we don't apply the label.

      It's good to be moderate, but only in moderation.

      by ajbrown on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:38:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anamnesis, my friend. (4+ / 0-)

        If I cannot recollect the Platonic form of torture then it isn't torture.  Lots of politicians use phoney Platonism, as if there was some fact of the matter over and above their own normative judgment, to obfuscate.

        •  They are also peculiarly Heraclitean. (6+ / 0-)

          As Ron Suskind wrote three years ago this week, they scorn "the reality-based community." We're plodders, flatfoots. We have this screwy idea that "solutions emerge from [the] judicious study of discernible reality." We subordinate will to "facts." We're weak, slow, unsuited to the "post-9/11" state of nature that has superseded the constitutional order.

          They, on the other hand, are strong, like bull. While we are studying shit, they act and create their own reality. Then while we dawdle about trying to figure out what's going on and and what actions may be called for, they just go on "creating other new realities" right under our noses. Thus they reset our research agenda, they jerk us around, and since we insist on acting with forethought - an inhibition they lack - in changing reality, they've also forestalled our taking action. We'll always being playing catch-up while they're out there doing the manly business of exercising the will to power. They're the boys kicking the anthill. We're the ants.

          This crowd, which complains loudly about the moral relativism of the left, takes the cake. As in all else, the charges they level at others are astoundingly accurate descriptors of themselves.

          Mukasey is clearly of that stripe. His unwillingness to take a position on water-boarding does not signal his membership in the reality-based community. It's not judicious. On the contrary, it signals his deference to the will-to-power crowd. He has has endorsed the unitary executive. He is unfit to serve as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States if he believes that the executive is above the law.

          "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government....President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years." Al Gore

          by psnyder on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:24:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that one even has to ask whether it is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drbloodaxe

          torture and looks for ways to justify the action, is a primary indication that it is, indeed, torture.

          My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star. -Grandpa Simpson

          by xobehtedistuo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:29:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I don't know. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          play jurist

          Which of us -- in the last analysis -- is really to say what "torture" is?  Or, indeed, what being a "lying" "fascist" "dirtball" is?  

      •  Not only that... (4+ / 0-)

        ... they act as if they have no f@cking clue what waterboarding is and then they use that lack of knowledge to dodge the question of whether it's torture.

        Someone should dump a few hundred pages of documents detailing its use on him and then tell him to go home, read it and come back tomorrow so he can answer the question.

        I'd also ask him "Has the US used waterboarding on any persons within US custody?"

        If he says yes, then it's pretty hard for him to claim that he doesn't know what it is.  If he says no... well then that's a potential perjury rap.

        "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

        by gsbadj on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:57:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What!? And admit that they are weak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      play jurist

      on torture, opps I mean terror.

    •  They should have offered to give him (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      behan, psnyder, drbloodaxe

      a free demonstration.  I'm serious.  

      Tell you what - you can water board me if I can be AG afterwards.  Cause even though it's scary - it would be so much fun to prosecute Bush & Cheney to - as the say - the fullest extent of the law.

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:02:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They should throw in a few stress positions, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobdevo

        sleep deprivation, isolation, and temperature extremes. I'd get on board with that. Give him an empirical demonstration. If after all that he says, "Hey, enhanced interrogation is groovy," then he gets to be AG.

        "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government....President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years." Al Gore

        by psnyder on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:28:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobdevo

          Because I agree with the previous poster.  At this point in time, I'd agree to be tortured in order to become AG if that was the deal.  We NEED an AG in who will file charges against the administration and its tools.

          Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

          by drbloodaxe on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:38:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  the USofA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      play jurist, xobehtedistuo

      has been turned upside down by this administration. white is black. wrong is right, right is wrong. the earth is flat. god is christian. organic foods are poison, genetically modified foods are pure, etc. I don't know how we are going to survive this bunch.

  •  Well...it cannot be stated any plainer than this (14+ / 0-)

    It is similarly unfathomable -- or once was unfathomable in America -- that a nominee for Attorney General of the United States would ever have to say anything other than "no" to the question of "Is waterboarding constitutional?"

    Once upon a time...

    Tu es responsable de ta rose Le Petit Prince

    by Brahman Colorado on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:31:14 AM PDT

  •  No Doubt (4+ / 0-)

    Reid & Co. will make sure this new strange man gets shepherded through safely, come what may.

  •  Spot on. (12+ / 0-)

    George W. Bush's detainee policies have, quite simply, rendered honest and conscientious service as an Attorney General impossible. One simply cannot serve both this president and the law faithfully. It is a paradox and an impossibility, because this president does not serve the law faithfully.

    Since congressional Ds don't seem to understand this, can someone remind me why we are supposed to trust them, their judgment, their tactics and strategies?

    Seul l'incrédule a droit au miracle. - Elias Canetti Road2DC

    by srkp23 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:31:17 AM PDT

  •  Good on Sheldon Whitehouse (7+ / 0-)

    I still have a sinking feeling he's going to be confirmed - and with a too-large number of Democrats' votes to boot.

    If Russ goes Alito and instead of Roberts on this guy, that will at least be a shred of cold comfort.

    Dear Russ: Please come back to DKos. I love you. I miss you. I'm not mad about the impeachment diary anymore.

    by zett on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:31:26 AM PDT

  •  We don't want another Bush enabler. (11+ / 0-)

    I agree that an empty chair is better than another of Bush's people.

    It's good to be moderate, but only in moderation.

    by ajbrown on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:32:18 AM PDT

  •  I'm going to venture here... (8+ / 0-)

    My gut feeling--based largely on Mukasey's performance in the Jose Padilla case--is that Mukasey is a man of law.  I think that he really wants this job, just for that reason.  And I think his obvious dodge here is aimed not at us, but at the Repugs--in order to assure his confirmation.

    My guess--which is my hope as well, since he will probably get confirmed--is that when he gets the job, he will do the right thing.  

    But I'm still an optimist, basically, so you probably shouldn't pay any attention to this opinion.  

    candidpsychiatrist.com - Exposing the Soft White Underbelly of Psychiatry

    by paul minot on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:33:01 AM PDT

  •  Whitehouse actually didn't quite ask the right (12+ / 0-)

    question.

    The right question is "Does waterboarding constitute cruel and inhuman punishment?"

    If it does, it violates the 8th Amendment to Constitution.  

    Is Waterboarding legal?  Only if you change the Constitution.

    •  In Hope v Pelzer (10+ / 0-)

      The Supreme Court was presented with the following facts about the treatment of a prisoner in the Alabama Prison System:

      guards made him take off his shirt, and he remained shirtless all day while the sun burned his skin. He remained attached to the post for approximately seven hours. During this 7-hour period, he was given water only once or twice and was given no bathroom breaks.3 At one point, a guard taunted Hope about his thirst.

      Here is what the Supreme Court held:

      As the facts are alleged by Hope, the Eighth Amendment violation is obvious. Any safety concerns had long since abated by the time petitioner was handcuffed to the hitching post because Hope had already been subdued, handcuffed, placed in leg irons, and transported back to the prison. He was separated from his work squad and not given the opportunity to return to work. Despite the clear lack of an emergency situation, the respondents knowingly subjected him to a substantial risk of physical harm, to unnecessary pain caused by the handcuffs and the restricted position of confinement for a 7-hour period, to unnecessary exposure to the heat of the sun, to prolonged thirst and taunting, and to a deprivation of bathroom breaks that created a risk of particular discomfort and humiliation.8 The use of the hitching post under these circumstances violated the "basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment[, which] is nothing less than the dignity of man." Trop v. Dulles, 356 U. S. 86, 100 (1958). This punitive treatment amounts to gratuitous infliction of "wanton and unnecessary" pain that our precedent clearly prohibits.

      It is a sign of the depravity of this aministration that we even have to discuss this.

    •  Here's another spin: (12+ / 0-)

      He might have asked the question quite correctly.

      A principled and conscientious attorney answers the question Whitehouse asked by saying that it requires consideration of the definition of torture, and the meaning of the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, as well as how that has been defined by the courts.

      It is, in other words, quite possible to answer the question honestly, thoroughly and correctly without necessarily taking a position. But it is not possible to do so without exposing the semantic games the "administration" is playing.

      And that's where the value of the question becomes clear. A principled and conscientious attorney exposes the games. A purely political animal answers the question by repeating the paradox back to his questioner, and offering nothing more.

      Whitehouse's question might not be designed to elicit a definitional answer. It might simply have been designed to illustrate what kind of person was answering it.

      •  If you are correct, that sucks. (0+ / 0-)

        It's a narrow, selective read. It does nothing objective.

        I am an amateur fan of the law, right up to a point.

        I was happiest as a heathen.

        by MouseOfSuburbia on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:16:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's an excellent thought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth

        I do these meta exercises regularly when interviewing people. What they know is less important than how they reason, draw conclusions, and take on risk. You really can draw that out by playing question games with people.

        -6.00, -7.03
        "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

        by johnsonwax on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:44:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  From a legal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joesig

        perspective (I am a lawyer) there is a difference in the questions.

        There is case law on the Eighth Amendment (see the case I cited).  The line of questions that I would have pursued would be designed to confirm that the nominee felt these cases were binding on the Administration.

