The First Church of Free Speech

Because other churches have commandments prohibiting this kind of thing.

6 November, 2006

It’s Now Or Never, Folks

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 11:04 pm

This is our last chance to restore something resembling a civilized republic in this country. If the Republitards hold on to the House and Senate, it’s over. It’s that simple.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the courts will do something. They won’t. Moving to Canada or other countries isn’t an option for the vast majority of Americans who don’t fancy living under a Fourth Reich. Besides, as the case of Maher Arar proves, Canadians can be abducted and tortured just as well as anyone else. So there really isn’t any escape from the Crawford Caligula’s henchmen.

Gore Vidal expresses pretty much the same sentiments
, but he’s much more eloquent on the subject.

It’s now or never, folks.

2 November, 2006

This Senator Actually Did Attack a Seviceman

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 12:07 am

When Marine/ law student Mike Stark tried to ask white supremacist Senator George Allen a question, three of Macaca Man’s thugs jumped on Stark and assaulted him as Allen looked on. Of course being the disgusting creep that he is, Virginia’s overtly bigoted and thuggish junior Senator responded that “”things like that happen”. They sure do, asshole.

So a Senator employing cowardly thugs who gang up and physically assault a Marine gets very little coverage while John Kerry’s remarks are not only twisted into a verbal attack on this country’s servicemen, but are the subject of a combination of mass hysteria and phony outrage for three days and counting.

The quote: “You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Now there are only two sorts of people who could possibly construe that as an attack on members of the armed forces:

Imbeciles or,

Lying Republican hacks, their harlots in the media and other assorted drama queens

There is no other possible reason someone could misinterpret two simple sentences in plain American English.

Kerry’s first decision, to hit back when Republitards lied and twisted his words, was the right one. If only the John Kerry we saw Monday and Tuesday had run in 2004… But unfortunately, the John Kerry who did run turned up this afternoon, probably because of all the yellowbellied insiders (whose advice cost him the Presidency last time), and apologized when he was in the right.

Kerry’s mistake was apologizing. Apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong (a) convinces people that you did do something wrong (b) makes you look weak and cowardly and (c) only invites more bullshit attacks.

Jackie Mason had it right in the case of Mel Gibson (who actually did something worthy of scorn), but it also applies to the blameless John Kerry:

Now they say apologize, but he didn’t apologize enough. He should apologize a little higher. He should apologize in the morning, he only apologized at night. …. He was apologized but he was sitting… He should have got a note to apologize… He should apologize at least two more times, four times, thirty-two…

Now the Republitards and their media whores will spend the next six days demanding more apologies from Kerry. Kerry should have responded:

“I was referring to Mr. Bush, not those who joined the armed forces. I owe neither an apology to Mr. Bush, who was the butt of the joke, nor the men and women serving this country. I only apologize when I have wronged someone.”

I would have responded:

“Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke and double fuck ‘em if they’re too goddamned stupid or dishonest to know who the joke was about.”

If the letters right-wing radio hosts claim to have received from members of the armed forces really do represent the opinions of most in the armed forces (which I doubt), then maybe Kerry should have made a disparaging remark about their intelligence. But then there are dishonest morons in every walk of life.

1 November, 2006

Ticking Bombs and Other Fanciful Stuff

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 9:15 pm

I have little patience with those who advocate torture in the first place. The fact that they want to excuse something so vile tells me all I need to know about them. At best they’re ignoramuses; at worst, sadists.

I have even less patience with people who are so cretinous (or who think their audience is) as to pull out the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario (TTBS). According to this scenario, evil terrorists who hate America because we are so good and pure (naturally) have planted an atomic bomb or some other weapon in an American city and multitudes will die unless the Good Guys can find the device, and that’s why torture should be allowed.

I’ll leave aside the usual arguments against torture (it’s illegal, immoral, evil, sadistic and doesn’t work -among others) and instead point out the real reason the TTBS is so goddamned stupid:

Because Steven Seagal can stop the bomb! Think about it. Can terrorist ever beat Steven Seagal? Not only can they not beat him, he usually kicks their asses in less than two hours. So do numerous other action stars.

