Backstage at the Torture Signing Ceremony

The feds have become super vigilant in tapping our phone calls, tracing our movements, and intruding into our lives over the last 5 years.

Wouldn’t it be great to have hidden microphones around the White House this morning to hear what was said by dignitaries, congressmen, and other sociopaths invited for the signing ceremony of the torture/dictatorship law?

The microphones could capture the gloating  – the gleeful hand rubbing over the coming suffering of Muslim detainees – the macho strutting about their courage in sanctifying barbarism in the name of freedom.  We would likely hear about how the Republicans plan to hype the signing ceremony in the final weeks of the congressional campaign – the ultimate sign of the GOP’s respect for average voters.

If Bush often sounds insipid and mildly deranged when the television cameras are on him, one can only imagine how inspiring he is off the cuff. And many of the congressmen who championed this bill are blackhearted as Cheney himself.

On the other hand, Bush and his supporters have made so many false and bloodthirsty comments already regarding torture and other atrocities of the war on terror.  Perhaps nothing Bush could say at this point would wake Americans from their slumber.

If you hear interesting comments by politicians or others on the signing ceremony today, feel free to post ’em here  as comments….

UPDATE: The White House posted Bush’s signing statement here.

One highlight: Bush promised, “The passage of time will not dull our memory or sap our nerve.”

Who had the bright idea to have Bush mention “dull” and “sap” in his wrapup?


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45 Responses to Backstage at the Torture Signing Ceremony

  1. Marley Greiner October 17, 2006 at 9:20 am #

    “If Bush sounds often sounds insipid and mildly deranged when the television cameras are on him, one can only imagine how inspiring he is off the cuff. And many of the congressmen who championed this bill are blackhearted as Cheney himself.”

    I caught the Q&A session with Tony Blair and Parliament on C-Span on Sunday. I’m certainly not a fan of Blair’s, but it struck me how truly stupid and insipid Bush is listening to Blair field the onslaught. I suppose if confronted by angry Dems (is there such a thing?) Bush would cry treason and ship them off to Gitmo.

    Is Bush on drugs? Does Bush even know what he signed? Well, yes, in the literal sense. Maybe.

    We need a new realty show, The BushCo Life.

  2. kirk hayes October 17, 2006 at 9:33 am #

    Getting together and gloating about the triumph of the barbarians over the civilized tells all we need know about the “leadership” we endure.

    I bet the majority of our “citizens” are absoulutely sure that such things as included in the signing will never, ever be visited upon them.

    Kirk A. Hayes

  3. DrFix October 17, 2006 at 9:35 am #

    Its embarrasing enough just to listen to “G.W. Barnum” and his three ring circus of chaos.

  4. liberranter October 17, 2006 at 10:00 am #

    I seriously doubt most Americans are even aware that this ceremony is taking place. Even if they were, it is doubtful, at best, that it would raise a reaction from them at all.

  5. Jim October 17, 2006 at 10:06 am #

    Kirk – you are probably right. Most Americans probably believe that the US government only mistreats bad guys. As long as they have a “Support the Troops” sticker on their auto, they will be exempt from waterboarding.

    Marley – I have often wondered about Bush’s pharmaceutical regimen. His performance in his first debate with John Kerry in 2004 struck me as a clear case where they got the dosage wrong.

    Libberanter – you are probably right – and this is another de facto victory for Bush.

  6. Jim October 17, 2006 at 10:08 am #

    The White House has posted online Bush’s signing statement from this morning:

  7. lawhobbit October 17, 2006 at 10:27 am #

    Doesn’t that technically make today “Dictator Day,”* not the 29th of September?

    *that’d be “All Hail The Mighty State Day” for those of us not wishing to experience rendition first-hand.

  8. Jim October 17, 2006 at 10:29 am #

    You miss the Big Picture.

    Bush will only use his dictatorial powers to preserve our freedom.

  9. Alpowolf October 17, 2006 at 10:33 am #

    Given what little freedom we have left, it shouldn’t strain his dictatorial powers all that much. He should have plenty left over for dealing with those uppity people in the colonies.

  10. Gary L. Brown October 17, 2006 at 2:01 pm #

    He actually signed his name. I thought NCLB was enacted because he was “left behind”.