        If so, you don't even need to ask about Waterboarding.  

        •  I am continually amazed at how terrible Senators (0+ / 0-)

          are at asking questions.  They are incapable of framing an argument with short definitive questions that require short definitive answers.  Or they do a Boxer...seven minutes of self-referential rambling until the time for asking a question runs out.  Then a promise to submit a question in writing, sometime later.

          To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

          by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 01:35:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  close (0+ / 0-)

      the phrasing is "nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

      Toture itself is unconstituional only to the extent that it passes that test. Thus Disco is likely not unconstitutional.

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      Judges aren't expected to be experts on every topic. But they are expected to know when to the expertise of others is relevant. Waterboarding might be a big enough topic that he should know, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't feel that he's enough of an expert on the topic. It could be cleared up in an instant:

      "If Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention defines waterboarding as an act of cruel treatment or torture, is it unconstitutional?"

      The intent is not to walk Mukasey through an itemized list of everything that should be considered, but to determine who he sees as an authority on the subject. Does he recognize the Geneva Convention as a treaty that we are obligated to support or not? Or does the opinion of the executive overrule everything?

      -6.00, -7.03
      "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

      by johnsonwax on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:42:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Constitution (0+ / 0-)

      only applies to citizens.  As has been amply demonstrated recently, the U.S. does not feel the need to protect the inalienable rights of non-citizens.

  •  I wish they'd ask this: (24+ / 0-)

    As you undoubtedly know, Japanese officers were prosecuted for war crimes for water-boarding American POW's during WWII. Do you believe those prosecutions were unjustified or justified?  If you conclude at some point that water-boarding is not torture, would you recommend to the President that he apologize on behalf of the U.S. and the Allies for those unjust prosecutions?

    Bush tortures. Bush lies.

    by Egypt Steve on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:34:01 AM PDT

    •  ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY (6+ / 0-)

      Damn, sir, when you are correct you are correct.

      You fail to recognize how cowardly and unpatriotic American prosecutors of WWII war crimes were, of course -- you ever see the foul mouthed, blogging, hippie-ass attorneys at Nuremberg? -- but Bill Kristol will sort you out, don't worry.

    •  A little backup for ya... (8+ / 0-)

      Link:

      In an older case, the United States prosecuted a Japanese military officer, Yukio Asano, in 1947 for carrying out a form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II. Yukio Asano received a sentence of 15 years of hard labor.[43] The charges of Violation of the Laws and Customs of War against Asano also included "beating using hands, fists, club; kicking; burning using cigarettes; strapping on a stretcher head downward."[44]

      •  There's his 'out' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weelzup

        If there are different 'forms' of waterboarding, one can claim that some forms represent torture and others do not.

        The "beating using hands, fists, club; kicking; burning using cigarettes" may be what pushes it over the line to some.

        Since 'our' watherboarding does not have those other elements, it does not violate the 8th ammendment.

        I also read that we used the technique in 1968 in Nam (with a Democrat Commander in Chief)

        •  Does "our" torture really lack those? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          weelzup

          Detainees are subjected to stress positions, insomnia, and extremes of noise and temperature, as well as personal humiliations (while obnoxious and probably unethical I am not sure that being draped with an enemy nation's flag is torture) and beatings.

          My favorite (well, you know what I mean) example of this is a test run for uncooperative detainee situations, using American soldiers instead of detainees. The one chosen to act the position of detainee suffered brain damage from having his head repeatedly and quite deliberately smashed into the floor.

          If Americans are willing to do this to their own countrymen, their own brothers in arms, as it were, why should we believe they wouldn't do the same to foreigners? When individual agents are eventually tried for their actions they should be presumed innocent until demonstrably guilty. The same should not be said of government departments and their policies.

          Socialism: Aspirin for your social-welfare headaches. (Use in moderation.)

          by Shaviv on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:48:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No. What I truly prefer is that waterboarding be (0+ / 0-)

      upheld for what it is ... a means of torture, unconstitutional and therefore a criminal action and that all responsible be held accountable for this and all other atrocities committed against humanity in the name of their precious "war."

      My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star. -Grandpa Simpson

      by xobehtedistuo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:44:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Torture Existed - It Would Be Unconstitutional (7+ / 0-)

    So anything we do is not torture and anything we don't do is torture - until we do it.  
    These people are really sick.  Then again, that's enough to get approval from Democrats.

  •  Amen! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lennysfo, Existentialist

    Michael Mukasey is certainly qualified to be Attorney General of the United States, if Alberto Gonzales sets any precedent

    "I go to bathrooms to use bathrooms." - Senator Larry Craig

    by State Department on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:34:36 AM PDT

  •  Democrats are failing the American People (6+ / 0-)

    If Impeachment is off the table...

    Then Democracy is off the table.

    So these clowns in Congress who tell me that Democracy is off the table are bad people, and dont represent me at all!

    We need to replace them...

    •  With whom? (0+ / 0-)

      There's a saying, I forgot where it's from, that says anyone who seeks power demonstrates that he is unfit to hold it.

      It surely seems that anyone running a successful campaign for public office is thereby demonstrating that he is unfit to hold public office.

      I don't know about you, but I'd rather vote as close to a straight ticket for Democrats than for third-party candidates, or candidates not supported by the Democratic party machine, because if the Democratic candidate(s) don't win, the Republicans will; and any institution touched by Republicans is destroyed, with lots of collateral damage.

      Socialism: Aspirin for your social-welfare headaches. (Use in moderation.)

      by Shaviv on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:51:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

        We have to Vote for Democrats in the General Elections.

        And we must replace bad Dems in the Primarys.

        The Lieberman method, although it backfired in CT, as least it exposed Joe to be what he was...a Republican.

        We need to expose the rest of the bad Dems, and replace them with good Dems

        Believe it or not, our party chose Joe Lieberman to be the VP candidate in 2000.

        There are other wolves in Dems clothing out there

  •  Not this crap again (6+ / 0-)

    If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.

    This is straight from the Gonzalez playbook, along with the obligatory feigned confusion.

    When the trout are lost, smash the state.

    by frankzappatista on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:35:29 AM PDT

    •  I would have preferred for Whitehouse (3+ / 0-)

      not to dismiss the matter, but keep at Mukasey until he actually gave an answer.

      Hell, I'd even feel better if Mukasey even said "No, water-boarding is not torture." At least then he'd have given an honest answer. This tactic of acting like a dumbass to avoid answering questions is a horrible, damaging precedent that will not fade away quickly.

      "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

      by aggressiveprogressive on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:39:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mukasey is senile: his sentence isn't logical (0+ / 0-)

      If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.

      So, if waterboarding is NOT torture, then torture IS constitutional?  Huh?  What?  Say that again?  It doesn't even make sense.  One more element of basic logic now gives up its existence in sacrifice to Bush's self-amusement.  Proof, once again, that Republicans have exceedingly low mental capacities.  

      •  You need Chinese arithmatic to sort out their (4+ / 0-)

        logic sometimes. Makes as much sense as "If tomatoes are red, then red is not a color."

        When the trout are lost, smash the state.

        by frankzappatista on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:10:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  nope (0+ / 0-)

        you should have said...

        So, if waterboarding is NOT torture, then waterboarding IS constitutional.

        He quite clearly said torture is not constitutional.

        •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

          That is not a valid inference to draw.  What you are looking for from the logic as (mis)transcribed is: If torture is constitutional, then waterboarding is not torture; i.e., given "x implies y", then "not y implies not x".

          In any event, "If waterboarding is not torture, then waterboarding is constitutional" is incorrect for other reasons.  For example, many things that are not torture are still unconstitutional, so there is no need to incorrectly conclude that if waterboarding is not torture, then it is constitutional.

      •  You are the logically challenged one. (0+ / 0-)

        Negating the antecedent does not make the negation of the consequent necessarily true.

        Consider: If 2 + 2 = 5, then people cannot live to be 1,000 years old.

        If you negate the antecedent (2 + 2 = 5) and declare that negation to be true, that does not necessarily make the negation of the consequent proposition true:

        Given 2 + 2 does not equal 5, and If 2 + 2 = 5, then people cannot live to be 1,000 years old, that in no way implies that people can live to be 1,000 years old.  In fact, regardless of whether 2 + 2 = 5 or not, people cannot live to be 1,000 years old.

        Similarly, regardless of whether waterboarding is or is not torture, torture is not constitutional -- and Mukasey's statement does not in any way contradict that.

        All of that aside, it looks to me like the real problem is one of punctuation, not logic.  In response to Whitehouse's question ("Is waterboarding constitutional?"), Mukasey's answer appears to me to be: "If waterboarding is torture.  Torture is not constitutional."  Mukasey's meaning being that he isn't sure whether waterboarding is torture, but he is sure that torture is unconstitutional.  Left unsaid is the clear implication that if waterboarding is torture, then waterboarding is unconstitutional.

        •  Revising the punctuation would be logical... (0+ / 0-)

          "If waterboarding is torture [then it must be unconstitutional, because:] Torture is unconstitutional."

          ...in which case the problem lies with the reporters who were misled by the sloppiness of the original sentence, and ended up misrepresenting it.  

