Pick Wayne's Brain

February 7, 2016

Trump the Lawless

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 9:53 PM

Over the weekend, Donald J. Trump, the billionaire racist real estate developer son of a millionaire racist real estate developer, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he would bring back waterboarding (and “worse” techniques). When it was explained to the authoritarian favorite that waterboarding and many other forms of torture are illegal under both US and international law and treaty, Trump demonstrated his complete lack of comprehension of the law, how it works, how national security works, and why subjects are classified at all, by saying he would bring it back by “declassifying” it.

Sorry, Donald, but whether or not the use of waterboarding is classified has nothing whatsoever to do with its legality. In fact, classifying its use would violate several additional laws besides the ones barring its use in the first place. It is illegal to classify something just to keep it hidden from the public, or because it was illegal at the time. For those who never served or never learned the distinction, information is classified (or not) based on (more…)

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January 30, 2010

An Unjust Finding

According to a report by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, the two principle Bush Administration Justice Department lawyers responsible for creating the so-called “torture memos” will not be given as severe a reprimand as they deserve.

Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

If this stands up (more…)

May 17, 2009

It’s the Torture, Stupid

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 9:24 AM

Who cares what Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it? That isn’t the point. The point is what it is that she is accused of knowing – That the Bush Administration, in violation of both US Law and International Treaty, tortured people. (more…)

April 24, 2009

Tortured Thoughts

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Jane E. Schneider @ 6:09 PM

While watching Countdown tonight, something struck me.   Absorbing all of the new information regarding the torture memos;  reading the unambiguous objections of several JAGs against the torture techniques; hearing Richard Wolffe’s eloquent words – all against the background of the lies, lies, and more lies from the Bush Administration now being contradicted by the flood of information which has come out over the last few days – I finally was hit by the full and terrible realization that our country, my country, which I love for so many reasons, had died.

As I began to weep, varied images and thoughts jostled in my mind: (more…)

We Lock Up Governors, Why Not Presidents?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 5:44 PM

“…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,”

The United States Constitution, Article II, Section 3

I’ll be perfectly honest with you. I don’t know what to say. I was watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and I remember growing numb as I listened to what I was hearing. I’m still kind of numb, even as Rachel Maddow interviews Rep Adam Schiff about what we learned today, and I don’t know how to admit it, but I can’t quite remember exactly what it was that they say our former president, George W. Bush, the man who stood before the American people and said, “We do not torture!”, authorized be done in my name, in your name, in all our names, to the people we captured after September 11. I remember this: It was torture. And we did it.

I’m not going to tell you that I stood by our president the whole time and said, “Well, if he says we aren’t torturing anybody, then I take him at his word.” I’m not stupid. I’m not insane (by certain definitions). I’m not naive. At the time he stood before us and said those words, those four words far more nefarious than the sixteen words, I knew what kind of person was telling me that. A pathological liar. A sadistic man-boy. A spoiled child who was given everything he had in life, including his millions of dollars, and never once understood the concept of responsibility. A man who didn’t know how to admit a mistake, even when it was obvious to people less intelligent than he. A man who could not make the mental connection between the the things that he did and the events that resulted from them. Or between cause and effect in general. His mind simply does not operate from a factual basis. He makes decisions based on things that he believes, not necessarily things that are actually, provably, demonstrably, inconclusively true. He knows that torture is not legal. But he was told that what we were doing was not considered torture. And he believed that. So it was, as far as he was concerned, if he had any concern at all about the subject, true. And so he told us, “We do not torture.” Except that it was. And it was done in our name. It was torture. And we did it.

No, I knew immediately that when George W. Bush uttered the words, “We do not torture,” that we were, possibly at that very minute for all we knew, torturing people. (more…)

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