In other words, if sadists want to justify waterboarding, cornholing, beating and other forms of torture because of a regular plot point in B-grade action movies, then for consistency’s sake, I’m going to invoke the protagonists in those movies to point out that torture isn’t necessary. Any argument that can be undone by Jean-Claude Van Damme is no argument at all.

Juvenile fantasies are fine for enteertainment, but make for bad government policies.

25 October, 2006

Jabba The Rush Strikes Back

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 11:00 am

America’s favorite white supremacist dope addict is at it again. Just a little over a year ago he was impying that Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey wasn’t really killed in Iraq. Now he claims that Michael J. Fox is faking his symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. He might be on to something. Compared to Rush Limbaugh’s diseased mind, Michael J. Fox’s nervous system seems in perfect health.

Jabba the Rush is more than a demented liar. He is clearly a sociopath with no sense of shame. Normally, a dope addict under deferred adjudication would not want to draw attention to himself by talking about another celebrity’s medication. One would also think that a pervert who upon his return from the Dominican Republic, a nation whose main tourist attraction is the 25,000 child prostitutes who are forced to cater to creepy old men,

The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular sex tourism destinations in the world, and it is advertised on the Internet as a “single man’s paradise.” The major centers of tourism are Luperón, Sosua, Cabarete, and Río San Juan. The sex industry in the Dominican Republic is thriving, with an estimated 50,000 women in prostitution in Santo Domingo alone who provide a stream of income to brothel owners, corrupt police and other officials, taxi drivers, and hotel guards. At least 25,000 of the women in prostitution throughout the Dominican Republic are reportedly underage, with the total number of women in prostitution in the country estimated by some to be 100,000. It is common to see men from developed countries accompanied by Dominican girls.

was stopped at the airport with a bottle of contraband boner pills wouldn’t be a special pleader for a member of Congress caught cyberstalking teenagers nor his enablers. He also wouldn’t have called the atrocities at Abu Ghraib (which include the anal rape of at least one child) the equivalent of fraternity hazing.

Limbaugh is quite simply a lying, pill-popping racist pervert and the fact that Republicans consider him a hero says quite a lot about them.

2 October, 2006

G.O.P.: Grotesque Old Perverts

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 10:30 am

Given that children as young as 11 were held hostage at Guantanamo by the Bush Junta, given that at least one child was anally raped at Abu Ghraib by an American interrogator, given that Representative Foley and almost every other Republitard voted for the Torture Act, it was a real shocker to hear that one of them was stalking underage boys via e-mail while the others covered for him. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that one. Honest.

The excuses the GOP and its fanwhores have made for this old lecher would be hilarious were it not for the fact that he was soliciting boys he KNEW were in high school. This isn’t a case where he was at a party and started hitting on someone -only to later find out that the “someone” was a teenager. He knew he was trying to entice a minor. The next steaming pile was a bit of nitpicking over whether the page was a “child”, whether Foley was technically breaking any laws, whether the youth was of the age of consent, and so on -the gist of this line of defense is as follows:

“Mark Foley is not a pedophile since the teenager was trying to entice over the internet had gone through puberty before he got Foley’s e-mails asking him to measure his penis with a ruler. Besides, it’s legal to solicit a 16-year-old in the District of Columbia.”

And of course when all else fails the Republitards can blame Bill Clinton, who also had sex outside of marriage, making him the embodiment of evil. That’s right, having an affair with an adult woman is comparable to stalking an underage boy who was under the supervision of the Congress. Anyone who likens Clinton’s womanizing to someone abusing a position of power over a minor has exposed himself or herself like George Michael in a men’s room. It says a lot about their attitudes and also says that I sure as hell don’t want them allowed anywhere near schoolyards, playgrounds or other places frequented by children.

This Congress, White House and media have so debased this country by making the solicitation, rape, torture and murder of minors as ho-hum as a middle-aged man having a fling with a twentysomething secretary that one gets the feeling that if the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy were alive today, the moral lepers of Fox News and right-wing radio would be making excuses for them and blaming it all on Clinton.