          But the claim that "negating the antecedent does not make the negation of the consequent necessarily true," while true in and of itself, has no bearing on this case, since in normal spoken English an "if-then" clause is usually considered to carry the same exclusivity as an "if and only if" clause.  "If I go to the store, then I'll buy some milk" carries the firm implication that you won't buy milk if you don't get to the store.  

          The 2+2=5 example is a case in point.  Consider: "If (and only if) 2+2=5, then people cannot live to be 1,000 years old."  This does in fact imply (i.e., necessitate) that if two plus two does not equal five, then people can live to be 1,000 years old.  

          But consider: "If (and only if) 2+2=4, then people cannot live to be 1,000 years old."  Just because the consequent is true does not necessitate that the logic which produced it is true.  In this case, the veracity of the consequent is independent of the logic of the antecedent.  But this is not so for Mukasey, since the constitutionality of waterboarding is precisely contingent on whether or not waterboarding is considered torture.  

          •  Three points (0+ / 0-)
            1. I do believe sloppy reporting and copy-editing have misrepresented Mukasey's response.
            1. Mukasey was not employing "normal spoken English."  He was engaging in a legal discussion with another lawyer, and was employing legal language and logic where "if" most certainly cannot be assumed to be the same as "if and only if."  Yes, non-lawyers frequently misunderstand such discussions.
            1. Waterboarding being torture is a sufficient condition for waterboarding being unconstitutional; it is not a necessary condition.
            •  Disagree... (0+ / 0-)
              1.  The sentence was presented in premise-consequence form, and was illogical in that form.  There is no room for finessing the "is"-ness of "is."  If one wishes to go medieval on the logic, then (whether one opts for Derrida or Gödel) there are limitations to all propositions.  
              1.  The unconstitutionality of torture is irrelevant to the issue at hand, and even Mukasey hasn't denied that.  
    •  Isn't the solution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drbloodaxe

      to have some court somewhere RULE on that particular point of law?

      Then no one could evade it any more.

  •  So... (7+ / 0-)

    "Where is the line between totrure and non-torture?"

    "Yes."

    "Yes, what?"

    "Yes, sir."

    Want a raise? Unionize.

    by mftalbot on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:35:43 AM PDT

  •  Claiming not to know should also disqualify (12+ / 0-)

    any candidate for Attorney General.  There's been so much in the news about waterboarding; by now anyone who claims not to know if it's torture or not is professing willful ignorance.  If you can profess willful ignorance in sworn testimony before the Senate, you're likely to profess willful ignorance of all the lawbreaking that's gone on in the Bush administration these last seven years.  

    Better no Attorney General than somebody who's this good at looking the other way.

    I hope Whitehouse puts a hold on his confirmation vote.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

    by david78209 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:36:12 AM PDT

    •  The non-answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209, drbloodaxe

      should surely disqualify. It shows as much if not more contempt for the confirmation process as an outright lie. If you are unwilling or unable to answer openly, truthfully and completely, then you do not deserve the position. If you are not of a character that can be confirmed by answering openly, truthfully and completely, then you should not even be nominated.

      Oh, wait, this is the Bush administration. What am I thinking.

      The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelley

      by justme on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:16:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it matters how much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209, xobehtedistuo

      it has been in the news, it matters how much it has been in the courts. That's where questions of law are resolved.

      Absent a relative court ruling he has wiggle room to claim he does not know since there is no precedent.

      •  And, to that matter, the courts will never be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209

        able to rule on torture when the ever pervasive claim of Executive Privilege prevents enhanced interrogation techniques, under this administration, from ever being exposed.

        What form of hell is it that we now reside in?

        My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star. -Grandpa Simpson

        by xobehtedistuo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:45:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Article 17 Third Geneva Convention (13+ / 0-)

    Amazing what Washington lawyers don't know.  Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention:

    "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

    Torture is against the law.  But so is any other form of coercion.

    "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

    by rmwarnick on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:36:13 AM PDT

    •  But, but, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      justme, drbloodaxe

      they're not prisoners of war. They're illegal combatants. Or terror suspects. Makes all the difference in the world.

      -5.12, -5.23

      We are men of action; lies do not become us.

      by ER Doc on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:56:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As others noted (0+ / 0-)

      The distinction Bush has drawn is that these men are supposedly not 'prisoners of war'.  Which, in reality, they probably aren't, because 'The War on Terror' isn't a real war.
      It's basically just vigilante behaviour from our cowboy Resident.  

      Hey wait a sec.  I know that Congress voted to authorize 'The War on Iraq', but did they authorize 'The War on Terror'?

      I don't remember that vote.

      Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

      by drbloodaxe on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:48:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unlawful enemy combatants (0+ / 0-)

        My belief is that we ought to follow ALL the rules for prisoners of war, even in the case of unlwaful enemy combatants-- especially if we want to have any standing to criticize those who capture and mistreat Americans.

        The category of "unlawful enemy combatant" is an Alberto Gonzales-style legalism.  It does not appear anywhere in the Geneva Conventions, which are clearly intended to apply to all prisoners, whether prisoners of war (Third Geneva Convention) or "protected persons" detained for any reason (Fourth Geneva Convention).

        Yes, there is a crack there big enough for the Guantanamo detainees to fall through.  A dishonest lawyer could argue that some individuals are neither prisoners or war (because Al Qaeda and the Taliban don't have uniforms) nor protected persons (because the USA has normal diplomatic relations with their home countries).

        "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

        by rmwarnick on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:50:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          They need to strip out the whole prisoners of war thing and say 'all humans have these rights. period.'

          The right not to be tortured.  The right not to be humiliated.
          etc etc etc.

          So how about it Congress?  How about a Declaration of the Rights of Humanity to accompany the Bill of Rights for citizens?

          Once and for all, put a stop to syntactical weasling, by simply denying any power the legitimate right to inflict pain or mental anguish on anyone, period?

          Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

          by drbloodaxe on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 12:45:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In his press conference the other day, (10+ / 0-)

    Bush got caught waffling on this, too.

    Asked the torture question, Bush dodged, insisting that this country doesn't torture. The reporter asked him how he defined torture, and Bush, clearly irritated with anyone having the fucking nerve to ask him such a thing, replied to the effect of: Whatever the law says.

    Dumbass.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary." -Handmaid's Tale

    by Cenobyte on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:36:21 AM PDT

  •  America is just sinking lower and lower. (7+ / 0-)

    Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

    by cumberland sibyl on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:36:41 AM PDT

  •  I was all set to accept this guy, but after (6+ / 0-)

    yesterdays testimony....I think this post has it right.

    Wtf is Senator Schumer thinking?  I thought he was a GOOD progressive.

  •  Here's how we should define torture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potownman

    The people who define and approve the methods should be subjected to those methods. Then they can say with certainty that the methods are acceptable practices.

    Oh and let's video take it so we can all be sure there is no yelling , screaming and gagging.

    •  Someone Once Said, (8+ / 0-)

      If you would not want your children to be subjected to it, it is torture.

      Also, there is a very relevant analogy in the former top secret program to interrogate the Nazis during and after the war; they were able to get more information out of a game of chess than these barbaric and utterly illegal, on every level, techniques.

      Our name is complete mud because of this shit.

      To announce...that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

      by potownman on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:55:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nobody! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, sherlyle, greenearth

    nobody blinded me!

    -the cyclops

    Besides Nixon says the president can get away with murder if it is politically required...

  •  Are we looking at a lesser (7+ / 0-)

    of two evils here?  Leaving Keisler as Interim AG -- a total tool, or confirming Mukasey -- a potential tool?  I think Keisler is keeping to the script.  

    I also didn't like Mukasey's hedging about whether or not DOJ would prosecute contempt of Congress.

    My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:38:33 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      Mukasey is probably a tad better than Keisler, and if he isn't then nothing is really lost in the process. He really can't be worse. It's not like Keisler is doing a bad job, he's simply refusing to perform his job at all. There's no such thing as less than zero. Therefore I'd prefer someone doing a bad job.

      •  Like I always say: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrblifil

        there wouldn't be a standard without a minimum!

        "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:46:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rincewind
        Maybe there's no way to get someone decent in the post. But by confirming him, especially after some of these answers, Congress is accepting the answers, accepting the rationale: waterboarding may be OK, the President can use national security to justify ignoring the law, the Justice Dept shouldn't enforce Congressional subpoenas.

        They may not be able to stop it, but the Dems don't have to be complicit.

        (And as an aside, there certainly are things less than 0. Negative numbers? An AG who actually did nothing would be better than Gonzales was. Better than one who actively twisted the department into a Republican political tool.)

        •  Keisler vs Mukasey (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrblifil

          Yup, Mukasey may look like a slight improvement over Keisler, except for 2 points:

          First, there are some legal and political constraints on an unconfirmed acting AG -- not enough to completely neutralize Keisler but possibly slow him down (this would have been minimized with Clement, since he had been Senate-confirmed as SG);

          Second, if the Senate confirms Mukasey, they effectively take "ownership" of him -- if they say he's okay, they give their blessing to his interpretation of the Constitution and the law.

          WRT torture, surveillance, and unitary-exec theory, Mukasey has NOT given any assurance that he differs from Gonzo or Keisler in any significant way.

          Note: according to Mike Allen in the Politico back in August, the acting can only serve for 210 days.

