Ted Kennedy and Michael Vick

mary_jo_kopechne_31Bob T. just sent me an article by Mark Steyn about how news people are airbrushing the Chappaquiddick incident out of the national consciousness. Overall I think Stein’s point is pretty lame: when Ronald Reagan died, not a lot of people made note of the fact that he started his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS (where Civil Rights workers had been murdered in 1964), that he once called Jefferson Davis a hero, or that he was a big supporter of pro-apartheid South Africa. As a public figure, these things were certainly fair game, but to bring them up would have been in poor taste during his funeral. Furthermore, Steyn is just flat wrong. It doesn’t get much more mainstream than ABC News, and here is a pretty comprehensive piece they did on Kopechne shortly after Kennedy died.

Ted Kennedy made a series of horrific decisions 40 years ago, and I certainly think that plenty of people have every right to not forgive him for it. It will always be a part of his legacy, regardless of what Steyn believes, and it almost certainly prevented him from ever making a viable run at the Presidency. But keep in mind, this was his funeral, and it is not customary to rip someone as they are riding down the street in a hearse, even if they were a jerk. It’s kind of tacky. 

But it brings up an interesting question: who is more deserving of our forgiveness, Ted Kennedy or Michael Vick? Vick did something awful, and it was cold and calculated. At the same time, it involved animals and not humans. Kennedy, on the other hand, made a series of awful decisions and it resulted in a dead young woman. He got drunk, he drove a young woman who wasn’t his wife towards her hotel. He drove off a bridge. He emerged alive but decided not to call for help and instead “sleep it off”. While not as calculated as Vick’s situation, it was perhaps even colder. But it was passive and not aggressive. Vick killed dogs with his bare hands. Kennedy certainly did not intend to kill Mary Jo Kopechne, but he left her to die after he made a decision to sleep it off instead of diving down or calling for help. So I am curious as to what you guys think: who is more deserving of our forgiveness?

69 thoughts on “Ted Kennedy and Michael Vick

  1. aright here it is hopefully for the last time. when you get behind the wheel of a car after drinking a few to many and kil someone you made a mistake, when you take gun into a night club and shoot yourself in the leg you made a mistake and are a moron. when you engage in a five year long gambling ring you have a career. it isn't really about forgiveness, everyone deserves a chance to start over. the point is does that person who kids are going look up to deserve to return to the nfl. you know as well as i do had anyone of us gone to jail for that crime we could not go back and beg to get our job back.
    the point that it is humans verses dogs doesn't hold up. if two people want to get into a ring and beat the crap out of each other who am i to say no. they do after all understand what is happening. a dog has no choice and is taught to fight without understanding why, and when they fail are brutaly killed. try and get a guy to get into a ring if he knew that if he lost he would be beat to death with a baseball bat.
    kennedy made a mistake was drunk and probly disoriented from the accident. vick on the other hand hasn't even being drunk as an excuse. if vick wants forgiveness he has to beg us for it and show at least some remorse other than crying in his cell at night. he was crying and still isn't for the hundreds of dogs that died from his participation in t dog fighting ring. thats what kennedy did he made amends to the people of the country for over 40 years of public service. he worked hard to help the people of the united states. i think he EARNED our forgiveness. vick has a long way to go to earn mine. maybe he needs to do something to make the world a better place. playing footbal just doesn't stack up against kennedys record.

  2. There are two separate issues here. First, does Chappaquidick warrant a public reflection on whether people should “forgive” Ted Kennedy for a callous apparently drunken act which resulted in a death (I'm disappointed with the reference to “woman not his wife”—-that is completely irrelevant and simply character asassination; there never was any evidence that he was doing anything but giving her a ride home) and second, whether there should be a public debate of his character upon his death. The Mike Vick thing is totally unrelated to Ted Kennedy and just isn't part of this debate. There are plenty of places to discuss Vick, but to raise him here is simply designed to ratchet up emotional discussions about relative wrongdoing. Why not compare Kennedy to Hitler or Idi Amin? It's like the people saying Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame because Ty Cobb was a virulent racist and all around scoundrel. Fine, but irrelevant.

