Yahoo! News – U.S. OKs Evidence Gained Through Torture

Yahoo! News – U.S. OKs Evidence Gained Through Torture

Statements produced under torture have been inadmissible in U.S. courts for about 70 years. But the U.S. military panels reviewing the detention of 550 foreigners as enemy combatants at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are allowed to use such evidence, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle acknowledged at a U.S. District Court hearing Thursday.

OK, let’s be fair. If American military tribunals under Bush’s oversight weren’t allowed to use evidence obtained under torture, they’d have no evidence at all. You don’t want to cripple our nation’s defenders do you?

Like I always say, Bush will go down in history as The Torture President.

Part of a general pattern: Illiberals (known colloquially as “conservatives”) generally think you can solve problems by hurting people. They don’t like laws that keep them from doing so, because when they are unable to hurt people, they don’t know where to begin.

Why Things Are Probably Going to Suck Soon

Two words: Peak Oil. What do Dick Cheney, Michael Moore, George W. Bush, the vice-president of the Iranian National Oil Company, energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, one of George W. Bush’s energy advisors, and many others agree about?

We’re past Peak Oil. Starting in the next few years oil prices will skyrocket and a lot of things which depend on cheap oil (like the U.S. economy) are going to break irrevocably.

With regards to oil, we’re a lot like a lottery winner who didn’t invest a dime, and is just burning through his cash, buying more and more, and then it starts to get scarce, and he just tries not to think about it… Until it all falls down. If he’d invested in something outside of his lottery stash, he could have been set up for life, but it was easier to just spend the ready cash. (I speak as someone who would unfortunately probably behave this way if he won the lottery.)

What if the fall of civilization that the older ones among us expected to happen because of nuclear war happened anyway cause we didn’t plan for what happened when the oil was gone?

I’ll tell you, I’d sure suck at eking out a living in a desperately impoverished post-industrial Dark Age.

Post-Election Mosh

Huh. There’s a post-election-theft, I mean post-election version of Eminem’s “Mosh” video. (grab the torrent here if you can.)

I like it but the original video was about voting as a revolutionary power, and it’s clear that with enough chicanery from corrupt Republicans in positions of power (that’s almost redundant these days), you can vote all you want; they’ll just throw votes away or modify vote totals until they get their 51% “mandate.” And the news media won’t dare cover the story seriously.

I guess the new video is kind of about not backing down even in the face of a victory by the bastards. But it just seems these days that there is no hope. They’ve got the power, they’re going to keep the power by any means necessary.

I wish things were like they are in the original video. I wish we had a system where you could actually vote a killer and torturer out of office, where the exploited could rise up and kick out the exploiters.

But things aren’t like that, apparently. We live in the Republican States of America. And are likely to for the foreseeable future.

Hope, and belief in the power of actual democracy in America, are so pre-November 2.


Actually, to put things a little less bleakly — the little people rising up and fighting the big bad guys is still fighting — and fighting is essentially illiberal. The people who are all about the fighting and killing and getting their way with violence are the conservatives, the Bushies, the Republicans. They believe that you can solve problems by hurting people. This video advocates demonstration, not violence, but it does its best to dress it up in a mood of righteous combat. And there’s the problem. Fighting, force, is never going to be on the side of liberalism, because getting your way by force is essentially illiberal — conservative. You can’t win by playing their game on their field. You just can’t.

Separation of Church and State isn’t good enough…

…if there is no separation of State and Media.

Philocrites points out that both NBC and CBS have refused to run an ad for the United Churches of Christ in which they state that, like Jesus, they welcome everyone, regardless of such matters as race, class, and sexual orientation. File under “so-called liberal media.”

CLEVELAND — The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed “too controversial.”

The ad, part of the denomination’s new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that — like Jesus — the United Church of Christ seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples — among other minority constituencies — and is, therefore, too “controversial.”

“Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations,” reads an explanation from CBS, “and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.”

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot “too controversial.”

“It’s ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,” says the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president. “What’s going on here?”

Negotiations between network officials and the church’s representatives broke down today (Nov. 30), on the day before the ad campaign was set to begin airing nationwide on a combination of broadcast and cable networks. The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land, among others.

The debut 30-second commercial features two muscle-bound “bouncers” standing guard outside a symbolic, picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ’s commitment to Jesus’ extravagant welcome: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” (The ad can be viewed online at

In focus groups and test market research conducted before the campaign’s national rollout, the UCC found that many people throughout the country feel alienated by churches. The television ad is geared toward those persons who, for whatever reason, have not felt welcomed or comfortable in a church.

“We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church’s loving welcome of committed gay couples, that’s where they draw the line,” says the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC’s communication ministry.

CBS and NBC’s refusal to air the ad “recalls the censorship of the 1950s and 1960s, when television station WLBT in Jackson, Miss., refused to show people of color on TV,” says Ron Buford, coordinator for the United Church of Christ identity campaign. Buford, of African-American heritage, says, “In the 1960s, the issue was the mixing of the races. Today, the issue appears to be sexual orientation. In both cases, it’s about exclusion.”

In 1959, the Rev. Everett C. Parker organized United Church of Christ members to monitor the racist practices of WLBT. Like many southern television stations at the time, WLBT had imposed a news blackout on the growing civil rights movement, pulling the plug on then-attorney Thurgood Marshall. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. implored the UCC to get involved in the media civil rights issues. Parker, founding director of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, organized churches and won in federal court a ruling that the airwaves are public, not private property. That decision ultimately led to an increase in the number of persons of color in television studios and newsrooms. The suit clearly established that television and radio stations, as keepers of the public airwaves, must broadcast in the public interest.

“The consolidation of TV network ownership into the hands of a few executives today puts freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression in jeopardy,” says former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, currently managing director of the UCC’s Office of Communication. “By refusing to air the United Church of Christ’s paid commercial, CBS and NBC are stifling religious expression. They are denying the communities they serve a suitable access to differing ideas and expressions.”

Adds Andrew Schwartzman, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Media Access Project in Washington, D.C., “This is an abuse of the broadcasters’ duty to inform their viewers on issues of importance to the community. After all, these stations don’t mind carrying shocking, attention-getting programming, because they do that every night.”

The United Church of Christ’s national offices — located in Cleveland — speak to, but not for, its nearly 6,000 congregations and 1.3 million members. In the spirit of the denomination’s rich tradition, UCC congregations remain autonomous, but also strongly in covenant with each other and with the denomination’s regional and national bodies.