  11. thomas derby October 17, 2006 at 2:19 pm #

    we have finaly done what evan 10 years ago would have been unspeakable the country where prisoners of war were treated with respect, that freedom is now gone forever. the one country that did not fall into the abyss of maltreating its foes.does any one think torture solves any thing? it just makes them say what the tourturer wants to hear. as a vet.this is some thing i hate to think what will happen in the years ahead

  12. Julian October 17, 2006 at 2:46 pm #

    I caught that on Channel 4 news here in the UK. It truly is disgusting to actually have a ceremony about this, instead of shamefacedly sneaking it out in the dead of night. I have to hand it to BushCo, every time I think they’ve reached rock bottom, they sink even lower….

  13. John Lowell October 17, 2006 at 2:47 pm #


    Now can I convince you that things are every bit as dark here as they were in National Socialist Germany in the early 1930s?

    John Lowell

  14. Jim October 17, 2006 at 3:40 pm #

    John – I’m not convinced things are as dark as they were in Hitler’s early days – but they are darkening. And if the Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress – Bush will claim vindication for all he has done – and will do.

    Lawyer Scott Horton, who done some great stuff on the detainee & torture issues, has an excellent blog comparing the new Military Commission Act with the Enabling Act that the Reichstag passed to empower Hitler to “make laws” as he pleased.

  15. Jim October 17, 2006 at 3:43 pm #

    Julian – don’t underestimate these folks’ creativity.

    They could go much lower.

  16. Jim October 17, 2006 at 3:45 pm #

    Thomas Derby – it is amazing how American standards have fallen so far so fast. I did not think Congress would roll over so easily on this the issue of torture & de facto military dictatorship.

    Aye, these are difficult times for a natural born optimist like myself.

  17. Mary October 17, 2006 at 4:16 pm #

    We are all peasants now. “We will meet our obligation to protect our peasants…..With the bill I’m about to sign, the peasants our intelligence peasants believe orchestrated the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent peasants will face justice……This bill complies with both the spirit and the letter of our international obligations, By allowing the CIA program to go forward, this bill is preserving a tool that has saved American peasants.

    Thank God for the American Civil Liberties Union….The president can now, with approval of Congress, indefinitely hold peasants without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put peasants on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence peasants to death based on testimony literally beaten out of peasants, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions.

    Bush….the Great Leveler

  18. Mary October 17, 2006 at 4:20 pm #

    What do you call peasant with a vote in America?

    A peasant.

  19. Jim October 17, 2006 at 5:46 pm #

    Mary – at least we have the consolation that Bush cares about us enough to protect us.

    The ACLU has done great work – this is one of their finest hours – or perhaps their finest half decade.

    This Military Commissions Act is much worse than it appears…

  20. Victor Anderson October 17, 2006 at 6:09 pm #

    A midnight no-knock, door down search and seizure injust might.

  21. Adam S. October 17, 2006 at 7:25 pm #

    We can invent all the sophisticated explanations possible, but at the root
    of it, Bush and his friends are ideologues . They have a Manichean concept of the world and will cut down anyone who opposes it. I recommend people read Pat Buchanan’s column on Bush’s ideology or watch Adam Curtis’ documentary “The Power of Nightmares” to see how they view things:

  22. Jim October 17, 2006 at 8:58 pm #

    Adam – I think the problem is not so much the fact that Bush and his minions and enablers are ideologues. I know many folks who are ideologues yet still defer to reality.

    The problem is that Bush & team have embraced an ideology that assumes that the president is entitled to absolute power.

  23. Bob Gonnella October 17, 2006 at 9:47 pm #

    I noticed in the attendee list that a Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah was there. I have recently just read or heard(maybe on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now show) that a new mass detention facility has just been built in Utah, and others are scheduled to be built around this country for “national security emergencies”(which I interpret as that point in time when the masses do in fact say enough is enough and try to reverse this degradation, only to find out that the oligarchs have prepared for this day too). I’ll leave the research to others, but in a case of follow the money, who wants to bet that this facility is in this guy’s district?