    OK, first, let's call it for what it is—what Kennedy did at Chappaquidick was despicable. However, as with almost everything historical, let's put it in the context of the times. Back in the early 1960s, drunk driving was considered an accident—no one went to jail for drunk driving accidents, even if they resulted in death. Just the way it was back then. He did not receive special treatment, except perhaps from the Massachusetts electorate, which kept voting for him. So let's not treat him as if he committed the same crime today. He clearly felt remorse for his actions and led his public life in an honorable manner —his private life is not our business except to note that he eventually overcame alcoholism himself and lived his later years in a much more exemplary fashion.

    Which leads to “why the vitriol” now, at a man's death? That is what I cannot really understand at all. If you read the letters in right wing publications, one of the most evil men in American history just died. To say that the MSM media sugarcoated his life is ridiculous—read the Times obit—his failures as well as his triumphs are well covered. Unfortunately, this is the ongoing legacy of Rove politics. The Republican base now is so conditioned to “Us vs. Them”, “Red and Blue”, etc. that there can be no redeeming virtues for a Ted Kennedy. That is why we are getting the Town Hall yelling and screaming before a politician gets to say a word. There are 20% or so of the electorate who believe anything “liberal” is evil and deserving of scorn or worse (much worse in some instances). Ted Kennedy is the poster child for liberalism. Thus, we see a slew of condemnations of the man (although thankfully not from either Republican politicians or main stream conservative media) which essentially deny his humanity.

    That is what needs to stop….I don't see it happening any time soon.

    1. People exercising their constitutional rights of dissent at town halll meetings has got to stop? People who disagree with the Supreme and Serene Leader Barack Obama– may Gaia guide and protect him– actually voicing their disagreements? What do you propose as a remedy Herr Democraticuberfuerher PalestraJon?

      1. Dissent, my ass. Disruption, and disingenuity as well. These are the people screaming that those goddamned Socialists are taking away our Medicare! Horrors! This is an outshoot of directed political activity by those Teabaggers…if you buy this as legitimate dissent Bob, you are further gone than I thought.

        1. Are they “outside agitators” also, PalestraJon?

          Keep talking up the “evil” and “unpatriotic” bullshit, pal. The country ain't buying it. They see you for the hypocrites that you are.

      2. L'il bobby is really becoming unhinged again. Here's some more name-calling against Obama that makes no sense whatsoever. Bob, take your pills, lie back and relax.

        1. I love it that people such as you and PJ call me “unhinged” and a “wingnut” and the like. You guys are the ones who believe stupid shit such as a government takeover of the health care industry will make it more efficient and will actually save money. But I'm the one who's unhinged.

          1. Yeah, it's so stupid to believe that something that works in every other developed nation in the world may work here, too! What morans we must be.

            There, there, bob; the scary, slightly-left-of-center black man in charge won't actually hurt you. You'll be safe.

          2. Racism! What a clever retort. You guys don't really have very many good arguments do you?

            National healthcare doesn't actually “work” very well in Britain or Canada. It has many problems– high cost, poor performance, rationing and life-threatening waiting lists. If you consider those to be advantages, I suggest you move to one of those places and share in the joy.

            Actually, there are any number of nation states with high levels of government control of economic activity and life in general– ranging from fairly benign if inefficient social democracies to totalitarian staes such as Cuba. Why not pick one based on your tolerance for government control of your life and move there? Why fuck up my country?

          3. “National healthcare doesn't actually “work” very well in Britain or Canada.”

            Yes it does. Why do you think so many of the Brits – including hardcore conservatives – are getting pissed off at right-wing Americans who keep disparaging and lying about their system?

            “high cost, poor performance”

            Funny that this is your complaint, when the American healthcare system is the most expensive in the entire world (that's per capita; not because we are large), and yet we have the worst outcomes in the developed world. You are attacking systems which have lower cost and better performance than the one you are intending.