These people aren’t corrupt. They are depraved.

28 September, 2006

A Mother’s Wisdom

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 9:01 pm

I was just discussing the Torture Act with my Mom. Her reaction? “How long before Cindy Sheehan gets “disappeared”?

The American Republic: 1787-2006

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 7:37 pm

By this time tomorrow afternoon, the United States of America will have ceased to be a Republic and will officially become a tyrannical regime with the legal right to abduct, imprison, torture and put to death any person they want with no due process whatsoever.

Watching the craven Democrats in action today was enough to make a rat puke. At this point, I’m guessing that they won’t take back either the House or Senate this November. After that cowardly performance, I’m not sure it’s worth my time to go vote for them. Does anyone think Harry Reid would work up the nerve to try to repeal the Torture Act if the Democrats took over? The only thing that will change if the Democrats take back Congress is that the next Torture Act will pass 55-45 instead of 65-35. This modern-day version of the Enabling Act is here to stay.

The last time Congress passed a law this vile was The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. It took a civil war to put an end to that one. Since the “opposition” couldn’t produce 41 votes to stop this hellish act, I rather seriously doubt that they could muster the courage necessary for that kind of thing, anyway. The Republic is gone forever and will never return.

Not that it matters, since the Constitution and rule of law were on life support for a number of years before the Senate pulled the feeding tube. It will wither for twenty-four hours until the newly annointed Fuhrer signs the bill/ death warrant tomorrow and the Constitution’s corpse is dumped in an unmarked grave -never to be seen again.

What’s truly sad is watching the Constitution go out with less than whimper. In the old days, fascist dictators had to storm the legislature (too many to list), bomb the presidential palace (Pinochet) or invite foreign armies into the country to fight a civil war (Franco). Bush became Generalissimo by saying “BOO!”. How pathetic it is to see the once proud American people lay down like sheep. That’s the part makes my blood boil more than anything else.

27 September, 2006

On E-Voting

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion, Geeky Stuff — Damien Sorresso @ 1:01 am

Robert F. Kennedy wrote a 7-page piece on electronic voting in Rolling Stone on how electronic voting machines aren’t to be trusted. And he’s right. The people making electronic voting machines for the US government are blisteringly-incompetent and unfathomably inept.

First, I’ll let you know a little about me. I’ve completed the requirements for a degree in computer science from Illinois State University (I still owe them money, but then I’ll have the diploma), so I know a little something about software design and how to analyze the complexity of a computing problem. I’m by no means infallible, but I’ve been appalled at the total [i]lack[/i] of any kind of media time given to computer scientists and software engineers regarding this topic. When there’s a question about military tactics, people have retired generals on. When there’s a question about Constitutional law, a Constitutional lawyer will write something. So where are all the IT people to educate the public about electronic voting (and for that matter, Net Neutrality, but that’s a different topic)?

I’ve been interested in the problem of e-voting since before I started pursuing a computer science degree. (I started as a physics major.) I didn’t really know much of anything about software design or programming back then. When I heard of flaws in Diebold’s e-voting machines, my first reaction was, “They managed to screw up a program that just adds 1 to a column?” But then I thought, “Well wait. I’m not a programmer or anything. It’s probably a lot more complex than that because of the scale of the problem. So like any other complex software, it has flaws.”

Well, now I am a programmer. What have I learned? The problem is [i]not[/i] all that complex. In fact, it [i]is[/i] as simple as adding numbers to columns. The base problem is simply recording votes and determining which candidate has the most. Folks, this is an extraordinarily simple program to write. The complications come in making this system redundant, secure and reliable. How complex is this? Again, not very. There are no problems that come up in e-voting that the software community hasn’t already dealt with. So don’t let anyone fool you with Diebold apologist nonsense about how e-voting is complex, and we’re bound to see flaws. Bullshit. People accept this because they’re so used to computers being unreliable, but the fact is that the IT industry turns out virtually 100%-reliable systems and machines [i]every day[/i]. You just don’t see headlines like, “IBM Mainframe Continues 5th Straight Year of Uptime”. All you hear about are the latest exploits in Microsoft’s operating system.