  24. charlie ehlen October 17, 2006 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow! W. Gump issued a “signing statement” to his troture bill? Does this mean he may choose to ignore this law also?
    The man is, as Helen Thomas said, the WORST president ever.
    I keep waiting for this most criminal administration to find a way to cancell the upcoming elections, declare martial law, and make Gump our “el presidente” for life. What a bunch of criminals. Even the mafia could never have had such a dream.
    Do we really think they might let the donkey gang “win” the election? One is certain they have some “counter measure” ready just in case. Yes, I AM being a bit paranoid. In these times it is good to be a bit wary of our “dear leader”.
    May the gods belss the “decider” and then send him and his entire criminal gang off to prison where they can make little rocks from big rocks for life. No chance of ever getting any sort of pardon or parole.
    Oh, wait, this new law “exempts” them all from past “crimes”. Well, hell, I CAN still dream. Until Cheney gets the dream police running.
    semper fi,

  25. Tom Blanton October 17, 2006 at 10:11 pm #

    I didn’t actually hear what Cheney said to Gonzalez, but I’m pretty good at reading lips. It’s sort of hard to read Cheney’s lips because his teeth are usually clenched and he tends to snarl rather than speak, but I think he said:

    “Round up that wiseguy Bovard and those assholes that go to his damn blog”

    Gonzalez was talking out both sides of his mouth, but I think he said:

    “Right, boss”

  26. Jim October 17, 2006 at 11:17 pm #

    Charlie – according to my sources, the Dream Police are not scheduled to be operational until February 2008.

  27. Jim October 17, 2006 at 11:20 pm #

    Tom – your eye is keener than mine.

    I never understood how someone could say “asshole” with clenched teeth.

    Maybe you’re right — but I suspect that if they decide to go this route, they will not start with ‘retail’ blogs like mine.

    Instead, they will go after wholesale source blogs like

  28. William H October 18, 2006 at 12:09 am #

    I’m struggling to understand why there is apparently nobody — is there? — in all of Congress who is willing to seek a Writ of Mandamus from the Supreme Court to invalidate the signing statements and compel the Prez to follow the laws as enacted. If not, let’s just drop the veil and declare an end to representative government in the U.S. of A. Seems to me plain as day that these are Separation of Powers violations. Or maybe everyone on Capitol Hill wants this power when it’s *their* Oval Office.

  29. charlie ehlen October 18, 2006 at 12:46 am #

    Mr. Bovard,
    Sir, thanks for the info on the Dream Police. I knew that I could count on you to be up on this sort of thing.
    I would guess that after that date, dreaming will be regulated. Well, I guess I won’t have to worry, I’ll most likely be at Gitmo or some other secret prison run by W. Gump and company. I read that Halliburton had built some of those camps already. Bet they have my bed all set for me.
    Sorry, it is not easy to be un-sarcastic today.
    semper fi,

  30. george October 18, 2006 at 1:34 am #

    I just love this comment from Bush’s signing statement….
    The bill I sign today helps secure this country, and it sends a clear message: This nation is patient and decent and fair, and we will never back down from the threats to our freedom

    when did torture become the ideal and tactics of a nation that is patient and decent and fair?

  31. Mike Helms October 18, 2006 at 1:35 am #

    Another sad day for America — oops, Amerika. Each and every one of these “elected” officials swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. What a farce that I actually once spilled blood to “defend this country.” Turns out it was to defend the bigwigs and their global interests. It’s time to lock and load. Seriously, what this country needs is a good revolution. Any chance of a military coup to restore our vanishing democratic republic?

  32. whig October 18, 2006 at 4:24 am #

    “the gleeful hand rubbing over the coming” something about that phrase just seems kind of too accurate, don’t you think?

  33. whig October 18, 2006 at 4:28 am #

    My statement: We the people.

  34. Wade Kane October 18, 2006 at 5:36 am #

    In part Bush said “We will answer brutal murder with patient justice. Those who kill the innocent will be held to account.” How many innocent Iraqi’s have been killed by bombs dropped by US forces since “Mission Accomplished” It is a violation of the Geneva Conventions to bomb anywhere in an OCCUPIED territory. Some how I don’t see bombing homes as patient justice….Dead 911 American’s bad, Dead Iraqi’s just collateral damage. 17 Oct 06 will be a day of Infamy for me. (Combat Vet Vietnam) Rumsfeld makes McNamara look brilliant. Bush makes Nixon look good.

  35. Jim October 18, 2006 at 8:34 am #

    William H – these are not “separation of powers” violations – this is Congress happily giving the power to the president to make the law and pass judgment on the accused.

    Bush demanded such power, and most of the Republicans were happy to concentrate dictatorial power in the Oval Office.

  36. Jim October 18, 2006 at 8:37 am #

    George – torture became the ideal when the Republican Party needed a campaign issue to rally their base.

