So This Is What Transparency Tastes Like!

This weeks Ho of the Week is Barack Obama for doing his best George W. impression by working with Senator Joe “I maintain my life force by eating Palestinian babies” Lieberman and Senator Lindsey “I would still own slaves if they weren’t so damn expensive” Graham to pass The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009.

The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 will allow Obama or the Secretary of Defense to suppress any pictures during the War on Terrah (September 11, 2001 – January 22, 2009), even if the Freedom of Information Act requires the photographs be released. The only condition is that they are judged to be detrimental to American interests (civilian or military), with no ability to review the judgment. As Greenwald summarizes:

Obama wants Congress to change FOIA by retroactively narrowing its disclosure requirements, prevent a legal ruling by the courts, and vest himself with brand new secrecy powers under the law which, just as a factual matter, not even George Bush sought for himself. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.

… The act literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any “photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.” As long as the Defense Secretary certifies — with no review possible — that disclosure would “endanger” American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely.

What kind of a country passes a law that has no purpose other than to empower its leader to suppress evidence of the torture it inflicted on people?

Changing the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Middle East, one electrocuted testicle at a time!

Update: The bill was unanimously passed in the Senate last Friday and will not be voted on by the house because it was added on by Committee (meaning it will become law without a vote). [Source]

See Also: The Illusion Of Transparency, Torture: Obama, you can do better than that, Obama’s support for the new Graham-Lieberman secrecy law, Obama’s support for the new Graham-Lieberman secrecy law, Looking so long for these pictures of you, Death of the Republic, Part CLXVIII, What to do with the detainee photos?, Washington vs. The Rule of Law, Transparency flip-flop on detainee photos, U.S. plans appeal on abuse photos, and The Torture Photos: Obama’s Six-Step Sidestep.

[tags]barack obama, ho of the week, joe lieberman, lindsay graham, Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009, freedom of information act, FOIA, senate bill, release of torture photos, photographs, department of defense, this change is pathetic and mediocre, did bill clinton morph into that amiable black guy who lives in the white house?[/tags]

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Moving Back to NYC

Aw snaps, I’m moving back up to NYC [UWS, no Brooklyn yet, unfortunately]. If any of you actually read this blog (doubtful), we will be hosting several PBH meetups this summer, and by meetups, I mean you can find us in Central Park passed out at 2 PM after drinking 40′s.

In case there is any confusion, you can identify us by the group of mid-20′s white males that will be groping each other to this song:

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Bill O’Reilly Encourages Dr. Tiller’s Assassination

O’Reilly first discussed Tiller on Feb. 25, 2005 and followed it up with 28 more episodes that mentioned the doctor. In the past four years, O’Reilly described the doctor as “Tiller the Baby Killer” and “a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida.” “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union,” said O’Reilly on one show.

This is where it gets most troubling. O’Reilly’s language describing Tiller, and accusing the state and its elites of complicity in his actions, could become extremely vivid. On June 12, 2007, he said, “Yes, I think we all know what this is. And if the state of Kansas doesn’t stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands as the governor does right now, Governor Sebelius.”

Three days later, he added, “No question Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands. But now so does Governor Sebelius. She is not fit to serve. Nor is any Kansas politician who supports Tiller’s business of destruction. I wouldn’t want to be these people if there is a Judgment Day. I just — you know … Kansas is a great state, but this is a disgrace upon everyone who lives in Kansas. Is it not?“

[via ThinkProgress]

Update: There is also a 2006 segment from Bill O’Reilly’s radio program where he implicitly states he would like to personally kill Dr. Tiller:

From this segment:

OK. So, I’m the fascist, I’m the bad guy, I’m the problem. Not Tiller. No, he — no, no, no. He’s a good guy. Now, Tiller’s pumping all kinds of money into obviously the attorney general race. He wants the guy that’s gonna let him off the hook to win. Those of you listening in Kansas, you ought to know that. You know, I don’t — I’m not gonna tell you who to vote for. You guys know these guys better than I do, but I tell you what, anything Tiller wants, I’m voting the other way. And if I could get my hands on Tiller — well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech.

