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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Hiding Behind John Yoo

It's official: according to The Miami Herald, Bush has admitted to approving torture:

Bush [said] in an interview with ABC News that he approved of the meetings, which were held as the CIA began to prepare for a secret interrogation program that included waterboarding, or simulated drowning, and other coercive techniques.

"Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to protect the American people" by learning what various detainees knew, Bush said in the interview at his Texas ranch. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

The remarks underscore the extent to which the top officials were directly involved in setting the controversial interrogation policies. Bush suggested in the interview that no one should be surprised that his senior advisors, including Vice President Dick Cheney, would discuss details of the interrogation program. "I told the country we did that," Bush said. "And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it."

Of course, those legal opinions were furnished by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo. The so-called "torture memo", ascribes basically unlimited power to the president when he is "protecting the country". In a nutshell, it says that the president has the power to override any treaty at any time, as he sees fit, and this is what grants him the ability to authorize torture: "Any presidential decision to order interrogations methods that are inconsistent with CAT [the Convention Against Torture] would amount to a suspension or termination of those treaty provisions." (source)

But it's important to remember that even though John Yoo wrote the memo, it's America itself that now will bear the stigma of this unconscionable shift in political stance. Glenn Greenwald writes at Salon.com:

As a country, we have repeatedly endorsed what John Yoo enabled. In addition to abolishing habeas corpus, the 2006 Military Commissions Act (.pdf) "insulated government officials from liability for many of the violations of the War Crimes Act they might have committed during the period prior to 2006," as Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin put it. It also vested vast discretion with the President to determine what constitutes "torture." Nonetheless, it was passed by an overwhelming Congressional majority, with substantial bipartisan support, without even a filibuster being attempted, and with the blessing of alleged "torture opponent" John McCain. It still has not been even partially repealed.
That's right. Thanks to the Oil Cabal, all American citizens are now implicated in the torture regime. But of course almost no one will know about the Yoo memos and what they imply. And of the few who know, most won't care. And of the few who care, most won't say a thing. And of those who say anything, most will point the finger at Yoo himself, painting him as an extremist.

Yoo was merely providing legal camouflage for the criminals running our government. It's sad that we will probably never be able to bring them to justice. We'll fire Donald Rumsfeld and Mike Brown, we'll point the finger at Lynndie England and "Scooter" Libby, but Rove gets his spot on Fox and Halliburton walks away with billions of dollars stolen from the the taxpayers.

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PintPrice

Ever wonder how much a beer is in Malta? in Senegal, perhaps? Wonder no more. PintPrice.com tracks the price of a beer in 140 countries.

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Rick Rolled

So I was just "Rick Rolled" for the first time. If you're not familiar with the term (I wasn't), it means following a link supposedly for one thing and instead being treated to a rendition of Rick Astley's 1987 single, "Never Gonna Give You Up". Yep. That's it. The people that run tha intarwebs are just that funny.

So the del.icio.us hotlist promised "hilarious Muppet bloopers" and instead, delivered this. It all would have been fine except for the fact that Rowlf was playing the piano with the Electric Mayhem instead of Dr. Teeth. And that's just wrong.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.