          If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

          by rincewind on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:32:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Does that mean they "own" Gonzales? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rincewind

            I think not. At least I haven't seen Dems suffer (except around here) for having confirmed Gonzo. They are insulated from paying a political price by saying that the guy or gal lied during confirmation. It's pretty weak if you ask me, but I think there'll be movement on the former administration officials once Mukasey is placed, while current officials (meaning: Cheney) are protected.

            This whole thing is an exercising in ass saving by Cheney anyway. That's really what's at issue here. The possibility of a road leading to Cheney in a way that will actively damage him. So far, he's done well at closing off those avenues of potential damage.

            •  ownership (0+ / 0-)

              "He lied" was weak for Gonzo; it's beyond milquetoast now. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice......uh......won't get fooled again. If you were a Senator, would you rather be perceived as a gullible fool, as a single-brain-celled amoeba, or as an amoral go-along-to-get-along opportunist?

              Do you really think Mukasey might go after all the "former"s? I just don't see it, precisely because all of those roads DO lead back to Cheney. (And once someone is out of gov't there's very little pressure to investigate 'em, much less punish 'em -- see Nixon, Richard Milhouse.)

              If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

              by rincewind on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 12:00:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Um no. (0+ / 0-)

        I'd much rather have no AG than one who perverts the office.

        Better to have things on hold that people actively helping to create new injustice.

        Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

        by drbloodaxe on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:50:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd support Sideshow Bob Terwilliger for AG (5+ / 0-)

    any two-dimensional psychopath would be an improvement over this UTTER CRAP from an alleged judge.

    Get a brain, morans! Go USA!

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:38:34 AM PDT

  •  Saying "Yes, it's torture" (6+ / 0-)

    Means having to do something about rescinding the legal justification ... then doing something about the perpetrators ... then doing something about those who gave the nod.
    Whitehouse should add: "maybe we should try it out on you right here ..... until we get any answer you think we want to hear ..."

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:39:16 AM PDT

  •  Did anybody ask (4+ / 0-)

    if he intends to prosecute contempt of Congress citations? Because at this point, that's the only issue that matters to me.

    The most anti-torture Atty Gen. in the world would still have little control over whether or not the military will actively torture people during his/her watch. So while his views on the legality of torture are important, they're also somewhat moot. We know that Iraqis were killed in prison as a result of torture, murdered, and we know that women and boys were raped. But prosecuting the criminals in those cases is beyond the purview of the DOJ.

    In the short term I want to hear only one thing. Prosecutors will back up contempt of Congress citations. Because that would mean the AG believes in separation of powers, and in the oversight responsibilities of the legislative branch. I want to know if the FBI is going to go to Harriet Miers' house or not. Because she is no better than a fugitive from justice in my view.

    But I imagine the subject was considered too delicate to bring up in the open. Better handled behind the comfort of closed doors, with a light lunch, some vintage port and some quality Domenican cigars. Which even the ladies like to smoke!

  •  What do qualifications have to do with it? (7+ / 0-)

    Hell, based on the last AG, I'm qualified for the job!

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:41:33 AM PDT

    •  Overqualified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2

      I assume you have never lied to Congress.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

      by david78209 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:47:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, give Mike a break (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209, ER Doc

        He has to have his day in the hot seat.

        Senator Hatch:  Mr. Mike, is it not true that you are a progressive?

        Mr. Mike:  I'm sorry, Senator, I can't answer that question because I'm not sure what a progressive is.

        See how easy it is for him to qualify?

        My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:50:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You can't state it (5+ / 0-)

    any more cogently than this. You've summed up the entire BushCo administration perfectly. The policies of this administration are flatly unconstitutional. And Cheney's efforts to establish the Unitary Executive to usurp the constitution know no bounds. Cheney has the framers rolling in their graves.

    "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

    by Kestrel on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:41:43 AM PDT

  •  Glepzoink is not constitutional... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and therefore, we do not use glepzoink.  What is glepzoink?  It's like porno - you just know it when you see it.  Next question.

  •  Pontius Pilate Said It First (5+ / 0-)

    What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting.
    --Francis Bacon, Essays

    "What is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths; are mine the same as yours?"
    --Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ, Superstar

    What is torture? "I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional."--Mukasey

    •  ... (3+ / 0-)

      The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

      ---Some assclown from the administration.

      The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelley

      by justme on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:33:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whitehouse's follow-up should have been... (9+ / 0-)

    "Who has the authority to determine whether or not waterboarding is torture?"

    Then:  "Does the Executive Branch have the authority to make the determination that waterboarding is or is not torture without the input of, and without informing, the other branches of government?"  

    Then: "If the judicial branch were to rule that waterboarding was torture, would the Executive Branch be obligated to follow that ruling, even while appeals were being followed?"

    Then: "If the Congress were to pass a law defining waterboarding as torture, and the President were to sign it, would the Executive Branch be obligated to regard waterboarding as torture, even if the President issued a 'signing statement' disagreeing with it?"

  •  He committed perjury. NEXT! (4+ / 0-)

    Mukasey's claim that he doesn’t "know what is involved in the technique" of waterboarding is of course a complete lie -- even I know what waterboarding is... and while we're on the subject, what's with this nonsense of referring to waterboarding as "simulated" drowning?  It's drowning.

    •  I hate to make a semantic disagreement on torture (3+ / 0-)

      but it's definitely not drowning.  Done right, no water actually enters the mouth or nose.   It's real suffocation, real torture, just not real drowning.  

      It used to be a west coast SERE technique.  On the east coast school version, they blew smoke into your mouth/nose until you passed out.  Both versions were meant to simulate what unscrupulous enemies might do to captured Americans.  It was recognized as illegal under the Geneva conventions and illegal for us to do to them.

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:48:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you Navy guys (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joesig

        (assuming by the West Coast ref) were always a little more brutal physically, they told us at Bragg that (at Camp McCall) they focused more on the psychological aspect.  But you're right.

        "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:53:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hey...my comment on torture made me a TU! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeffersonian Democrat, ER Doc

          And you're right.  The Navy, with lots of old school Viet Nam POW types helping with the course...focused on preparing for a very harsh environment.  The army looked at it somewhat differently, especially post Nick Rowe, and the Air Force...well, let's just say it was the first time I'd ever had the handcuffs double locked for comfort.  

          To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

          by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:59:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I went through (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joesig

            in November, 1987.  Dan Pitzer [sp] was still teaching there, he was Rowe's medic and was captured with him, if you recall.  He stated that he still could not stand mosquitos to this day because after an escape attempt, the VC took away the nets for the night "to get washed", oh and btw, shackled spread eagle because they were naughty and tried to escape one night in the Delta...all said with a sympathetic smile, of course.  The Bragg course is all Nick Rowe, he set it up, and it is all detailed in Five Years to Freedom.

            BTW, was Navy as well after college and OCS.  Spent seven months East Coast waiting for NMITC class.  Not an operator like enlisted Army, just a TAD support guy.  But, as the Bull Ensign and due to my enlisted operator background, the guys did talk to me in the halls.  It was at EIGHT, btw, Dec 96 - June 97.

            Congrats on TU, someone else to troll me!

            "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

            by Jeffersonian Democrat on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:10:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We might know one another. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jeffersonian Democrat

              All east coast, beach-DC-beach.  Still there, not all that far from NMITC...

              To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

              by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 01:07:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  we may (0+ / 0-)

                CDR Bremseth was my skipper, I was the guy with problems because my ex was still a Russian citizen at the time.

                But it turned out that she got her citizenship shortly afterwards and joined the Virginia Guard for nurses training, got a sec clr and became an officer herself... oh the irony.

                "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

                by Jeffersonian Democrat on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 01:24:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ah, Seth. It's ringing a bell. Where you you now? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jeffersonian Democrat

                  If you can generically say, that is.

                  To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                  by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 01:46:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  nothing to do with the military (0+ / 0-)

                    anymore.  I got out and sold drugs for Bristol Meyers-Squibb for a couple years at the beach and hated it.

                    So I went to grad school at UVA for German Lit. and currently preparing for the doctoral exams.  I've been in Germany now for a couple of years on a graduate exchange at first then a small break in the grad program.

                    I though we were headed back in May, but just found out that a new member to the family is due in June, so we're staying for the health insurance and postponing the trip back by a semester.

                    "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

                    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 12:31:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  heh, bringing tears to my eyes (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joesig

                    just looking at the paddle on my wall, it reads:

                    ENS **** *******
                    11 Dec 96 - 27 June 97
                    An Ensign a day keeps the XO at bay
                    Language Program Manager
                    was an appropriate job,
                    as most Ensigns speak in many tongues
                    Battle Books and JTFEX -
                    Can do a database or two
                    This Ensign is a winner -
                    To the Army we say Boo Hoo

                    Fairwinds and Following Seas
                    From SEAL Team EIGHT

                    corny and some inside jokes, I actually took the XO aback, speechless, with my matter-of-fact tell-it-like-it-is statements one day on the quarterdeck that made everyone burst out laughing.

                    Still, the fact that I was only TAD for a short time, and not a trident wearer, makes that paddle all the more special to me.  That and having my IS1 ask me to reenlist her for her final enlistment (ME, not our supervisor, not the skipper, me - no-nothing Ensign) tells me I was a damn fine officer.