But despicable? Oh, my God. Oh, it doesn’t get worse. Does it get worse? No.

See Also: More O’Reilly Rhetoric, Tiller’s Death: A Debate About Speech, George Tiller murdered, The Politics of Murder, Bill O’Reilly’s George Tiller Death Fantasy Moment From 2006, Randall Terry presser: ‘Tiller reaped what he sowed’, On Rivers of Rage, Liberal bloggers point finger at Bill O’Reilly in George Tiller’s death, American Taliban Strikes Again, So Much Hatred On The Right, THE MURDER OF GEORGE TILLER TERRORISM?, Dear Bill O’Reilly, and Bill O’Reilly’s Campaign Against Murdered Doctor.

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Fox News During The Civil Rights Movement

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See Also: Thoughts on FOX.

[tags]fox news, civil rights movement, pics, photos, irony, black terrorists, african-americans, special rights, faux news, images, civil rights or terrorists?[/tags]

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Christian Extremism Is Undermining America

The death of Dr. George Tiller, while ghastly, comes as no surprise, as the past 28 years have seen an increase in ‘normalization’ of Christian extremism and a refusal by both the media and government to confront violent Christian fundamentalism. Yet a majority of the most horrific domestic terrorism and international war crimes committed by Americans have been done under the guise of Evangelical Christianity. An incomplete list:

    Eric Rudolph, who was motivated by his Catholicism to end the ‘abortion holocaust’, bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, several abortion clinics, and a gay/lesbian club in Atlanta.
    • The Oklahoma City Bombing, the largest act of domestic terrorism in America’s history, was executed by survivalist and right-wing militia member Timothy McVeigh.
    • In 2003, while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated. Bush told Chirac, “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”. [source]
    • Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld presented intelligence and defense reports on Iraq and Afghanistan to George W. Bush with cover pages dedicated to ‘militaristic passages of the Bible’:

    Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld routinely used militaristic passages from the Bible on the cover pages of White House intelligence documents, according to new revelations by GQ magazine….

    One republished on the GQ website came from March 31, 2003, showing a US tank roaring through the desert about 10 days after the United States invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. Over the image was printed a verse from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

    [source 1, 2]

    • During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, President Bush told several people that “‘I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.” [source]
    • Evangelical Christians in the military were caught distributing Bibles to Afghanis [source]
    • All told, there have been over 600,000 civilians dead in Iraq and 80,000 civilians dead in Afghanistan, which have been viewed as little more than modern-day Christian crusades by the predominately Muslim victims [source]

And yet there has been a complete unwillingness to brand what a significant portion of Americans identify with as dangerous or extremist. But for American democracy to thrive as it was envisioned — equitable, just, and secular — the growing force of Christian radicalism must be confronted in American society.

See Also: Why It’s Religious Terrorism, The Last One?, Right-wing hate reacts to murder of Dr. George Tiller, Tiller Assassin’s Believed Some Homicide Justifiable, Some Americans Agree, Napolitano Justified…, We Were Warned, Wichita Is Familiar with the Insane, George Tiller, 1941-2009, Dr. Tiller’s murder: What you can do, Who Killed George Tiller?, Vilifying the victim, Republicans, Operation Rescue in Trouble, Socially conservative sickos, Terror Should Not Pay, If George Tiller doesn’t matter to you, does god?, Parallels and Priorities,
Exiting The Tent, How Should Congress Respond to George Tiller’s Murder?, Did Bill O’Reilly, Operation Rescue encourage violence against Kansas abortion doctor?, The War on The War on Abortion, Bill O’Reilly’s Jihad Against Dr. George Tiller, and Domestic terrorism.

[tags]Christianity, christian extremism, radicalism, Dr. George Tiller, george bush, christian radicalism, christian terrorism, domestic terrorism, american democracy, abortion, terrorism, christian terrorism, militias, right-wing radicalism[/tags]

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