Rumsfeld okayed Abu Graib abuses

Reuters reported on Saturday that outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorised the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison’s former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain’s El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods. “The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is accomplished”,” she told Saturday’s El Pais.

Gotta Love Michael

If you tried logging on to Turning Left yesterday, you may have seen a bunch of code, PHP and otherwise, errors all over the place.? Our host was migrating the database server, physically moving it from one room to another, and that caused some problems until everything was restored.

So, I apologize for the inconvenience, and welcome you back to Turning Left.

I took some time off after the election from Turning Left. A friend sent me the following from Michael Moore. I’m printing it in its entirety. Michael says to distribute it freely.

Here it is:

A Liberal’s Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives …by Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week’s election. You’re worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don’t want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power — and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.

Thus, here is our Liberal’s Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you “unpatriotic” simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be “different” or “immoral.” Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love — it’s a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren’s money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It’s your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we’ll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren’t much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you — and your employees — that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don’t put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs (“Blessed are the poor,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” “Love your enemies,” “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” and “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn’t just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism — starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans — and for the rest of the world.

Signed,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
(Click here to sign the pledge)
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Now what!

We have the House. We have the Senate, although by a very narrow margin. Where do we go from here? Listening to progressive radio this week, I heard many callers who assumed that the first order of business would be impeachment, although Speaker-to-be Pelosi has said it’s off the table. The assumption is that she lied just as the administration has lied about so many things. Yech! If we don’t take the high ground now we’re as bad as the neocons. Pelosi has enumerated priorities. These are issues that should have been addressed in the last six years. We have two years to make some progress. If we waste this time on revenge we will be behaving like bratty kids. We have the upper hand, but we can count on it for a very limited time,? a circumstance? the Republicans? ignored to their peril. Plus, and this is very important, Bush is impeached; we get Cheney. We try to impeach both; we pretty much waste the whole of the two years we have. Do they deserve impeachment? I think so! Do we deserve the results of an impeachment attempt? No way! Maybe we could try it if we could count on having the six years they had, but we can’t count on more than two. We had better make the most of them.

?

Dobson Sounding Haggard

Dr. James DobsonMega-Christian James Dobson, one of the saved, said this week that he ‘doesn’t have time’ to be on the panel of Christian experts involved in working to restore disgraced preacher Ted Haggard. Dobson is the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family. Dobson said in a prepared statement:

“It is with great regret – and after much prayer and discussion with friends and family – that I have had to reconsider my involvement in the panel overseeing Ted’s restoration. Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help, but the reality is I don’t have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility. Ted and his family will be better served by someone whose energies and attention are not tugged on in quite so many directions.”All of us at Focus on the Family will continue to pray for Ted and Gayle and their children. I certainly hope to speak with him – friend to friend – as he moves forward. And I believe if he and his loved ones follow the counsel of Godly mentors and cooperate with the therapeutic process, their best days are ahead.”

The team plans to get Haggard into a program with psychologists and church experts on sexual issues.

Well, that should be fun.

Dobson’s too busy fuming about the elections this week. Quoth he:

“Laura Ingraham said it best. When Congressional Republicans wait until the First of October to begin reaching out to their base, they are destined to lose. That was the GOP’s downfall. They consistently ignored the constituency that put them in power until it was late in the game, and then frantically tried to catch up at the last minute. In 2004, conservative voters handed them a 10-seat majority in the Senate and a 29-seat edge in the House. And what did they do with their power? Very little that Values Voters care about.

“Many of my colleagues saw this coming. I said in an interview with U.S. News and World Report shortly after the 2004 elections, “If Republicans in the White House and in Congress squander this opportunity, I believe they will pay a price for it in four years—or maybe in two.” Sadly for conservatives, that in large measure explains what happened on Tuesday night. Many of the Values Voters of ’04 simply stayed at home this year.

Must be tough to be so right all the time.

Hastert Set to Resign from Congress?

House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Rumor has it from some very well-placed sources in the 14th district in Illinois that House Speaker Dennis Hastert plans to resign from the United States Congress soon. If he does so within the next 9 months, a special primary will be held, and the Democrats will have another chance to take the district.

John Laesch has already been told that he will not be the man.

And the Associated Press reports that Democrats now have complete control of the United States Congress. Webb has won in Virginia.

The sun also rises.

Donkey in the sun

Rumsfeld resigns – Getting out of Dodge?

Donald Rumsfeld

CNN reports that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon, Republican officials said Wednesday. President Bush is expected to make an announcement later on today.

Would the Republicans have lost Congress if Rummy had resigned last week?? Or last month?? Or last year?? Was it really worth it for the president and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove to keep him around so long?

Is Rumsfeld “getting out of Dodge” because of all of the investigations to come in a Democratic-controlled House, and possibly Senate? Does the president have plans for a presidential pardon for Rummy in two years or sooner?

There are three things that happened yesterday:

1. The nation spoke. Well, the nation actually roared its disapproval of the president’s policies.
2. The Democrats won, fair and square.
3. And the Republicans lost miserably, all by themselves, on every front. The Republicans lost on the foreign affiars front. The Republicans lost on the moral front. The Republicans lost on the domestic front.

And the sun rises.

Cheney Defiant

Dick CheneyIn an appearance this morning on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Vice-President Dick Cheney was quick to mention 9/11, the War on Terror, and gave strong indication of how he would relate to a Democratic-controlled Congress. If served a subpoena, he would refuse to comply.

Cheney said the administration is moving “full speed ahead” with its policy on the war in Iraq.

“We’ve got the basic strategy right,” Cheney told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that was broadcast Sunday on “This Week.”

ABC News reports on the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which shows 57 percent of Americans said that the war was not worth fighting. The poll also showed President Bush’s job approval rating dropped to 37 percent, the second-lowest mark of his presidency.

Cheney said that even with most pollsters predicting that Democrats would gain seats in both houses of Congress, voter sentiment would not influence Bush’s Iraq policy.

“It may not be popular with the public — it doesn’t matter in the sense that we have to continue the mission and do what we think is right. And that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Cheney said. “We’re not running for office. We’re doing what we think is right.”

Dick Cheney: staying the course.