            Boogah boogah; rationing! Ah yes, the biggest right-wing attack on fixing the health care system. The problem is, we've got rationing – rationing performed by corporate bureaucrats at for-profit insurance companies, whose job depend on denying care to existing customers. People die because of this rationing; but people like you just don't care.

            “life-threatening waiting lists.”

            No! This is a lie. The NHS and Canadian Medicare have waiting lists for minor procedures, yes – but never when someone has a life-threatening condition.

            Listed, there are countries without functional governments. If you want to live in a libertarian, free-market paradise, why don't you move to Somalia? But I love America, and am sick of right-wingers fucking this country up.

          4. I don't wish to move to Somalia because I don't care for their (nonexistent) system of government I also wouldn''t want to live in a camelshit Muslim country or a place with a per capita income that totals less than the money I currently have in my desk drawer.

            Guess what. Your gang is running the country now. The right-wingers can't be fucking it up anymore because they're not running it. You lefties are. Looks even more fucked up than usual these days but maybe I just haven't given the hopeychange stuff time to kick in.

            The NHS and Canadian health care system do not quite live up to the rosy scenarios you present. If the U.S. system is currently inefficient, Obama's desired plan will do nothing to remedy that.

            I am not against health care reform. What Obama is pushing for, however, is not mere reform, but a complete government takeover of the health care system. He is offering a false choice. The choice is not between doing nothing or adopting Obama's proposed system. Not at all.

            Obama is on record as calling for a single payer government run system even though he now is lying and claiming otherwise. He is also on record as supporting a “government option”among other choices but only because he sees such a system as a stepping stone to a government takeover. He now lies about that also. A government run system would be a costly unaffordable mistake. I would prefer giving tax credits and/or even health insurance vouchers– similar to food stamps– to people who truly cannot afford insurance, rather than see a government takeover.

          5. “camelshit Muslim country “

            Well, I guess we know that any accusations of racism against you are perfectly valid.

            “The right-wingers can't be fucking it up anymore because they're not running it. “

            That would be nice; but the right-wingers in the Senate, enabled by their allies in the corporate media, are doing everything they can to stifle positive change. With the Republicans fillibustering everything and often getting support of right-leaning Democrats (I do wish we had the discipline of the Republicans), along with the media doing everything it can to demonize Democrats and reform, the country is stuck in its current position.

            And Republicans have screwed over this country on health care for over 50 years, since they blocked Harry Truman's attempt to give us universal health care.

            “What Obama is pushing for, however, is not mere reform, but a complete government takeover of the health care system.”

            That would be nice, but that isn't what's on the table. Unfortunately, Obama and congressional leaders haven't offered that, because they want something with a better chance at passing. Of course, you disingenuously accuse him of lying – no; it's called compromise; going for an outcome that's less than what you want but is better than what we have.

            We should have a government takeover of health insurance, though. Government is much better at providing basic needs than private, for-profit industries. Tax credits or vouchers still leaves everyone at the whims of the market, keeping the failed system we have.

          6. Not racist. Anti-Muslim. I'm happy and proud to be an anti-Muslim. You choose to hate Christians. I choose to dislike Muslims. My reason is that Christians do not have it as an article of faith that I have to submit to their religion or die, while Muslims do. Therefore, I consider it perfectly reasonable and rational to dislike Muslims. Much like disliking drunk drivers or people who go in for dog fighting or other criminal or sociopathic types.

            I am not making anything up about your mancrush Obama. He is on record that he wants a single payer government run system. He is also on record as saying he'll compromise and accept a governent option as a step towards the ultimate government run system. He now says those statements are distortions and disinformation. They are not. His positions are part of the public record. He is telling untruths. This is known outside of Democratic circles as “lying.”