So let’s clear the air. What’s the problem here? Why can’t we implement a decent e-voting system? Because the government had the brilliant idea of letting Diebold implement a voting system … without [i]any public scrutiny at all![/i] That’s right, Diebold’s source code is completely closed; you’re not allowed to look at it. Now, I’m not one of those people who thinks all software should be open source and free, but if you’re going to be deploying software in the public sector in a role vital to the continuation of democracy, I think it’s reasonable to insist that said software be transparent, not some black box. All anyone in the public has to go on with regards to e-voting security is … what Diebold says. Boy don’t I feel better.

The code to the operating system and fundamental algorithm of these machines should be completely open to the public. If a programmer in the public wants to know how Diebold’s voting machines are recording his vote, he should damn well be allowed to see and encouraged to scrutinize it, report bugs and expose security flaws when he finds them.

But really, Diebold’s designs are so fucking broken that, in my opinion, it’d be better to just start from scratch. For Christ’s sake, you can gain physical access to their machines with keys to a hotel mini-bar! So how would I do it? Well here’s my vision.

  • Voters sit down at a typical personal computer that is installed with a specialized open-source operating system which is designed so that it can only run essential service applications (like a window manager). There would literally be a hard-coded list of executables that the OS would allow to launch. These PCs would be physically secured kiosks, and they would not have ethernet cards or modems, and hence would not run network drivers. There is no reason at all for these machines to be connected to a network.
  • The voter goes through a nice, GUI ballot and enters his selections. Like any well-designed web page, the vote application would ask him to make sure the selections he made were the ones he wanted.
  • After the voter has verified his selections, they are written to a file on a hot-swappable hard drive, maybe a flash drive or something similar. The human-readable results are also printed out on a paper ballot for the voter. On this paper ballot is a barcode or optical pattern indicating his votes. Each ballot would be assigned a universally-unique identifier (UUID) that is in no way attached to the person casting the vote. Airlines do this kind of thing with electronically-purchased tickets. You print them out on your printer, and the optical pattern is scanned to verify that your ticket is legitimate.
  • The voter deposits his paper ballot into a secured ballot box.
  • Once all ballots are cast, the paper ballot boxes are taken to an off-site, secure location, where they are opened, and bar-code scanners are used to tabulate the votes off of each ballot.
  • The removable hard drives from each computer are taken out and deposited into secure boxes. They are transported to another off-site, secure location and plugged into a central counter. This counter is basically a PC with a large, external chassis for hot-swappable hard drives attached to it. It will read each ballot file and record each vote.
  • When both counts are done, they should be virtually (if not exactly) identical. The use of two counts of two representations of the same data helps protect against fraud. If one of the counts is wildly off from the other, investigations can be initiated to see where the count went wrong. This would be a simple process of comparing a vote on paper to its corresponding file on the disk (using the UUID mentioned before). If there is a discrepancy, an operator can manually enter in the votes from the paper ballot.

Sounds cool, huh? The folks at the Open Voting Consortium had a similar idea. The only real difference is that my system has the added redundancy of counting records from the voting machines’ hard drives. So why is this not being implemented? Well, because Americans haven’t made enough noise to kick Diebold’s sorry ass out of the e-voting game, for one. So write your congresscritter and tell him to support the Open Voting Consortium, and if he doesn’t like it, then he can kiss your vote goodbye.

Now to a separate issue. I mentioned before that a lot of Americans are used to distrusting technology because of their experience with personal computers (running Microsoft Windows, 90% of the time). Some geniuses actually think that the entire idea of electronic voting should be abandoned because we can’t trust computers. Yes, Diebold’s e-voting machines suck, but is that an indictment of the entire idea of using computers to tabulate votes? Absolutely not! Counting is what computers do best! The whole reason we made computers was so they could count really big numbers for us! Know why? Because we’re bad at it. Go ahead and try counting to 10,000, out loud, without making any mistakes or taking breaks. You can’t. You’re human. Humans are prone to fatigue. Computers aren’t. A computer can count to a million without problems. That’s what it’s designed for.