                    "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." -Bertolt Brecht

                    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 03:05:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  "Done right" (0+ / 0-)

        Meaning if the victim plays out his part according to the manual?  Good luck.

        By the way, drowning isn't an alternative to suffocation, it's a subset of it.

        Congrats on TU satus.

      •  Actually You Don't Know This (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joesig

        You know what was done to you, not what the CIA is doing, unless you have some inside sources of info that you are not telling us about.  There are variations where cellphane is used to cover the face and actually funnel the water into the nose for that added effect.  

        •  The celophane still covers the nose. It's all... (0+ / 0-)

          about the seal, and the complete lack of air, and the feeling that you're sucking in the celophane or cloth but no air is coming with it.  

          I'm no expert, though.   The other "problem" with waterboarding is the quick recovery time.  It's why it's combind with other, longer lasting, techniques like cold, heat, stress positions, sensory deprivation, lack of sleep, etc...

          To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

          by joesig on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 01:51:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Since Waterboarding is a family of techniques (0+ / 0-)

            No one, except the guys that are doing it, know exactly what is going on.  I did a little research recently where they were talking about Japanese waterboarding during WWII where the water was intentionally poured into the nose.

  •  How can they live with themselves. (3+ / 0-)

    At the end of the day, how can anyone of these people live with themselves knowing that they are torturing people?  Bush is a sociopath pure and simple, are all of these other people as well?  
    There is no honor or even humanity in this administration.   And in the end, there will be a special place in hell just for them.

  •  It's tragic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skralyx, snazzzybird, xobehtedistuo

    Perhaps the biggest tragedy of this administration is that it has been led by a man who has no understanding of law as the crucial element of a stable and persisting society.  Those of us who saw parallels between the rise of Hitler in the 1934-35 early phase and this administration were essentially picking up the common disregard of legal forms that until then everyone had taken for granted.  It was hard to believe, and one supposed that it wasn't happening because 'it just can't happen here'.  

    Bush's experience with lawyers consisted of them getting him out of tight spots by various contrivances, some of them probably not at all legal.  He views the law as instrumental in much the way that Stalin and Hitler did. That's the family resemblance.  It's not a family we should be any part of.  

    What surprises me is Scalia's silence on this.  He is conservative to the point of reaction, but I never thought he would not speak out on the question primacy of law.

  •  A related issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs, Chacounne, xobehtedistuo

    and I can only paraphrase, but when Mukasey was asked about use of extreme measures, aka torture, against detainees, he made a distinction between methods of interrogation related to enemies in uniform from a specific nation and detainees who are not affiliated with a military.

    I wondered why Japanese soldiers who drove our soldiers into ditches and set them on fire; Germans soldiers who were responsible for the torture and murder of millions had been given more legal deference than the detainees.

    My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:44:39 AM PDT

  •  No one spends even a single day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weelzup, Existentialist

    as an appointee in this administration unless they fully agree with everything and anything that George Bush wants, or I should say, what Dick Cheney wants.

    If Mukasey hadn't already agreed to that stipulation, he would not have been nominated for the job.

    Chuck Schumer can be as gleeful as he'd like about such a perfect choice but it won't make a bit of difference, the Attorney General will still be the person standing between the White House and any accountability whatsoever.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:45:49 AM PDT

  •  The soft bigotry of low expectations? Insulting! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    Let us not forget the standards demanded of no less a standard bearer and moralizer than the First Um Standard Maker has shown and blove'd upon us!

    To let Mukasey settle his ass back on such soft cushion would be an insult not just to him but to the Decider what brung him.

    (C'mon, panel, use their own rhetoric against them. What are they going to say? That they mis-spoke yet ahhhh-fuckin-gain that day?)

  •  Whole agencies are run with temp help (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    why should DOJ be any different

    http://thinkprogress.org/...

    Bush relying on interim appointees to fill agencies.

    With 462 days left in his term, President Bush "has left whole agencies of the executive branch to be run largely by acting or interim appointees — jobs that would normally be filled by people whose nominations would have been reviewed and confirmed by the Senate." The New York Times adds:

       

    In many cases, there is no obvious sign of movement at the White House to find permanent nominees, suggesting that many important jobs will not be filled by Senate-confirmed officials for the remainder of the Bush administration. [...]

       While exact comparisons are difficult to come by, researchers say that the vacancy rate for senior jobs in the executive branch is far higher at the end of the Bush administration than it was at the same point in the terms of Mr. Bush’s recent predecessors in the White House.

    Currently, three executive agencies are being headed by interim officials.  October 14, 2007 8:31 pm

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:49:35 AM PDT

  •  Whatever happened to (3+ / 0-)

    Yes or No?  They used to be all in favor of it.  Along with up and down votes.

  •  I hate to have to start ranting about the Dems, (6+ / 0-)

    but what is the fucking rush to provide George Bush with the fig-leaf of a new AG?? Especially this jerk?  

    Seems to me he flunked the job interview when he ducked the torture question, and gave the bogus excuse about it being in the courts . . . it's not as though there are not some pretty clear legal precedents to rely on.

    The Constitution says:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding

    The Law of the land includes the Constitution, Laws make in pursuance thereof, and Treaties.

    Like, say, the Geneva Conventions.  When we ratified and signed on to the Geneva Convention, its rules concerning torture became the law of the land.  And, as even this asswipe Judge Murkasey noted, the president is not above the law.

    So, if we need to define torture, let us look to the Geneva Convention:

    Even persons who are not entitled to the protections of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (such as some detainees from third countries) are protected by the "fundamental guarantees" of article 75 of Protocol I of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions. The United States has long considered article 75 to be part of customary international law (a widely supported state practice accepted as law). Article 75 prohibits murder, "torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental," "corporal punishment," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, ... and any form of indecent assault."  

    Okay, Mukasey, you ignorant bastard, do you want to tell us that waterboarding does NOT qualify as torture under this common sense, common language defintion?? Cause if you're too stupid to figure that out - you're too stupid to be Attorney General.

    So why is the the Dems want to play patty-cake with this asshole?  Tell him he flunked the job test . . . and tell Bush to send up another flunky.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:51:36 AM PDT

  •  of course it, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    like many questions of law is a semantic one.

    It is simply bedrock truth that no one can answer the torture questions honestly without exposing the fact that the "administration" hinges its entire detainee policy on semantics.

    To determine 'if waterboarding is torture', one evaluates the meaning of the two words to see if they sufficiently overlap to allow one to fall within the category of the other.

    I don't think that there is a non-semantic way to make that judgement.

  •  Not Qualified, and a Slam Dunk nt (0+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:56:19 AM PDT

  •  He needs a total lackey now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffersonian Democrat

    I believe that the Administration now considers this appointment as a critical part of their defense, once the judicial fully breaks into the matter.

    Only a complete lackey loyalist will do.

    It isn't about soverign national justice anymore from the top's perspective (if it ever was;) It's about deflecting what I feel is the inevitable criminal investigations that will extend far beyond the Presidency.

    :::::

    ...Operation Rota is Closed... New Blog Coming Soon With Pictures!...

    by nowheredesign on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:56:43 AM PDT

  •  The DOJ and the American people deserve better. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nowheredesign, ER Doc

    Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

    by Dood Abides on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 07:57:45 AM PDT

  •  Why would the Dems approve this guy? The (0+ / 0-)

    rediculous waterboarding discussion is standard Bush fare.  We don't need any more pro-torture AGs.

    •  It goes well beyond torture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rincewind, snazzzybird

      He clearly got a phone call from the White House, and now believes Bush is above the law:

      Mukasey was also accused of backtracking on statements he had made Wednesday that the president had to follow the law like any other citizen.

      He told Leahy yesterday that he believed there might be times that the president, in order to defend the country, can ignore laws that Congress enacts. That authority, he said, is embedded in the Constitution.

      •  That, alone, is sufficient to disqualify him. (0+ / 0-)

        He told Leahy yesterday that he believed there might be times that the president, in order to defend the country, can ignore laws that Congress enacts.

        Our troops won the war. Bush lost the peace.

        by snazzzybird on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:33:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I simply would have said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    Fuck this. I'm tired of more double speak from a Bush hack.

    It would shake a few foundations.

    Hillary is ahead of Giuliani by only 3%, which is about the percent that Republicans will steal out of Diebold machines.

    by LandSurveyor on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:02:17 AM PDT

  •  Waterboarding (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose you're right. Not being able to answer a simple question such as "Is waterboarding torture?" sure would seem to be evasive. Maybe he would have been able to articulate his position better had he responded with..."It depends on what the meaning of the word "IS" is.

  •  Even this, big as it is, is a symptom (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, justme, trinite, xobehtedistuo

    of a larger malady.

    The President of the United States is a criminal.
    Anyone who serves at a high level in his administration, certainly including any AG he will nominate, is an accessory to those crimes.

    Bush should be impeached.  

    •  That, sir, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, xobehtedistuo

      is the crux of the biscuit, as it were.

      We're pissing and moaning about the appropriate way to treat symptoms while the patient is bleeding out on the floor.

      There is but one proper remedy. All else is folly.

      The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelley

      by justme on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:36:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Waterboarding decision tree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    Welcome to the DC YMCA pool. We will only keep you away
    from the Hill for a short time.