          7. I'm not sure if I'm disturbed or refreshed by your candor Bob. Your knowledge and interpretation of Islam and more than a billion Muslims with such a wide and ignorant brush is the equivalent of holding up the Christian religious extremists (advocates of killing abortion doctors-and those who preach that Islam is evil) and presenting it as the norm.
            To make this post relevant to the topic, I say Kennedy deserves forgiveness and Vick deserves the benefit of the doubt until he messes up again.

          8. I'm not sure if I'm disturbed or refreshed by your candor Bob. Your knowledge and interpretation of Islam and more than a billion Muslims with such a wide and ignorant brush is the equivalent of holding up the Christian religious extremists (advocates of killing abortion doctors-and those who preach that Islam is evil) and presenting it as the norm.
            To make this post relevant to the topic, I say Kennedy deserves forgiveness and Vick deserves the benefit of the doubt until he messes up again.

  3. JGT, nobody is saying that the people who spoke at the man's funeral should have focused on Kopechne. Obviously, that would be insulting and rude to the man's survivors, if no one else. What we're talking about are the numerous oped pieces, editorials and commentaries from talking heads and newspeople who lionized Kennedy and failed to mention or whitewashed what was, after all, no mere lapse in judgement or minor transgression. As Steyn points out, many of these sources treated the incident as a tragedy that happened to Kennedy, rather than a tragedy that involved criminal actions by Kennedy. He was no hapless victim of Chappaquiddick; the hapless victim drowned in the car.

    Kennedy coldbloodedly made a decision to run away from the accident, did not immediately call for help, and attempted to cover up his transgressions. His decisions and moral failures very probably cost the young woman her life. And he definitely was not disoriented and confused after to accident, or at least not to the extent that he did not know what he was doing. He consulted with friends and advisors, made telephone calls and attempted to disassociate himself from the accident. He was focused on saving his political career and reputation when a moral human being, a man with any sort of character, would have been immediately focused, to the exclusion of any other concerns, on saving the life of the woman who was in the car with him. And in the days following the accident, Kennedy and his keepers did a world class job of covering up his crime and subverting justice to avoid any real investigation and prosecution of Kennedy for what were obvious criminal actions. Kennedy's actions are not “unforgivable” in the religious sense, but they are certainly so in a legal sense without trial, conviction and punishment. In the realm of politics, they certainly should have been unforgivable. And outside of his home state– and, of course, liberal Democratic circles where no imaginable action is ever truly disqualifying as long as the person supports the “correct” political positions– his actions certainly proved to be unforgivable. After Chappaquiddick, Kennedy never had any real chance of being elected to the presidency.

  4. Well stated. But let's not pretend that Ted Kennedy was just a sweet, sweet man who wanted to drive a young lady home at night. No, there was no video camera in the car, so we don't know what happened with Ted Kennedy and her. We just know that they both left a party at 11:15 after a long day of drinking. Ted's chauffeur was at the party, but Kennedy insisted on driving the attractive young woman himself. And though he knew exactly where the hotel was, a sheriff saw the car pulled over on the side of the road an hour after he left the party. Keep in mind too that Ted Kennedy was a well known womanizer at the time. So a well known womanizer left a party drunk with a drunk young woman, demanded that the two of them travel alone, then was seen pulled over on the side of the road with the young woman in the car an hour after he left the nearby party? Yes, they may have been comparing knitting notes, and you're right that in a court of law it wouldn't be enough to convict him of anything. But at least for me it doesn't pass the BS test. Let's put it this way: If I was found in a parked car with a woman at 12:30 a.m. after drinking with her all day, I would get dumped in a heartbeat regardless of my story, and I suspect you gentlemen would too.

  5. My above “well stated” was directed at PJ. As for Bob, the Steyn article was ludicrous. Yes, a couple of left wing nuts lionized Kennedy and perhaps even excused him, just as many right wing nuts hold him as something akin to the devil. Both are fringe, but what both parties like to do these days is to present the fringe of the other party as being what the majority of those people think. There is no-one who knows politics on the left that thinks that what happened to Mary Jo Kopechne is something to be glossed over. If Kennedy got such a “free pass” from the media and the Democrats, how come he never had a real shot at being elected anything outside of Massachusetts?

