Eric Holder Didn't Know Torture Is A Specific Intent Crime

Andrew McCarthy at NRO has an excellent article explaining that federal prosecutions of Bush administration interrogators are well nigh impossible. He discusses the issue at length with Hugh Hewitt, and Hugh also discusses the issue with Congressman Dan Lungren, who apparently knows a lot more about the relevant torture statutes than our present Attorney General.

Lungren dismantled Attorney General Eric Holder last Thursday by schooling him on the standards required for proving a case of torture. Torture as a federal crime is a specific intent offense, as opposed to a general intent offense. That is, to convict a defendant the prosecution must prove that the defendant must have "the motive or purpose" to commit torture. This is why training our troops on how to resist interrogation by waterboarding them is not a crime: the intent is to train the troops, not torture them.

Eric Holder, incredibly, didn't know this. In his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday, he described torture as a general intent offense when it is not. Why didn't Holder bother to do his homework on this extremely important issue? Or did Holder just think he could slip one past Congress?

Hopefully it is the former, because now that Holder knows what the standard is, he knows that the DOJ will never, ever, win a case for torture. Unless the defendants really did intend to torture for torture's sake ( like the Japanese war criminals from World War II who were convicted for waterboarding) no jury will convict. So forget about prosecutions for torture, they ain't gonna happen. If it is the latter, the smackdown he received should be enough to ensure he doesn't try that again.

Obama punted on this issue when he deferred to his AG on the issue of what to do about Bush era officials engaged in or advocating the legality of torture. Now that his AG has been forced to actually understand the damn statute, we can presume that this issue is dead.

If not, bring it on. It is a sure loser for the Dems.

NY Dem: Caroline Kennedy No More Qualified Than J.Lo To Be Senator

. . . so says New York state Rep. Gary Ackerman of Queens. Several Kennedys, including Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., have been lobbying Gov. Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton with Caroline Kennedy. Paterson doesn't like it. Neither does Ackerman:

"I don't know what Caroline Kennedy's qualifications are."

"Except that she has name recognition, but so does J.Lo," Ackerman continued on Steve Malzberg's radio show on WOR. "I wouldn't make J.Lo the senator unless she proved she had great qualifications, but we haven't seen them yet."

Is he kidding? She's been on the cover of People Magazine! Just like Barack Obama. Hell, that made him fit to be president, so why not? We are talking Democrat standards here, not common sense standards.

Froma Harrop is having none of it either, declaring that A Senate Seat Is Not a Kennedy Heirloom:

Women's groups have been eager to see Clinton replaced by another female. The Feminist Majority and the National Organization for Women had already endorsed Carolyn Maloney, a congresswoman who has represented parts of Manhattan and Queens for 15 years.

But if Caroline Kennedy wants the job, all bets are off, according to Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. "You're talking to someone who thinks Ted Kennedy is the most effective senator there," Smeal actually told The New York Times.

Here you have it. Without a second thought, feminists talk of throwing a seasoned, self-made professional overboard to make room for a Kennedy princess.

Uncle Ted has been reminding Democrats that Caroline would be backed by -- as the Times straightforwardly put it -- "the Kennedy family's extensive fundraising network." That's nice, but this is New York state, where electing a Democrat requires no miracle.

At least the senate seat isn't being auctioned off like an heirloom.

What Liberals Really Believe (But Dare Not Campaign On)

. . . at least according to the staff at Slate, which includes one supposed 'conservative'. These staffers hope that, once Obama is elected, the Dems will no longer have to hide their true views. Here is a selection of what Dems hope they can say out loud once the Messiah is properly annointed (the italics are not mine):

I think Karl Marx had some valuable insights into capitalist economies!

I don't support the troops. I support some troops, depending on whether or not they've committed war crimes!

Saving the boulder darter was worth a few thousand jobs!

Let's teach evolution in Sunday school!

The military-industrial complex is a greater menace than most foreign nations!