Also, humans have bias. A computer will simply do as it’s told; so the challenge is making sure you tell it to do the right things. Some people complain that you can’t know how a computer is tabulating votes because its workings are obscured. That’s why we open source the damn thing! So everyone can see what’s going on. These same people will claim that there’s no guarantee that the source is what’s being compiled and installed on these things. This is true, but there are ways of signing code to guarantee that the binary you’re running has been compiled from a trusted source. Besides, people are more than willing to trust computers with all of their financial information with no real knowledge of how the software works, what software it is or even who’s maintaining it. And since Congress has taught us that money is more important than votes, I don’t see why it should be a problem for people to trust signed code, as well.

Human beings are the ultimate black boxes. You don’t know what’s going through another guy’s head. You can’t tell if he intentionally misrecorded a ballot or if his vision just got bleary for a bit. But humans are simply not ideal candidates for counting lots of stuff. We get tired, we have political bias and we’re simply not very fast at math. A well-implemented system (like the one above) would basically be 100% accurate, very robust and very secure. And fast. You could get an initial count less than an hour after the hard drives get to the central counter and then have that count validated by the paper ballots.

I’ll say this definitively. Diebold has basically fucked up one of the easiest problem in all of computer science: adding numbers to columns. There is absolutely no excuse for miscounts. Maybe some security vulnerabilities are understandable. But e-voting machines recording votes that were never cast? Miscounting? Giving negative votes? Those things mean that the actual algorithm is broken, which means that, yes, they fucked up one of the easiest problems in all of computer science. Well done, Diebold. Well done.

25 September, 2006

Just In Time For Halloween!

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 2:46 pm

Since the Bush Junta is about to legalize torture, grant itself immunity from war crimes prosecution and the Democrats don’t have the balls to filibuster it, let’s have a look at what’s in store for anyone the Smirking Chimp decides is a “terrorist”. For the past few years, Republitards have been extolling the virtues of waterboarding, which means subjecting the victim to simulated drowning and provoking a gag reflex.

Waterboarding has a long history.

Until witch hysteria ended in the early 1700s, the favored method of getting old biddies to confess to witchcraft -which included things such as casting spells, fornicating with devils, joining covens, attending sabbats and other fanciful “crimes” was to make them think they were drowning or by actually drowning them.


Hopkins and Stearne [”professional” witchhunters] employed varying methods to extract confessions from the “witches”. They would keep the suspect awake on surveillance for days on end, resulting in sleep depravation, meaning that at the end, the suspect could be coaxed into confessing to almost anything. Interestingly, this practice of confession-extraction is still used by a number of armies today.

Hopkins believed that witches fed their “familiars” (animals that would accompany them in their evil practices) with their own blood; by keeping the witch under guard this would also ensure that their familiars would not be able to feed from the witch, thereby depriving the witches of their alleged capabilities.

It was also believed that witches could be stabbed without having any mark remaining on their skin, so Hopkins would use a knife with a retractable blade, allowing him to quickly and cunningly prove their guilt. However, a favorite confessional torture of Hopkins was the infamous “swimming” test. The suspect’s limbs would be bound together and they would be lowered into pond water by ropes. Hopkins saw the principle as being simple – if they sank and drowned, they would be innocent and in heaven; if they floated, they would be tried as a witch. He found this devious method simple and effective.


The penalty for witchcraft was death. In England during the 1600s they got off with a hanging but in earlier times and on the continent, they were burned alive. Something that can make a religious old woman “confess” to a mortal sin (damning her to hell) that carries a gruesome death sentence (hangings back then were drawn out executions more like lynchings since the drop-noose hadn’t yet been invented) is quite obviously torture since the “witch” had every reason to not confess since her body and soul were in danger.

