Effectiveness aside, torture wouldn’t be morally justified even if it worked

John McCain stood tall Wednesday, telling the Senate, America, and the world in no uncertain terms that the use of waterboarding did nothing to help us get bin Laden.

“So far I know of no information that was obtained, that would have been useful, by ‘advanced interrogation.’ In fact, according to published reports … some of the key people who knew about this courier denied it,” McCain said, careful to note that he was not relaying information from Panetta’s classified session with Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee members.

“Where there is published information in the various newspapers and media that the information about this courier was intercepted conversation between two individuals — that’s as far as I know,” the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee added. “I stand on the side of the United States and by the Geneva conventions, of which we are signatories, which we were in violation of by waterboarding.”

Bushies still vehemently disagree.

“I’m proud that we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists and gave us valuable information.” So said Karl Rove to the BBC, while promoting his new book. “Yes, I’m proud that we kept the world safer than it was, by the use of these techniques. They’re appropriate, they’re in conformity with our international requirements and with U.S. law.”

Last word goes to Adam Serwer, from an op-ed piece he wrote for The Plum Line:

Effectiveness aside, torture wouldn’t be morally justified even if it worked.

Obama 2012

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And the Rich Get Fatter, Licking Their Greasy Lips as the Price of Gas Goes Up Again

CEO’s of the top five oil conglomerates came to Washington today. Their mission: Talk down Senate Democrats, who want to take away their tax subsidies:

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the author of a bill that would repeal the tax breaks for the companies testifying Thursday, demanded an apology from ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva for a press release from the company that said in the headline that the tax cut proposals were “un-American.”

Mulva declined.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, referred to a large portrait of a dog sitting on a pony to illustrate his thoughts of the proceedings. “All this hearing is about is providing a justification for tax increases,” Hatch said. “For the president and some of my colleagues,” he said, “the answer is always raise taxes. Government spends too much? Raise some taxes. Health care too expensive? Raise some taxes. Gas prices too expensive? I’ve got it . . . Let’s raise some taxes.”

Of course, President Obama actually lowered taxes.

“The issue is who shares” the burden of economic recovery, said Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Democrats believe in shared sacrifice, Republicans refuse to even look at the revenue side of the ledger.

As to the five richest oil companies in the world:

“My guess is you will be able to protect yourselves. …You’re used to prevailing,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Oil companies, he added, are “deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing.”

Please remember, these subsidies are paid for with your tax-payer dollars.

Obama 2012 

A Blast From the Past

Remember the good old days when Bush was in the White House and all was right with the world? How do you think Republicans would have handled a problem like having to raise the debt ceiling? Well, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and others did just that – and more than once. This is how it went down in 2004:

Treasury Department officials announced that they will be able to conduct a scheduled series of debt auctions next week to raise $51 billion. However, an auction of four-week Treasury bills due to be completed on Nov. 18 will have to be postponed unless Congress acts before then to raise the debt ceiling.

“Due to debt limit constraints, we currently do not have the capacity to settle our four-week bill auction scheduled to settle on Nov. 18,” Timothy Bitsberger, acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets, said in a statement.

Congress is scheduled to return for a lame-duck session beginning on Nov. 16 to deal with the debt ceiling, an omnibus spending plan for the rest of this budget year and other matters.

The Republican-controlled Congress put off dealing with the debt ceiling before adjourning in October, preferring not to force members to vote on the politically sensitive issue of adding to the national debt before the November elections.

The government hit the current debt ceiling of $7.384 trillion on Oct. 14, forcing Treasury to begin a series of bookkeeping maneuvers to keep financing the government’s normal operations without breaching the debt ceiling. But Treasury Secretary John Snow has warned that those special measures would last only until mid-November.

The Treasury Department’s actions have included reducing the amount of debt in government trust funds to free up room for further borrowing from the public. The nonpublic debt is then replaced in the trust funds once the debt ceiling is increased along with any lost interest payments.

Republicans have proposed that the debt ceiling be raised by $690 billion to $8.074 trillion, an amount that would get the government through next September, when the 2005 budget year ends.

The need to raise the debt ceiling reflects the record budget deficits of the past two years. The deficit for the 2004 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, was an all-time high of $413 billion, surpassing the old mark, in dollar terms, of $377 billion in 2003.

Democrats blame the surging deficits on Bush’s tax cuts, while the administration contends the tax cuts provided critical economic stimulus to help lift the economy out of the 2001 recession.

The administration says the president has a plan to cut the deficit in half by 2009, but critics contend that the real problems will come in later years as retiring baby boomers put unprecedented strains on Social Security and Medicare.

Damn, sounds like freakin’ Nostradamus…

Obama 2012