If Israel isn't out of the occupied territories in six months, we'll cut off all aid.

Higher gas prices are good because they make everybody bike and take public transit like they should!

America isn't the greatest nation in the world. We think it is only because it's our country. Duh!

America's official languages should be English and Spanish!

Big-city values are better than small-town values!

We're undertaxed. Look at Europe!

Let's bring back the era of big government.

The problem with public schools is private schools!

You can see why so many liberals and Democrats keep these views to themselves.

P.S. Isn't it an embarassing contrast to the Republicans, who proudly and openly assert their values because they know the majority of America shares them? Who proudly call themselves 'conservative' instead of hiding behind some label or euphemism (progressive, independent, etc.)?

Who don't pretend to be something they are not?

Barack Obama: Secret Enemy Of The Second Amendment

The key to Obama's success thus far is a campaign of obfuscation on the issues. He knew that he need only drop off a press release on any given topic with the MSM, and they would dutifully report it as 'fact' and neglect to investigate his actual voting record and prior statements. Even Obama himself must be impressed with the success this tactic has had.

Just as his friendships with terrorists, black racists and crooks go largely unreported, so too his views on abortion, his huge windfall contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his long string of failures as a 'community activist' never see the light of day.

When it comes to what Barack Obama really believes, however, no topic is more obscure than the Second Amendment. He claims he supports the Second Amendment, as he must in order to remain viable as a candidate. As with so many other issues however, with Obama these are merely words, crafted to tell his audience exactly what it wants to hear. His deeds tell another story. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Heller case regarding the District of Columbia handgun ban, Obama said "there is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation.” But when 55 senators signed a brief arguing that the handgun ban was unconstitutional, Obama was not one of them. By his action, Obama showed where he really stood on the issue.

If you dig a little bit into his past, Obama actions left a paper trail and a history of hostility to the Second Amendment that reveals just how deep his loathing of guns, and his loathing of those who bitterly cling to them, really is. In 1998, Obama filled out a 'political courage test' by Project Vote Smart, and his answers speak for themselves:

David T. Hardy tells us that Obama was chairman of the Joyce Foundation, which funds a veritable empire of anti-gun propaganda. Under Obama's watch, the Joyce Foundation strongarmed the Chicago-Kent Law Review into publishing a 'symposium' that only included anti-gun articles. Those articles, unfortunately, found their way into federal anti-gun case law. The breadth and depth of the Joyce Foundation anti-gun propaganda mill is rather astonishing; click here to see a 'mind map' of the organization's beneficiaries.

The big issue here is not guns; it is obvious that Obama is an über-liberal and of course he wants to limit gun rights as much as possible. That is just leftist orthodoxy, and there is nothing in Obama's record that shows he is any kind of iconoclast when it comes to breaking with liberal views. The issue here is how a candidate for president can go completely unvetted on the Second Amendment by a press that lays down and refuses to do its job. That is not press dysfunction; it is wilfull and deliberate.

Unfit For Office!!1!!1! McCain Can't Tie His Shoes

A few more thoughts about what Rob and Proof have said earlier about Obama's new ad going after McCain for not using email.

FDR won WWII without AOL.

Reagan didn't use email . . . are you saying Reagan sucked, you pinko ratfink loser?

McCain is absolutely fair game. He has taken the low road against Obama (which, frankly, I am all for and hope he is saving the best for last) so McCain is open to taunts that he is old, that he is rich and out-of-touch, the consumate Washington insider, who chooses an alaskan amazon to be his veep.

But isn't it a bit of a low blow to say we should laugh at the guy because he can't use his hands very well? Because they were CRUSHED BY HIS COMMIE TORTURERS no less?

Is this a fruitful tack for the Obamanids to take? Will it play at the VFW?

Barack Obama should leave the Isotoners on - he just isn't good at playing the bully (he doesn't have a knack for it, to his credit) and he doesn't do his research: the claim by McCain that he can't use email because his captors ruined his hands isn't just some ad hoc campaign response. From 2004:

McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes.