    Question: IS waterboarding torture?

    Answer/ Yes it is!....Fine, Thank You, you can go.

    Answer/ No or Not sure....Fine, Please go to the change
    room, put on a pair of swim trunks and report to the poolside.

    30 Minutes pass:

    Question: IS waterboarding torture?...and please stop sputturing and wheezing for your Mom. Puke in the bucket if you must.

  •  Mukasey said nothing wrong, he followed the rules (0+ / 0-)

    of the republicn handbook (see below). I believe it was a poor attempt at #3 but no reason to be all over him. Maybe he does not know the handbook very well.(snark)


    Personally I think he sould have used #2 or #6.


    THE SIX (very limited) PRIMARY THOUGHTS OF A RIGHT WINGER FROM


    THE REPUBLICAN HANDBOOK.


    1)Instill fear and make it seem that only you and/or the Republican Party can protect the American people. (9/11, Al Queda, WMD’s, social security out of money next week, Schip only helps scammers, Iran is thinking about attacking us, etc.)


    2)When losing an argument, lie, name call and point out others mistakes to make your mistakes seem lesser


    3)When unsure of the answer to a question, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make up some lame bullshit and dance around the issue and be sure you say whatever it is that your audience wants to hear. Know your audience.


    4)For EVERY topic have a specific spin, twist, distortion, deflection and make it seem that you and/or the republican party is right no matter how illogical your explanation


    5)ALWAYS attack, attack, attack


    6)When completely stumped (which will happen often) or confronted with a REAL issue that republicans are out of step with America on (which will happen often) just talk and talk and talk until everyone forgets what the question was

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president. Theodore Roosevelt

    by TKK on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:12:46 AM PDT

  •  And yet, sadly, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    Mukasey will be confirmed because too many Democrats will want to appear to be "compromising" with their GOP colleagues, while feeling Mukasey did "well enough" on the issue of torture (in other words, he's not Abu Gonzales).

    It is a sad day, because what we once considered to be wildly extreme (torture under any circumstance) is now the norm ("it all depends on what you mean by 'waterboarding'") and described, accurately by Sen. Whitehouse, as "semantics."

    "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush

    by RevJoe on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:15:26 AM PDT

  •  Torture (0+ / 0-)

    Torture, along with repetitious, pretzled "legal" justifications for doing so, were bones that administration officials -- from the President, Vice President, and <http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/2116/greenberg_and_dratel_37_questions_for_donald_rumsfeld>Secretary of Defense on down -- just couldn't resist gnawing on again and again. So, what we're dealing with is an obsession, a fantasy of empowerment, utterly irrational in its intensity, that's gripped this administration. None of the <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/10/09/BL2007100900988_pf.html>predictable we're shocked! we're shocked! editorial responses to the Times latest revelations begin to account for this.

    The Urge to Confess by Tom Engelhardt

  •  If Al Qaeda waterboarded a captured American... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, drbloodaxe, Mad Kossack

    ...would that be torture?

    Or would that just be a "enhanced interrogation technique"?

    Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. - Ayn Rand

    by CA Libertarian on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:18:07 AM PDT

    •  Bingo, you are so right. Brilliant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA Libertarian

      If they did it to use would we call it torture?

      That's the question.

      Bush's position is that it's not torture unless we say it's torture, and we don't torture.

      This is torture. We did it.
      Damn you Bush. Don't you know what American is?

      We shall overcome, someday.

      by Sam Wise Gingy on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:57:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "IS" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justme

    "That depends on what the meaning of the word "IS",is.  Bill Clinton

  •  Committee on Torture (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe there should be a classified bipartisan Senate Committee on Torture, that researches techniques and defines limitations.

    I think Mukasey could say how could he know what techniques constitute torture, and even if he did know, he would not want to discuss that in open session.

  •  schumer (0+ / 0-)

    so what does Senator Schumer have to say now?  He was a strong supporter. Anyone know?

  •  There shouldn't be hearings. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlochow

    The Dems shouldn't take up ANY measures originating from this administration until the President restores the rule of law, ends secret prisons and torture, and we get ALL of our UNALIENABLE RIGHTS back.

    Then, we should get an attorney general who will prosecute all of these crimes committed against the people of the United States and against our Constitution.

    Of course, we know that the Dems are useless and cave every time. Dodd is great, but we have too little leadership and it's  too late.

    If we want our Constitution and our rights back, we'll need to do it ourselves.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:32:07 AM PDT

  •  Simply Unbelieveable... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drbloodaxe

    this posting is right on point.  By definition, any person Bush nominates will not serve the best interest of the country bBecause Bush and the best interest of this country is not the same.
    Anyone Bush nominates for AG or any othe position will serve Bush's best interest which is to cover up for his LAWBREAKING. Do you think Bush would nominate Comey or Fien?? Why can't the senators see this and most importantly say this.  It is beyond frustating!

  •  Nobody for AG is fine with me. (0+ / 0-)

    As a lawyer, that response from Mukasey was the most disappointing thing I've heard/read since the Bush v. Gore decision.  It was the most chillingly intellectually dishonest statement I've read from someone who should know better.  

    Any first year law student could've given Whitehouse a clear answer to the question.  The Geneva Conventions are US law and as international treaties, they have supremacy over any conflicting domestic laws or interpretations.

    The definition of torture as interpreted under the Geneva Convention over the past 60 or so years is clear.  Waterboarding is torture.  The White House cannot legally redefine torture to everything short of crucifixion because that definition is fixed in stone in international law and in cases interpreting the treaty's provisions.  Mukasey should have known that.  He may be a fascist who likes torture and hates treaties, but as a lawyer, he cannot deny that under the law waterboarding is torture and the White House's attempt to redefine torture is unconstitutional and illegal.  

    I urge that a filibuster or hold be placed on Mukasey's nomination.  I'd rather that the position of AG remain unoccupied for the remainder of Bush's term in office.  

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:33:36 AM PDT

  •  It depends on what is, is (0+ / 0-)

    Oops, that's Bills line.  It depends on how one defines waterboarding.  If it's torture, it's illegal.  If it is an affective interrogation technique of this administration, it is legal.

  •  Is obeying the law too much to ask? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mad Kossack

    I briefly listened to some of the testimony yesterday. I can't remember who was posing the question, Leahy perhaps, but the issue under discussion was if, or when, the President has the right to ignore laws passed by Congress, laws which the President actually signed.

    What I took away from the legalistic claptrap was Mukasey thinks the President can break the law so long as it comports with his 'Commander in Chief powers'...whatever those might be. So, really this is just a slightly modified version of "If the President does it that means it's not illegal.". The Bush version is, " If the President does it in the interests of national security that means it's not illegal."

    Altogether, I think the bar for an acceptable AG nominee is pretty low. Personally, I would just like to see someone straightforwardly say that if Congress passes legislation, and the President signs it, then the President has to obey the laws he signs. No signing statements, no baseless 'Commander in Chief' workarounds.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:34:01 AM PDT

  •  Better to leave AG role unfilled (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nadnerb in NC, drbloodaxe, daliscar

    then to confirm another tinhorn Bushco hack.  Sum net, Ashcroft and Gonzalez were disasters for the country.  Better an empty office than the headlong rush to fascism we have endured.

    Will Security State Dems continue to apply the figleaf and continue to prop up the Bush Administration, all the while offering (at best) the lame canard of political expedience?

    The record doesn't inspire hope.

    It's the fascism, stupids!

  •  Please stop putting the word... (0+ / 0-)

    administration in quotation marks.

    I am not talking to this specific diarist only; I am talking to all diarists who have done this.

    Not only is it annoying on the merits, it's also annoying to read articles that address Bush's immaturity yet the same article has the word administration in quotation marks.

    Yes, I get it.  It's  meant express that the Bush administration is not really an administration.

    So why don't you just call it the fake administration?   Then you wouldn't have to go the "administration" route.

    Try breaking out, for example, some administration synonyms  like custodianship.

    Use custodianship instead of "administration."

    Custodianship makes Bush & crew sound like janitors (which is at least approaching funny).

    "...Virtually all of the most influential [neocons] never leave the safe and protective sides of their moms and dads."-Glenn Greenwald

    by wyvern on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:34:53 AM PDT

  •  what does it matter? (0+ / 0-)

    It's already been decided that they'll confirm him, no matter what goes on in these hearings.

  •  Alberto really left a mark. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe the least decent man I've ever seen.  And, I've seen them all.

    www.shadowdaily.com is the only place you can vote for RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT!

  •  I would hope that answer disqualifies (0+ / 0-)

    him for Attorney General in the eyes of all Democratic Senators and the few remaining sane Republican ones.

    "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

    by Andrew C White on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:39:02 AM PDT

  •  I'm sorry people still haven't learned. (0+ / 0-)

    This has been and will be the Bush administration's response to this question.  They will not and refuse to define torture.

    This isn't news, it's the sos.  Did you really think it would change in light of Congress' fecklessness and refusal to prosecute?

  •  insist on a Special Prosecutor (0+ / 0-)

    in return for confirmation, as suggested in this excellent diary.  (not mine, i just think the guy has a great idea)

    Want to talk live to other kossacks? Learn faster, debate better, cut down on flame-wars. Email me, let's make this a reality.

    by angelino on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:41:34 AM PDT

  •  Mukasey wants to be AG so bad that he has become (0+ / 0-)

    a moral bird-brain.  He'll say, or do, whatever it takes to get the office.