Witch burning

So-called witches weren’t the only people tortured with waterboarding. It was a technique used by Imperial Japan on American pilots:

Consider then, this testimony about his treatment in Tokyo,by CPT Chase Nielsen a member of the aircrew of one of the bombers on the Doolittle Raid against Japan in April, 1942. Captain Nielsen was captured by the Japanese in China and returned to Japan for interrogation.

Q: What other physical treatment was administered to you at that time?

A: Well, I was given what they call the water cure.

Q: Explain to the Commission what that was.

A: Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water was poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let me up until I’d get my breath, then they’d start over again.

Q: When you regained consciousness would they keep asking you questions?

A: Yes sir they did.

Q: How long did this treatment continue?

A: About twenty minutes.

Q: What was your sensation when they were pouring water on the towel, what did you physically feel?

A: Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death.

United States v. Sawada et a., Trial Record, Volume I, p.55.18 March, 1946.

This is what the Bush Junta wants Congress to “clarify” -that is, make legal- and what McCain, Graham and those other Republitard wankers agreed to grant immunity for. Their timing is perfect: just a few weeks before Halloween to kick off a new witchseason. The torture is the same and so are the special pleadings from the pro-torture morons. The only thing missing is the bonfire and the scales used to determine if the defendant weighs the same as a duck…

Since the US government won’t enforce the laws against torture, I hope other nations will follow the example of Spain and Britain when they collared Augusto Pinochet and start arresting and charging these cowardly, sadistic fucks should they set foot on foreign soil.

24 September, 2006

One Nation, Under The Waterboard, With Rape And Torture For All

Filed under: News, Politics and Religion — Jason Peppers @ 10:59 am

Let’s be clear about one thing. There is one reason -and only one reason- why a person tortures an animal: pure sadism.

Sure the redneck who tapes fishhooks and razor blades to the feet of a rooster to give him a leg up at the cockfights will earnestly insist that the chicken who is about to be torn to pieces in the cockpit has it much better than the ones who are cut up and served for dinner. The inbred peckerwoods who feed ground glass to pit bulls at the dogfights to make them more ferocious are no different when they claim that since the dog enjoys fighting and was going to be put down anyway, there was no harm done. Both who revel in the torture of animals might, in an unguarded, candid moment (usually brought on by grain alcohol), admit that they do it as a way to come up with some tax-free cash to pay for that double-wide they’ve had their eyes on. But the main reason people throw roosters, dogs and other animals into a pit to kill and maim (or be killed and maimed) is because of the sadistic joy they get out of watching and/ or taking part in pain, mutilation and death.

This perverted thrill at suffering is no different among those who condone or take part in the torture of two-legged animals, and I’m not referring to male chickens. First a little background:

I’ve lived in Texas for many years. Every public official I can remember supports the execution of certain criminals. George W. Bush stood out from the standard-issue needle-happy Texas politician in that as Governor, he openly gloated and yukked it up over the record number of freak show executions carried out at Huntsville, even laughing at and mimicking the pleas for mercy from retards and juveniles. When born-again convict Karla Faye Tucker was about to be sent to the gibbet, Bush’s orgasmic enthusiasm was so brazen that even fundies like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were decidedly turned off by the overt sadism. The fact that they got over it, were hypocrites who only cried over Tucker because she was a bible-thumper doesn’t detract from their brief moment of conscience.

When asked about his fondness for putting people to death during the 2000 primaries, the Texacutioner smirked as if to say “Oh hell, yeah!”. That grin looked very familiar: It’s the same smirk Jeffrey Dahmer had when he was on trial for killing, raping and eating teenage boys. For the record, I’m generally opposed to the death penalty except in the most extreme cases, but Bush’s demented love of sending people to their deaths is sickening. He is quite simply the most depraved man to ever sit in the Oval Office.

So it’s no surprise that he is the first President in the history of our Republic to officially condone torture. I saw it coming whe he started winning primaries six years ago and the Supreme Court hijacked the election in 2000, installing the little psychopath into the White House.