    I expect the ad campaigns over the last weeks of the congressional campaign will be as ugly as any ads since 1964.

  37. Jim October 18, 2006 at 8:39 am #

    Mike Helms – bloodshed would be counterproductive. Opportunities remain for peaceful reform.

    There have been many heroes in the US military over the last five years – officers and enlisted men who stood up and refused to carry out illegal or unconstitutional orders (such as the JAGs that opposed Bush’s torture policy).

    But overall – my impression is that the large majority of the military has gone along with whatever Bush commanded.

  38. Jim October 18, 2006 at 8:41 am #

    Wade – I am at least willing to concede that Bush makes Nixon look smart. Heck, Bush makes the first-term Ronald Reagan sound like Aristotle.

    It is a disgrace that so little attention has been paid in this country to the innocent Iraqis killed by US military action.

  39. dzhemi October 18, 2006 at 10:05 am #

    He keeps saying “those whom we believe to be guilty will face justice” (or words to that effect), and it scares me, because I don’t think he means justice like… charges, trials, juries, or any of that quaint stuff–and whatever it is, it’s not those who are *found* guilty who’ll face it, it’s those he *believes* are.
    Doesn’t it mean “suspects will be tried and executed”?

  40. Jim October 18, 2006 at 10:59 am #

    Dzhemi – I did a piece for the Boston Globe back in July on the “Terrorist ‘Batting Average’ – noting that the vast majority of people labeled terrorists or terrorist suspects by the Bush adminstration were found to be not guilty.

    The “justice” in this new law is a travesty. The procedures are an utter sham.

    It is the type of court process that gives kangaroos a bad name.

  41. MarkN October 18, 2006 at 12:43 pm #

    The military could actually save part of the Constitution if officers refused to serve on military tribunals. Sure, that won’t happen; they will always find careerists who will go along with anything.

    But it would be interesting if some officers publicly refused to aid Bush in his War on the Constitution.

  42. Jim October 18, 2006 at 1:28 pm #

    At least one officer who stood up for principle was recently boarhawged badly.
    ‘Hero Of Guantanamo’ Passed Up For Promotion, Sending Chilling Message Through Pentagon
    Lt. Commander Charles Swift, the lawyer who represented Guantanamo detainee Salim Hamdan in the landmark Supreme Court case that ruled President Bush’s military commissions unconstitutional and in violation of international law, will be “passed over for promotion by the Pentagon and must soon leave the military.” In a move that he had predicted, Swift confirmed recently that he had been denied a promotion to Navy commander “about two weeks after” the Supreme Court sided against the White House.

  43. Ed P October 18, 2006 at 10:04 pm #

    There’s something I don’t understand about this. Congress passed this law on September 29, and Bush signed it on October 17. Isn’t that right? That’s an 18 day gap including 3 Sundays.

    According to Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, if a president does not either sign or veto a bill within 10 days (Sundays excepted), “the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be law.”

    Didn’t Congress adjourn immediately after approving the bill? So didn’t Bush miss his deadline for signing by almost a week? What am I missing here? Of course the bill violates most of the Bill of Rights, but doesn’t it even violate these dull, procedural rules from Article One?

  44. Jim October 18, 2006 at 10:16 pm #

    Ed – this delay is not a Bush novelty. If memory serves, Clinton did similar delays in order to maximize the political impact of a signing – and maybe this goes far back to FDR or some other eminent demagogue.

    I’m not sure exactly how they score this – but they may only count days that Congress is in session.

    I certainly would not trust Washington politicians to count to ten honestly and openly.

    And I don’t expect the current Justice Department to be vigilant in policing this aspect of the Constitution…

  45. Stewart Rhodes October 29, 2006 at 3:55 pm #

    Jim said: William H – these are not “separation of powers” violations – this is Congress happily giving the power to the president to make the law and pass judgment on the accused.

    Bush demanded such power, and most of the Republicans were happy to concentrate dictatorial power in the Oval Office.”

    Jim, I am arriving at this comment thread a bit late, but I have to second what you said as being absolutely spot on. The Military Commissions Act is but codification of the neocon Unitary Executive dream, and specifically, codification of the ongoing treason against the Bill of Rights that the executive branch and the judiciary have already engaged in for years, especially with the perverse concept of enemy combatant status whereby even US citizens can be stripped of the Bill of Rights. The left has only opposed all of this on separation of powers grounds, and now Congress has given them what they demanded – legislation.