Update: Ouch - "I think they spent months trying to figure out how they can position Obama as better qualified than McCain, and basically came up with the fact that Obama can type."

Update: Double Ouch - "In a similar vein I guess it’s an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Patterson doesn’t know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important. How dare he serve as governor while being ignorant of what it’s like to navigate New York’s highways."

Update: Doh! - “In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.”

Kim Jong-Il Really Is Ill: Plus, The Norks Have A Nifty New Missile Base

When Kim Jong-Il failed to appear for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, it gave impetus to the rumors that he was ill.

Now, the North Koreans have confirmed that Kim had a stroke. He probably underwent surgery.

That same news article quoted a Nork diplomat employing the usual communist veracity as saying that reports about Kim are

"worthless" and a "conspiracy plot," adding that Western media "have reported falsehoods before"

meaning of course that everything the West has reported thus far is most likely true and that Kim's condition is far more serious than they are letting on.

This comes on the heels of a serious debate about whether Kim Jong-Il is actually alive at all. Toshimitsu Shigemura of Waseda University in Japan has posited that Kim died in 2003, and that body doubles have taken his place ever since. This would sound like a ridiculous theory about anyone else; but we are talking here about North Korea, a hermit kingdom of potemkin villages, paranoia and intense secrecy.

Meanwhile, more good news:

WASHINGTON - North Korea has quietly built a long-range missile base that is larger and more capable than an older and well-known launch pad for intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to independent analysts relying on new satellite images of the site and other data. Analysts provided images of the previously secret site to The Associated Press.

Construction on the site on North Korea's west coast began at least eight years ago, according to Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., senior analyst with Jane's Information Group, and Tim Brown with, a private satellite imagery analysis company. Bermudez first located the site in early spring and they have tracked its construction using commercial and unclassified satellite imagery.

"The primary purpose of the facility is to test," Bermudez told The Associated Press in an interview last week. A base capable of a long-range test could obviously be used in wartime to launch a missile that carried a warhead.

Obama And 'Punitive Liberalism' Explained

This article by Roger Kimball is a must-read, must-link and must-forward piece.

Kimball outlines the horrible guilt liberals feel when anyone succeeds, and their weird zero-sum attitude that any such success must have come at someone else's expense. There is no math or science to it, it is simply emotional vapors. It leads to anti-rationality: for example, the idea that taxes should be raised simply to punish the rich and successful, even if it generates less revenue for government. It is an appeal to emotion and base envy, is anything but 'fair', and actually works at cross-purposes with the public good. Not surprisingly Obama believes in it wholeheartedly:

ABC’s Charlie Gibson . . . observed that raising taxes led to decreased revenues: “Well, Charlie,” Obama replied, “what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

That is liberal economics in a nutshell: put shackles on the wealthy simply so the rest of us don't feel so bad.

Musharraf Steps Down . . . What About The Nukes?

Sure, we're supposed to put our trust in democracy. One wonders, however, whether this is really a step towards democracy, or anarchy, or worse. Suffering from a death by a thousand cuts, threats of impeachment were the last straw for Musharraf:

"They want to impeach me now. Why do they want to do it?" a downcast Musharraf said in a televised address in which he denied any wrongdoing. "Do they want to cover their failure?"
As for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, see if this makes you feel more safe, or less safe:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pervez Musharraf's departure from the presidency is unlikely to have a significant impact on how Pakistan's nuclear weapons are controlled. Experts say a 10-member committee, and not just the president, makes decisions on how to use them and only a complete meltdown in governance — still a distant prospect in Pakistan — could put the atomic bomb in the hands of extremists. "Pakistan's nuclear assets are not one man's property," said Maria Sultan, a defense analyst and director at the London-based South Asian Strategic Stability Institute. "Any (political) transition in Pakistan will have no effect on Pakistan's nuclear assets because it has a very strong custodial control." The committee, known as the National Command Authority, is served by a military-dominated organization with thousands of security forces and intelligence agents whose personnel are closely screened. The nuclear facilities are tightly guarded.
I have a bad feeling about this. We are going to miss Musharraf, sooner rather than later.