  •  No one who gives the answers Mukasey gives (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, Nadnerb in NC, daliscar

    is qualified to be the chief law enforcement officer of this nation.

    A vote to confirm this man is a vote to ratify the Unitary Executive Theory of governement.  A vote to confirm this man is a vote that says Alberto Gonzales did nothing wrong.

    Mukasey will be confirmed, probably with the overwhelming support of the Democratic Party.

    We are alone in a lawless land.

    Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

    by Mad Kossack on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:45:14 AM PDT

  •  Torture or not? (0+ / 0-)

    one good way for mukasey to determine whether or not waterboarding is torture would be to submit himself to it. I, for one, don't need that experience to know that it is, but for those in doubt I am sure an experiential determination would be invaluable. I recall that some journalist did this a while back. I don't gamble, but I would bet the farm on what Mukasey would determine if he subjected himself to it.

    I was listening on cspan3 yesterday when Mukasey made the comment highlighted in this diary. I immediately called Schumer's office and told them that based on this response alone he should reverse his support for Mukasey. Remeber that Mukasey was suggested to the White House by Schumer himself.

    "What is clear is that most of the experimental evidence so far presented falls short of proof in almost all cases."

    by crick02478 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:46:14 AM PDT

  •  Are hearings torture??? (0+ / 0-)

    You guys are brutal. You're on closing arguements intent on convicting this guy before he even has a chance to abuse his power. I mean c'mon, it's not like the guy had $90,000.00 in his freezer!

    •  Spare us troll (0+ / 0-)

      No one is trying to convict this man, they are opposing him for the top law enforcement position in the US based on his views.

      Do you think waterboarding is torture?

      Would you allow your spouse or child or parent to be subjected to this?

      Would you think it is OK for an enemy of the US to do this to our soldiers?

      01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

      by kimoconnor on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:43:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, No, and No...but....... (0+ / 0-)

        My child, spouse or oarents aren't trying to kill us and, given a choice, I'd rather be waterboarded than beheaded, dragged through the streets and hung on dispay from a bridge, but hey, I'm funny that way

        •  you are lowering yourself to the level (0+ / 0-)

          of terrorists.

          If you say the choices are be waterboarded or beheaded.

          What happened to conservatives who were proud of the status the US had in the world, the status where WE WERE THE GOOD GUYS.

          You are too scared to have any honor. How sad.

          01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

          by kimoconnor on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:04:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You miss my point (0+ / 0-)

            I think everybody should just love one another, but that ain't happening. Although I believe that an eye for an eye leaves both parties blind, you can't keep turning your cheek to someone who keeps smacking you. In adddition, this 'story' has long since used the oxygen it deserves. It is being kept alive by people who will do and say anything to cast this administration in a negative light for political gain. When allegations of violations have been uncovered, they have been investigated and either prosecuted or dismissed based on the evidence. The world is burning and as Billy Joel once said, "We didn't start the fire". I think our energies would be better directed at more substanative life and death issues than what could be compared to a soroity hazing. I am not condoning it, I just think we've lost our focus.

            •  Equating this to a sorority hazing... (0+ / 0-)

              ...just shows how much of an idiot you are. If I could give out donuts, you'd be getting one.

              In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa

              by Andrew M on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:47:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  One sentence (0+ / 0-)

                You couldn't make it through one sentence without name calling. If that's what you feel comfortable hiding behind, we have nothing to discuss. If on the other hand you can explain to me why this topic has to once again rise to the level of national prominence it currently enjoys, as opposed to a dialogue on how to bring the country together and focus on the real threats to our freedoms, I'm all ears.

            •  Bull you are condoning it, I miss nothing here (0+ / 0-)

              And worrying about the men and women this president appoints is patriotic and imperative.

              And your president has obstructed many investigations of wrong doing simply by refusing to turn over evidence or prohibiting people from testifying.

              I can only imagine how you would react if a Clinton was in the WH and these investigations and objections were being raised.

              And you did not answer my question, unless you are suggesting that waterboarding is equal to sorority hazing.

              Your attitude makes me ill.

              01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

              by kimoconnor on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 08:57:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  My conscience has never been clearer (0+ / 0-)

    than since seeing the history since my opposition to both Ashcroft and Gonzales, in turn, for AG.  Our "buddy" Chuck Schumer should stop "helping" us this way.

    Mukasey should likewise be opposed.  Likewise won't be.  And likewise we'll be "shocked, shocked" when he's a Bushco puppet.

    Janet Reno was Bill Clinton's 3rd choice for AG.  [1. Zoe Baird 2. Kimba Wood 3. Janet Reno]

    And that was during his "honeymoon" period with a Congress his party "controlled".

  •  Thank you Kagro X (0+ / 0-)

    For making the only right call on this, and making it so eloquently.

  •  Cruel? Unusual? Nah. (0+ / 0-)

    Hey, it doesn't actually kill you, right?  It just causes extremes of terror the likes of which very few living people have ever experienced.  That's all.

    Jeez, what's all the fuss about?

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:50:44 AM PDT

  •  Bush's illegal activities have made it (0+ / 0-)

    impossible for anyone who Bush nominates to this position to answer questions like that. If he were to answer it is unconstitutional, he would be saying under oath, that the president is breaking the law as we know this practice has in fact been used.

    I'm just sick that Bush has put our nation into this position. We used to be the country that at least in the open led the way against torture, and detainment without charge etc. etc.

    Now we look like a hypocritical country who tells other nations how they should act which is directly opposed to what the president is doing.

    I hope all those people who voted for Bush (especially twice!) are now wishing they had not voted or voted for someone else.

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 08:52:41 AM PDT

    •  Too many illegal activities to have elections (0+ / 0-)

      "Bush's illegal activities have made it..."
      And it would be the height of stupidity to give up all the power, nefariously, illegally accumulated during this administration. How can Bush and company even risk leaving office, and possibly then being held accountable for their illegal activities. Why make such a make grab for power and influence such a dangerous shift away from our Constitution in order to achieve their PNAC vision or the US and the world and then just walk away after 8 years.

      This administration is going nowhere in 2009. The 2008 presidential elections will be either postponed indefinitely or outright cancelled. Something will happen to promote the excuse. They dare not take the chance of a Democratic president and an even larger democratic majority in Congress, especially not after what they've been up to for 8 years.

      Sad thing is, most people absolutely believe something like this could never happen, here in the USA, thus turn blind eyes, deaf ears, and closed minds to ever such a possibility.

      Think about it. Truly, think about it. If you were him, GWB, what would you do?

      •  Bush will not have a coup to retain power (0+ / 0-)

        but I am sure he will wish he could.

        I am not blind, deaf nor dumb, and I have confidence that in the US we have not yet gotten to the point where a president refuses to leave office.

        He would have to enlist the military to do this, which is highly unlikely, especially since many in the military don't particularly like him.

        I understand your fear, but let's be logical and work on pushing our congress to do their freaking jobs!

        01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

        by kimoconnor on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:08:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mukasey's Sergeant Schultz Defense (0+ / 0-)

    WHITEHOUSE: Is waterboarding constitutional?

    MUKASEY: I don’t know what is involved in the technique.

    Shorter version: "I know nothing!

  •  Get ready for Gonzales II (0+ / 0-)

    I actually thought, finally, someone who has some semblance of competence who is not an idealogue will be working for America.

    So much for that pipe dream...

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:34:37 AM PDT

  •  I will tell you EXACTLY what tortue is and also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UntimelyRippd

    cruel and unusual punishment. (satire but a little ture)


    I understand diary pimping can be done on open threads and on stories relating to the diary being pimped.


    This relates to torture and one definition of torture.


    Torture is writing a six part series because a half dozen kossacks recommended you do it. It is on one of the few subjects you know  a lot about. In fact you know enough to write a 90 page book on it. Information you have spent five years accumulating and spent $50K in 5 years on travel etc. which resulted in this information.


    post it daily for the last three days


    pimp it on every open thread for 3 days and get 3,4,5 recommends on comment pimping it---??---


    Sit in front of your computer for an hour after each posting or pimping on open thread waiting for someone to say anything---it sucks--you are a moron---too- long---photos too big---anything.


    BUT ALMOST NOBODY SEEMS TO READ THE F--King thing. That is torture and also cruel and unusual punishment! You have ALL committed a criminal offense and should ALL go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200!!


    First in series 70 comments because of 6 people helping me correctly format and post photos. Only 15 voted in poll and most left TIP.


    Second in series, 7 readers and comments


    Third posted at 10am EDT today as promised and one f---ing comment in over 2 hrs.


    Then to rub salt in the open wounds your torturers have inflicted, Kos is taken off by the space monkeys


    That is torture and also cruel and unusual punishment! You have ALL committed a criminal offense and should ALL go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200!!


    Humorous facts about Russia and Russians. Many photos. Trivia about the average Russian’s life and their country that almost no Americans know. Funny stories. Great photos. Different poll on each six in series. I correct many stereotypes we have from US propaganda . Good!! Another related subject being government lies, which means, I can pimp on any diary about Bushco or any republican. Thus, expect to see a diary pimp for this on almost every diary posted on Kos and I can do it until I die or all 150,000 Kossacks read it!!


