Tuesday, February 12, 2008

looks like a mob boss, sounds like a mob boss

...and works for Bush.

I know its not like there isn't plenty to write about. I've been laying low to work on a new look and maybe break in a new voice or two but some shit passes all powers of forbearance.

Driving home today [its a car pool OK? and it was 10 degrees F here this morning] I caught a minute or two of NPR's coverage of an interview Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scolia gave the BBC. If I let this go without remark, however repetitive that may be, I have winked at my country's debauched new cruelty.

To get right to the point, I was disgusted to hear Scolia mincing words about torture. He wriggles around like any other Bush Leauger, finding that somehow, while torture is cruel and unusual punishment for those convicted of crimes it might be OK to "smack somebody in the face" to prevent an act of terror. Such emotionalogic from a Supreme court justice? He steals lines from that idiot we can't manage to impeach. Just think what he is saying:
  • To say it is not OK to hurt people convicted of crimes but it might be OK to hurt people you suspect have information about an as yet uncommitted crime is ridiculous and uncivilized.
  • His words presume the culpability of the torture victim when in fact we usually have the wrong guy. [Six are to go on trial for the events of September 11 2001...HOW many more than that have we tortured?]
  • It is true that US laws and that tattered doormat under Bush's feet, the Constitution, only explicity protect US citizens from cruel and unusual punishment but what is the value of US law if the US rips up international laws like the Geneva Conventions. Isn't the idea "rule of law", not "rule of some laws some times and mostly whatever Prez sez".
I got home and found that Froomkin and others writing at Talking Points Memo were incensed. Listen to the interview if you pop up the sound player on the NPR page [and if you can stand it] because I cannot convey the tone, the glib and slippery equanimity with which the man is excusing torture. He is horrific in that ho-hum way we often see depicted as a trait of third reich functionaries. You should shudder to think this creature is one of nine who has final say over what the US government can get away with when, in the soul discretion of its executive and the intelligence operatives it employs, it thinks it wants a certain answer from a certain prisoner.

I understand the emotional appeal: what do you do if you are desperate to prevent death and destruction? What Scolia does not seem to understand is that desperation is not a fit policy, not a routine situation and torture condoned from the top and from the outset makes us as evil a nation as the evils we claim to be fighting: We Lose! [ or is this more of those "values" that got Bush elected coming to the fore?]
NOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND why this election is so important? 8 years of Obama, for instance, and we can hope to see a change in the balance of the court to muzzle these turd-hearted Bush appointees.

[photo credits to BBC]

1 comment:

Cosa Nostradamus said...

Scumbia was here at the UH a couple of years ago, pontificating for pay. I seriously considered pushing a button on him. He's an outright fascist and a constant threat to our democracy.