Aggressive Ignorance

Take your stinking laws off me, you damned dirty ape!

Our interest in the Bush Administration’s torture program remains focused on its early development, but with the Zelikow Memo heating up, it might help to look at what light it sheds on what we’ve learned.

Philip Zelikow, Condoleezza Rice’s counselor at State and executive director of the 9/11 Commission, will be testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee next Tuesday. Zelikow saw the torture memos from Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel shortly after they were issued in May 2005, and wrote up “an opposing view of the legal reasoning.”

Zelikow was not on Rice’s legal team, and so had no official standing in the discussion. But apparently a written memo was more than the torture advocates could bear:

I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo.

What strikes us about this is the similarity to the Pentagon showdown on January 15, 2003, when Alberto Mora, the Navy’s general counsel, threatened to sign a memo objecting to the original Rumsfeld torture memo (“Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”) unless it was rescinded. That mere threat to put something on the record caused the original policy to be abandoned that day, and resulted in a subsequent policy that was implemented without Mora’s knowledge.

There was no open debate about torture, no broad consensus. Instead, every effort was made to limit discussion to cronies, and keep objections off the record. Remember that the next time Condi ducks a question from a fourth-grader.

Soufan, Zelikow to testify about torture [Think Progress]

The OLC “torture memos”: thoughts from a dissenter [Foreign Policy, April 21]

All the Vice President’s Men [Stinque]


I think it would most appropriate to say this:

“You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

I seem to recall that the State Department prepared prescient documents related to possible negative outcomes of an occupation of Iraq and how to prepare for/ameliorate them, and that document too was ignored by an Administration that wasn’t prepared to let reality get in the way of its fantasies.

Wha???? It’s been Earth all along? No way!

@Serolf Divad: Paul O’Neill pointed out that the Bushies were itching to hit Saddam before 9/11. The war planners are, in fact, war criminals.

When’s the next time Condi’s going to an elementary school? Maybe she’ll get the hard-hitting questions there.

TJ/Stinque Announcement:

After consultation with Cynica, we have decided upon a choice for the Stinque Book Club – and this will take care of both the June and July discussions. So go to the library or local independent bookstore if one still exists, or go through the Stinque Amazon linque and look for it.

“Tell Me A Riddle” has been published in a two-fer edition with “Death of Ivan Ilyitch” by Tolstoy

The description: Masters of short fiction illumine questions of pain, suffering, medicine, fate, and, most starkly, “Why am I dying?” Circling in psychological time, Tillie Olsen depicts the death of a working-class grandmother, a past proletarian revolutionary in Russia, and how her death devastates her family in mid-twentieth-century America. Leo Tolstoy’s cancer-ravaged Czarist bureaucrat weighs his life, searching for semblances of meaning in a linear, realistic story.

Here is the list of nominees – thanks for the great ideas, we can definitely go back to this in a few months:

A Girl Called Zippy (JNOV)
Anarchist’s Cookbook (RML)
Anna Karenina (Benedick)
Boccaccio: The Decameron Oxford World’s Classics edition (Guido Waldman, trans.) (Ewalda)
Bronte sisters (JNOV)
Brothers Karamazov (Ewalda)
Caroline Mytinger: Head-Hunting in the Solomon Islands- Around the Coral Sea (Ewalda)
Carolly Erickson: Great Catherine, The Life Of Catherine The Great, Empress Of Russia (Ewalda)
Catch 22 (Ewalda, SFL)
China Boy, (JNOV)
Christina Stead, Letty Fox: Her Luck or Miss Herbert, the Suburban Wife (Benedick)
Cocteau’s World, An Anthology of Writings By Jean Cocteau (Margaret Crosland, ed.) (Ewalda)
Common Sense (SFL)
Don Juan (Prommie)
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (JNOV)
Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge (JNOV)
Gadamer’s Truth and Method (Bloggie)
Garcia Marquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Cynica)
Golden Bowl (Benedick)
Grapes of Wrath (SFL)
Great Gatsby (Baked)
Infinite Jest (will take a long time) (JNOV, SFL)
la Maravilla, (JNOV)
Les Liaisons Dangereuse (Benedick, baked)
Lolita (Benedick, Prommie)
Madame Bovary (SFL)
Middlemarch (Benedick)
Mother Night (JNOV)
Robert Polito: Savage Art, A Biography of Jim Thompson (Ewalda)
Slaughter-House 5 (SFL)
Sound and the Fury (JNOV)
Tell Me A Riddle (Ewalda)
The Enormous Room, ee cummings (Ian J)
The Liars’ Club, (JNOV)
The Manuscript Found at Sargossa (Benedick)
The Onion: Dispatches From The Tenth Circle (Ewalda)
Walden (SFL)
War and Peace, Pevear translation (Ewalda, Benedick)
Wilhelm Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Serolf David)

I should have made it clear – the title of this compilation of the two novellas is:

“The Riddle of Life and Death: Tell Me a Riddle and the Death of Ivan Ilych (Two by Two)” Paperback, 2008, Published by the Feminist Press at CUNY.

@SanFranLefty: Done and done. Looking forward to it!

Right. I know the Tolstoy but look forward to refreshing my (putrid) memory and reading the other.

@Benedick: Have read both but remember little of either. Too much Mary Juana during my college years.

@SanFranLefty: Ordered thru Stinque Amazon kickback site, also a new Sonic Care toothbrush because my dentist threatened me. Beers all around.

