While I was out being famous…

So, yesterday I was all-but-out of commission thanks to the server move and my own haplessness, but Thursday I was in Brooklyn taping the last two episodes of In the Arena. The show was only slated for ten episodes, but we squeezed out an eleventh; it ended with Lizzie and the priest (Fr. Kieran Harrington) gettin’ loud in a passionate exchange on whether Catholicism is community-focused or deeply interior. Being Irish, we both rather enjoyed that noisy exchange. I’m not sure when that episode will be airing.

I had a good time In the Arena, but as I have neither iPod, nor headset of any kind, nor laptop (I’m not an instrumentation-friendly girl) the treks to the Brooklyn studio did effectively remove me from the news loops on those days, and here are some stories have a need to catch up on, and hopefully one or two of them are news to you!

First off, give me Janet Napolitano’s job. I am not in any way qualified to run Homeland Security, but I’m pretty sure I could handle the job, and the spin, better than she. After making this apology I would actually rescind, re-write and re-leak the DHS report on rightwing extremism, taking some care with language and reassuring 50% of the nation that they really were entitled to their opinions without risk of being labeled potential enemies of the state.

Remember when being a “liberal” meant being “open-minded,” enough to respectfully listen to another point of view and engage it with good will?

Remember when Al “No Media” Gore told the press not to report dissenting opinions related to his big Global Warming/Climate Change Salvation and Sanctuary Traveling Roadshow? Apparently when he rendered his gaseous opinions to Congress yesterday, there were no dissenting testimonies made. In this, the era of transparency. I just put it out there for your consideration.

By the way, the energy-sucking summer concerts are about to begin. Does anyone think we’ll see Al Gore telling Bono and Sheryl Crow -and millions of fans- to stay home and save the planet?

No, I didn’t think so. We’re talking some big bucks, after all.

CNN is wondering if Obama is the “super-president”.
The excesses are really gag-inducing aren’t they? He’s a mere man, and if you ask me, Obama has been a bit foolish in allowing the messianic talk and “greatest president evah” chatter to take hold around him and in the press. When the inevitable tumble comes (one so obvious even the press cannot spin it for him, or ignore it), it’s going to be a fall from a mighty lofty place.

Let us turn now, to Nancy “I knew nothing” Pelosi, who is spinning like mad, trying to convince the nation that she knew nothing, nothing at all, about the Bush Administration’s plan to use waterboarding to coerce information. The Pelosi would have us believe she was “out of the loop,” as Bush 41 famously said.

That can’t be right, though. I thought we knew ‘way back in 2007 that Pelosi was advised about waterboarding in 2002 and went along with it.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

We did know about this in 2007, but the mainstream media did predictably pooh-pooh the story with an “oh, yeah, so what”?

Hmmmm. President Obama had rightly said – before he flip-flopped himself into incoherence – that he was looking ahead and not back, a “so what” to Pelosi’s fore-knowledge might have been acceptable, in 2007, but since the left has decided that they want to play politics with intelligence – purely, I suspect, in service to their toxic (and self-consuming) Bush-hatred – it is now fair game to ask: what did the Democrats know, when did they know it, and why did they not object immediately?

It is also fair game to ask, “how effective or ineffective were our interrogation methods?

One hates to be cynical, but one can’t help but think torture only became morally reprehensible to some of these people once they’d felt safe enough to let it become reprehensible, and once they’d identified the issue as a convenient stick for beating on the Bush administration.

The Obama team famously says they don’t like to waste crisis opportunities. The questions on “enhanced interrogation” with which we’re now wrestling have the potential to create a real crisis within the nation; this is a genuine opportunity for a serious and substantial dialogue on war, humanity, life and security. I actually have an idea on how to begin sounding the depths of so vast a lake, but I’ll write that in a separate post.

While I’m putting that together, though, why not sit back and enjoy Bryn Terfel at the delicious peak of his vocal maturity, with a bit of ham to really sell it: Miei Rampolli Femminini from Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Mmmmwhaaaa! I love!

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    On the “torture” issue, to reiterate what I said previously, this is typical extreme hyperbole and demagoguery from the Dems and MSM over something that does NOT, as a legal matter, constitute “torture.”

    And in addition to what I said yesterday, that one reason they are not going to prosecute is because they cannot get a conviction, i.e., what was done did not violate the statutory definition of torture, but another element of the offense is that the activity be committed “outside the United States,” which is defined to include territories and possessions of the United States. And, as we all know, the Supreme Court has already ruled in the terrorist habeas corpus cases, that Gitmo is, for legal purposes, NOT outside the United States. Hence, the DOJ could not even prove that prerequisite jurisdictional element.

  • http://spreadingolive.blogspot.com Elizabeth Anne

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Waterboarding *is* torture. We have prosecuted and executed people for it for the last 70 years. John McCain, whose torture consisted of what was in those memos – waterboarding and stress positions – says its torture. Those who claim that the fact we use it in SERE training are intentionally overlooking the fact that we train people to undergo it specifically because it’s a commonly used, illegal form of torture. It does, in fact, carry a solid risk of permanent injury or death, especially when repeated. Moreover, the fact that men volunteer for SERE training makes all the difference. To use another analogy, when I asked my doctor to remove my ovary because it was now all tumor, in other words, when I volunteered for the process, it was surgery, and Good. If a madman were to come up to me on the street, stab me in the belly, and take it out by force, that would be a profound evil. What troops in training are subjected to for less than 24 hours,when they *know* they are in friendly hands, is nothing compared to being waterboarded by enemies several times a day for months on end.

    Anchoress, I will also have to respectfully disagree with you as well. An evil is an evil, whether it is effective or not. We might get good information out of torturing the families of suspects (as the memos suggested), but it would not be anything other than a profound evil.

    All that having been said, I agree with you on the main substance of your post: the political cowardice on display here is deeply sickening.

    [Elizabeth Anne, you cannot disagree with me yet; I have not articulated my position yet. Hopefully I will get a chance to do that tomorrow. Then you can decide whether you agree or disagree with me! :-) - admin]