    Now to avoid immediate incarceration and/or me coming  to each of your homes to waterboard you until you agree to read the whole series, follow the link below. Do I make my self clear?


    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president. Theodore Roosevelt

    by TKK on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:35:37 AM PDT

  •  remark (0+ / 0-)

    the "administration" hinges its entire detainee policy on semantics.

    Not really, no.

    The administration bases its entire detainee policy very explicitly on putting people outside the law so that they can be slapped around, waterboarded, frozen or kept awake until they'd rather die than open an eye.

    The way they try to pretend that this course of action is justifiable under such "quaint" restrictions as US law, treaties to which the USA is a signatory, common ethics, natural law, religious commandments or human decency, that's the game of semantics.

    Socialism: Aspirin for your social-welfare headaches. (Use in moderation.)

    by Shaviv on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 09:36:32 AM PDT

  •  I'm late to the party here, but... (0+ / 0-)

    Is there any way to kill Mukasey's nomination at this point?

  •  Treason? (0+ / 0-)

    It is a paradox and an impossibility, because this president does not serve the law faithfully. And what it means, at bottom, is that George W. Bush's "administration" is an enemy of the rule of law

    It sure sounds like treason to me, and by that I am refering to our President and his mendaciously lawless administration. I always thought that was an impeachable offense?

    Just not when it doesn't involve a blow-job, I guess?

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR

    by Vitarai on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:13:56 AM PDT

  •  I tremble for my country... (0+ / 0-)

    when I consider that God is just!

    As I sail against the tide, for what I believe is right.

    by Toes on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:41:05 AM PDT

  •  You nailed it again, Kagro. (0+ / 0-)

    But, Mukasey will be confirmed and the rule of law will not be restored in this country until January, 2009, if ever.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:44:58 AM PDT

  •  It IS unconstitutional. (0+ / 0-)

    Article VI (emphasis mine):

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    The US is a signatory to the Geneva Convention. Thus, it is as binding to us as the Constitution is. If Mukasey, Bush, or anyone else in the executive endorses torture (including waterboarding, as that's what almost every civilized nation views it as), then they should be removed from office for violating their oath.

    In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa

    by Andrew M on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 10:45:06 AM PDT

    •  What is unconstitutional? (0+ / 0-)

      The emphasis most certainly is yours, as is your assumption that either Mukasey or Bush endorses waterboarding. You're arguement, if you want to call it that, is also flawed on a legal basis as waterboarding is not defined as torture in the annals of any US law books I'm aware of. Nor, do the 'views' of any foriegn nation enjoy legal leverage within the framework of the Constitution. You're construance of the word waterboarding to mean torture is clearly subjective and is at the root of why the question was posed to Mukasey in the first place. If it had been defined, legally, the obvious response to the question of whether or not Mukasey felt waterboading was torture would have been "Of course". So before you go off with a bone in your teeth thinking your going to impeach Bush or deny Mukasey his opportunity to serve this country, you may want to get your facts straght.

      •  No legal basis, eh? (0+ / 0-)

        ...waterboarding is not defined as torture in the annals of any US law books I'm aware of.

        Interesting, as I was able to Google it quite easily.

        18 USC 2340:

        (1) "torture" means an act committed by  a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

        (2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—

         (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

         (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

         (C) the threat of imminent death; or

         (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

        (3) "United States" means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

        Wikipedia's article on waterboarding notes that "It...can make the subject believe his or her death is imminent while not causing physical evidence of torture."

        Since waterboarding produces "the threat of imminent death", it is defined as torture under 18 USC 2340 (2)(B), and, thus, prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

        If it had been defined, legally, the obvious response to the question of whether or not Mukasey felt waterboading was torture would have been "Of course".

        It's defined in 18 USC 2340. And Mukasey, having been a Chief Judge of the Federal District Court, should know the law, especially in an area he should have known was going to be touched on at his confirmation hearing. So, if that was the obvious answer, why didn't he make that statement?

        In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa

        by Andrew M on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 12:17:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your Honor the defense rests (0+ / 0-)

          Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? If an always unbiased and unassailble resource such as Wikipedia has already determined that waterboarding "can make the subject believe his or her death is imminent" then clearly the law would be applicalble to their interpretation of waterboarding. How shallow of me. Out of curiosity, how does Wikipedia define the threat of imminent military action if a country doesn't comply with UN resolutions? If that threat were to exists for say, years, or months, wouldn't that be considered to be "prolonged mental harm"? We can play this game for a day or a decade. The fact is it does nothing to project a unified front to our enemies, in fact it only serves to boost their morale, lengthening the war, which is counter productive and puts our troops at greater risk. Don't get me wrong, debate is healthy and should be encouraged. However, I believe this debate to be born out of political motivation rather than a sense of adhering to subjective view of morality.

          If you want my honest opinion, I'd be drilling out their kneecaps. You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn out of the boy. This boy from Brooklyn watched his hometown attacked. Watched friends die in that attack. I would do whatever it took to make sure that doesn't happen again, regardless of who is in office. There's the difference, you won't.

  •  Let's face it, Mukasey (0+ / 0-)

    is pretty much in the same league as Gonzales and Yoo. He's just gonna play with the definition of the word torture. At the best; vague word games. That's all.
        You really didn't expect anyone law-abiding, with respect for the Constitution, or with any degree of integrity from this White House, did you?
        In the meantime, people are actually being tortured, in our names-in different places all over the world. And believe me, for them the definiton is highly specific; there is nothing vague about it.
        I remember how strenuously the GOP defended torture, initially. Now it's all word games (and they're hoping) the sounds of crickets chirping.
        Nothing like watching an entire political party trying to scrape off the dog crap, when they're up-to-their-necks in it!

  •  Mukasey is lying (0+ / 0-)

    Michael Mukasey is lying when he says he doesn't know if waterboarding is torture. Of course he knows, everybody who hasn't been in a coma for the past few years knows what waterboarding is, and it's obviously torture.

    Get that lying weasel out of contention for US Attorney General. If confirmed, I guarantee that he will be another rubber-stamp for Bush's torture policies, and worse.

    How stupid do they think we are?

    by jimbo92107 on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 11:45:58 AM PDT

  •  The answer is pretty easy.... (0+ / 0-)

    WHITEHOUSE: Is waterboarding constitutional?
    MUKASEY: I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.

    BIG HINT -

    It IS torture and it IS NOT constitutional.

    hmmmmmmm, these guys go to law school for how many years, have ooodly-doodly expensive jobs and they don't know if waterboarding is torture and therefore unconstitutional?  Get your money back from the law school, honey, this one is pretty basic.

    (And a PS - why doesn't Mukasey know what's involved with waterboarding, I do, and I'm lightyears away from being considered for an extremely sensitive important JUDICIAL job!)

    I think, therefore I am...........................

    by Lilyvt on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 11:58:34 AM PDT

  •  Another Bush rubberstamp (0+ / 0-)

    Our country certainly deserves better than this continuous parade of sock puppets that rubberstamp everything Bush does. do these people know they are ultimately working for US??? WE'RE the boss.

  •  The convoluted logic is... (0+ / 0-)

    The Daily Show already covered it.

    We don't torture. And because we don't torture, that inherently means that whatever we do is not torture. If we waterboard, which is neither confirmed nor denied, then it cannot be torture because we don't torture.

    Now that may sound like a completely illogical way to frame the analysis, but that is exactly what the Bush administration says and thinks.

    It's really no different than Nixon's claim of anything the President does is automatically not illegal.

  •  "I don’t know what is involved in the tech (0+ / 0-)

    Despite the video 'evidence' offered by Senator Whitehouse, the response by nominee Mukasey is the considered observation of a jurist. While I would be the first to stand in line and denounce torture in any form—and, have repeatedly and publicly in many forums in the last several years—to condemn him for this response is folly. His answer is clearly not a semantic one - it is a clear declaration of a conditional position, one dependent upon investigation and study.

    You are asking someone who states clearly that he does not "…know what is involved in the technique" and—by extension, as a jurist—would have to study a wide range of material to take an unequivocal position. Let's face it: Senator Whitehouse is asking a man who indicates that he has insufficient knowledge of this particular procedure to pre-judge the matter, and pre-position himself to rule against such conduct, without sufficient evidence to do so. 'Rolling tape,' so to speak, is a political stunt: one as foolish when invoked by a Democratic Senator as when by a Republican member of the Senate.

    Grow up, and focus on the the larger issue. Judge Mukasey would not have been on my short list—actually, he would not have been on my list of nominees at all for this cabinet post—but, he should be recognized for truthfully answering questions posed to him. That's far more than former (now disgraced) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales ever offered in his feeble testimony before either house of Congress.

    Contain your misplaced outrage in response to this single question, and focus on the big picture. Please.

  •  Don't give in to Chimpy on anything (0+ / 0-)

    The hell with Chimpy Bush.  Give him nothing.  No AG works for me.  It's time that Alberto is put on trial along with Cheney and then Chimpy.

  •  Nobody for AG is a great idea (0+ / 0-)

    Because being Attorney General in this administration is a job that nobody can do well.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site