[Threadjack / Joke bumped to frontpage in new post. Because I said so.]

@SanFranLefty: Technical question.

For the kickback to work, I have to click on the amazon ad not the link in SFL’s post, right?

@Jamie Sommers: I think that’s correct. Anyhow, that’s what I did.

@Jamie Sommers: I think so, and that’s what I did just to be sure – clicked the box that Nojo has up there and went into the Amazon portal that way.

Our purchases of the book will hurtle it up in the rankings, no doubt. Just like Oprah’s book club.

DEVELOPING HARD: Bush aides are working the refs according to WaPo — no story, just two paragraphs linked on front page:

Former Bush administration officials are lobbying behind the scenes to push Justice Department leaders to water down an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

In recent days, attorneys for the subjects of the ethics probe have encouraged senior Bush administration appointees to write and phone Justice Department officials, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

@chicago bureau: water down, heh heh.

Hey, TJ/ I only do this out of journalistic obligation, such as.

@chicago bureau: Wanna start a pool on whether Barry/Holder will chicken out?

@Nabisco: I just hurled up my peanut M&M’s. Thank you.

It’s like she’s not a real blond or something…

@Nabisco: It’s a mitzvah, your posting of that link.

rptrcub: Yeah, I’m with nojo on this. If they dial it back, it would surprise absolutely nobody.

And speaking of suprising absolutely nobody — absolutely delightful pick up there, Nabisco. Consider Miss California’s fifteen minutes up.

Maggie Gallagher just had a motherfucking meltdown in her office, I’ll bet. Couldn’t happen to a worse hack. Meanwhile, K-Lo reached for her teddy bear and gave it a nice, big squeeze. Awwwww.


@chicago bureau: Carrie is striking back at her critics via Twitter for, like, criticizing her and stuff. Still, a naked role model apparently beats two fully clothed dudes or ladies trying to get married at the courthouse, according to Maggs.

Hey, don’t hate her because she’s beautiful.
//Eye roll

rptrcub: Snip from Maggie says that our dear friend, Ms. California, is enduring “…ongoing character assassination. The level of hatred directed at her is astonishing. Even more astonishing is her personal courage and strength of character in the midst of these attacks. Of course Carrie is not perfect.”

Oh dear. So many ways to respond. I leave it to the panel. Is the correct answer:

A. “Well, Carrie’s perfect now, thanks to the implants.”

B. “So she has strength of character. Next: some upper-body strength in order to make pulling on a shirt and pants that much more easy.”

C. “She should be a little more worried about fashion assassination. Pink? Really?”

D. “Seriously, Maggie — fuck you.”

“I am a Christian, and I am a model,” Prejean said in a statement released Tuesday.

Can’t wait to see the Crucifixion Speedo ad.

@chicago bureau: E. Damn Perez Hilton for getting some cred out of this.

And once again, Stinque scores meta points for mixing torture and Miss California in the same thread. Future historians, take note: It made sense at the time.

@nojo: One person’s pleasure is another one’s torture.

@Nabisco: Didja read the comments under Miss Crucified Martyr for her Christian Faith California’s photo? Here is a funny one:

“It’s no surprise that most Faggs are also Democrats, er Democommunists. There is no honor in their fight methods, it’s always Slash n Burn and Personal Attacks like this one against Carrie Prejean who only spoke her opinions and like 8 + years of personal attacks against Geo W Bush and any conservatives.

FORTUNATELY, the majority of the population is wise enough not to be swayed by the faggs and their methods and they will only continue to hurt their image further … deservedly so.!”

@Prommie: ‘Bisco and I should start an old guys’ punk-metal band called Democommunists. Fagg could open for us.

@chicago bureau: @nojo: C & E.

@Prommie: I tend not to read comments on general news websites because I cannot handle that much concentration of Teh Stupid within a few minutes.

@redmanlaw: Homofascist, Tommcatt, Original Andrew, Pedonator, Benedick and I could probably figure something out.

I’ve got shotgun on the cowbell.


And, as always, the irony eludes the wingnut.

Prommie: I smell libtard sockpuppetry on this fine chunk of Commenting Gold. I mean, check out the turn of phrase “Democrats, er Democommunists.”

The self-aware rebranding aside: “Democommunists” is a new one — even for the teabagging crowd. No matter how earnest the thumper is, he would not torture the English language that badly to make a point.

Oh, fuck — another AARP pitch in the mail. Now that’s torture.

nojo: Ma Bureau got these starting in her late 30s. Royally pissed her off.

@SanFranLefty: Non-book club reading: “What Would Keith Richards Do?: Daily Affirmations from a Rock and Roll Survivor”

Keith the metaphysician: “It seems strange that we do the same thing with the same boys all these years later. But it’s like when you get drunk at a bar and wonder later how you got home. You know where you are — you’re home — but how did you get there? That’s the mystery.”

Available through amazon.

@chicago bureau: Just when you’re back to thinking But I’m really 17 at heart, another one arrives to abuse you. Please, folks, wait until I get some gray hair and can no longer deny it.

@nojo: See, my feeling is that as long as you have to age, you might as well get discounts. I’m 48, completely gray, and already trading that to get senior discounts in places where they don’t check ID. I only get upset, when someone takes me for 30-something Mr Cyn’s mom. I won’t go anywhere with him on Mother’s Day.

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