Devlin The Magician

Heh, I actually know this guy in real life. He is available for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, and natural disasters.

Oh, there's more:

What can I say? I am as perplexed as you are. BTW, some of the comments on the YouTube pages are hilarious.

Thursday Night Babe

Behold Olympian Alicia Sacramone:

Yeah, she has been blamed a bit for some of the american gynmast team woes . . . but she probably has another career ahead of her in case this gymnast thing doesn't work out. She has been signed up to be a CoverGirl spokesmodel.

Or, she could go into boxing:

Are You Kidding Me? Julia Child Was An OSS Spy

I wonder if she snapped any necks with those man-hands of hers.

We might learn more today:

The full secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives.

Some of the other operatives named were already well-known to have worked for U.S. intelligence, such as Kermit Roosevelt, Moe Berg and Miles Copeland.

The list also includes Sterling Hayden. Heh, how could a guy like that not have worked for the OSS? No big surprise there.

But Julia Child . . . ? My esteem for her has gone up immensely. If this doesn't turn out to be some kind of prank, that is.

P.S. For me, this was like learning that Ray Rayner helped plan The Great Escape. Will wonders never cease?

Obama Is Partisan, Not Bipartisan

To Democrats, being 'bipartisan' means Republicans caving in to their demands.

So in a sense, Barack Obama can be forgiven for claiming he will 'bring people together' in some sort of post-partisan paradise - after all, he does not really understand what 'bipartisan' is supposed to mean in an objective, non-Dem fashion. Nor does bipartisan mean merely joining in sponsoring or voting for legislation along with Republicans. All senators do this. No bill can pass without help from both parties.

There is scant evidence that Obama really understands what significant bipartisan-ism is, as Joe Lieberman (who knows a thing or two about this) explains:

"If there's one public official who has consistently put his country ahead of his party, working across party lines to get things done in Washington, it is John McCain," Lieberman said in an interview with ABC News. "It's not Barack Obama, with all respect."

Lieberman scoffed at the formation today of Republicans for Obama by former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach and former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee, saying it was McCain who had spent a career working with people on both sides -- often at some cost within his own party.

"Sen. Obama has no record that I can see of taking on positions that are held by a lot of people within his own party," Lieberman said. "John McCain does that all the time. It's part of the reason it took some while for a lot of Republicans to come to his side. Sen. McCain has worked across party lines on the big issues of our time because he knows, he has no patience for partisan politics and all those games."

Now we can argue whether McCain's bipartisanship is a good thing, or a bad thing. Personally, McCain seems to be all too eager to woo the press and win political plaudits by caving to and even sponsoring Democrats' pet issues. It makes one wonder what his core values even are.

But to those in the mushy middle who think bipartisanship is the be all and end all of political aspirations, McCain can claim something Obama cannot: he actually is bipartisan.

For better or worse, that is what the record shows.

Well Whaddya Know: The Edwards Affair Now Has Its Own Wikipedia Entry

When the dam bursts, it really goes.

You may recall that Wikipedia invoked its 'protect Democrats at all costs' policy by refusing to post rumors about the Edwards affair that would have appeared instantly had it been Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove in trouble instead. The Enquirer is solidly reliable only when it reports on Republicans, it seems.

It is a rather lengthy article on the whole sordid affair, and Mickey Kaus gets his due for doing the job the MSM refused to handle.

Kaus is oddly MIA from however. I hope he and Bob Wright haven't had some kind of falling out over this.

My guess is that Kaus is taking his victory lap in Beijing, so it might be a while before he diavlogs again.