His henchmen are just as demented. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez tried, in Orwellian fashion, to change the definition of torture to in effect legalize anything short of actually killing or dismembering a person, or causing permanent organ failure. Anal rape, for example, would be just fine, a message the American guards at Abu Ghraib took to heart. As Major General Antonio Taguba’s report on the atrocities committed in that hellhole shows, at least one child was anally raped by an American interpreter:

“I saw [name of US interrogator blacked out
], who was wearing the military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid’s ass,”

Of course like their boss, Bush’s thugs are cowards who are quite happy to throw low level henchmen under the bus, so a barely literate Private Lynddie England straight out of White Trash Central Casting gets to serve time in prison while Alberto Gonzalez gets promoted from presidential attorney to Attorney General, where he can work on the inside to try to keep himself and his employer from facing the consequences of their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

That’s right -WAR CRIMES. Back in 1996, members of Congress reacted to the atrocities committed against American prisoners by the Vietnamese, including torture, by passing the War Cimes Act. It was also the age when numerous “truth commissions” in other countries put out detailed reports of countless acts of torture, rape and murder committed by various governments, as well as the fact that so many of those who commit crimes against humanity were never brought to justice. The War Crimes Act makes it a crime under U.S. law to violate the Geneva Conventions and other treaties pertaining to human rights. If a victim should die, the perpetrator is eligible for the death penalty even if the crime did not take place on American soil, or was not committed by or against an American citizen.

The Bush Junta, knowing its members could face trial for torture and murder wants to nullify (”clarify”) the Act to give themselves immunity from prosecution. No doubt Roman Polanski would like to see U.S. laws against drugging and sodomizing little girls “clarified” so he can’t be made to serve time behind bars, too. After some hollow posturing by Senators Graham, Warner and McCain, they agreed in principle to give the Coward-In-Chief and his thugs immunity from prosecution.

If Congress, including the gutless Democrats, wasn’t afflicted with moral leprosy they would see Bush’s demand for immunity for what it is: A free and open confession that he and his sadistic henchmen have committed capital crimes and should be impeached, removed, tried and sentenced as soon as humanly possible. They would also point out that Bush is acting in the yellowbellied tradition of fascist thugs like Pinochet and the various Generalissimos of Argentina who also had people “disappeared” and took the coward’s way out by granting themselves immunity. Of course the Democrats are also behaving in typical lilly-livered fashion. At least liberal-minded politicians in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere in South America had to be jailed, tortured, exiled and assassinated (sometimes all of the above) before they knuckled under. What’s Harry Reid’s excuse? Or Nancy Pelosi’s? Or Howard Dean’s? Is it to win the next election? If they manage that, it will be in spite of being the party of Torture Lite, not because of it. If anything, being silent might cost them the upcoming elections. I for one would give them more credit if they said they didn’t really care to assume the leadership of a country that embraced torture and murder and the GOP can have the government.

For many years, we in the land of the not-so-free and the home of the not-so-brave have rather smugly belittled the Good Germans and their counterparts living under other despots who laid down like sheep while the governments they lived under committed all kinds of vile acts. The fatuous hacks of the news media think the fact that Bush isn’t Hitler means that they and the other three estates shouldn’t make an effort to call Bush to account. Actually, it’s the other way around: the fact that Bush isn’t Hitler only makes their craven, compliant behavior more disgraceful.

I will not vote for any member of Congress who votes to give immunity to torturers. I will also not vote for any member of the Senate who does not filibuster this abomination of a bill. I’m not someone who expects elected officials to agree with me on every point, but there are dealbreakers and torture is one of them. If that means the Republitards hold onto Congress until the Democrats grow a pair, so be it. What’s the point of voting for Democrats who lack the spine or morals to oppose something that is inherently vile and un-American? One of the founding principles of the Republic is that “cruel and unusual” punishment is forbidden. There’s a reason the Eighth Amendment bans torture. If the Democrats can’t work up the nerve to oppose “cruel and unusual” treatment now, when Bush is about as popular as head lice, they never will and I say to hell with them if they don’t.

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