    1. I agree with you that we have an awful lot of generalizing from the particular these days, and presenting lunatic behavior on the fringe as indicative of the majority. If some guy in Kansas kills an abortionist, then that means that all people who are anti-abortion somehow share in the crime. Well, no, I don't think so. A couple of mass killers blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City and it's somehow Rush Limbaugh's fault. Nope. Doesn't follow. Such shallow analysis might work for PalestraJon but it doesn't pass the logic test.

      In many cases, it's a total and complete fabrication to associate the lunatic behavior with the group you wish to smear. I'm sorry, but the guy who killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum is not a Republican, right-wing or otherwise. American Nazism is not a subset of Republican politics.

      BTW, I think it's rich that PJ is complaining about “vitriol” coming from the right. This is the guy who regularly called GWB and Cheney “evil.” Who talks of war crimes and mass murder and illegal and immoral wars and wholesale torture and deceiving the entire country for obscure personal reasons. For whom no charge of Republican incompetence or malfeasance is too extreme. The guy who announced that Bush was a “chickenhawk… gleefully sending other people's children off to war.” Now we're to worry about “vitriol.” I was under the impression that “dissent was the highest form of patriotism,” PalestraJon. No? What changed?

      1. Yes, calling someone evil is akin to threatening one's life. That's truly rich. And the lunatic right is NOT fringe—Rove's conscious strategy was to concoct an alliance of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, corporate fatcats and out and out racists (the old George Wallace vote) for GWB, a guy who prior to the 2000 elections consciously tried to avoid appealing to the racist element. Tell me that the Dems attempt to attract groups like the militias, segregationists (GWB, at Rove's request, went to Bob Jones Univ, if you recall) and tax rebels? Bob, the Democratic party pisses off their own base because they are far too conservative. They should ram health care reform down the throats of these “dissenters” as the Republicans did with, say, the war.

        And by the way, what about what I said concerning Chaney and Bush being chickenhawks was false?

        1. Poor little PalestraJo. The Republican meanies are protesting the president's policies. Outside agitators! Teabaggers! (Such a clever joke.) “Astroturf”! Don't they know that real “grassroots” political action only comes from George Soros funded organizations.

          You can make all the false identifications that you want, pal. Your messiah's poll rating are tanking. You can do all the ranting you want about right-wing conspiracies and racists and militias, but the fact will still remain that the more people hear about Obamacare the less they like it. The more they see Obama and his minions in operation, the less they like it. Too bad.

          Yeah, the Republicans rammed the war down people's throats. After months of debate and a war resolution in Congress supported by the majority of the Democratic party.

          Too bad about health care. It seems to have been defeated by democracy in action.

        2. Well, yes it was false. The “chickenhawk” charge is an irrelevancy. You might as well call FDR and Woodrow Wilson “chickenhawks.” Both sent far more men to combat and death than Bush or Cheney and never served in the military, Obama also meets your qualifications for the title of “chickenhawk.” It's just one of those stupid mindless slanders that blinkered lefties such as yourself come up with.

      2. Not all the anti-choicers shared in Dr. Tiller's death, no. But many of them, such as O'Reilly and Limbaugh, referred to the man, and American hero, as a “murderer” and “evil”; and yeah, they do bear some responsibility for his death. As do the terrorist groups like Operation Rescue, which justify murdering doctors – yet the lead terrorist, Randall Terry, is still interviewed on CNN as if he was OK.

        And there is a big difference in vitriol against the Bush-Cheney administration and Obama. The US did commit war crimes – guess what, torture is a war crime! – under their administration, and today Cheney is still arguing in favor of torture. And torture is evil – pure evil. Obama's done nothing that an be called evil, yet he gets called a Nazi for trying to reform the healthcare system. You see how that vitriol makes no sense?

        1. Torture? Oh, you must be referring to those “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were applied to a small handful of high-ranking terrorists and resulted in crucial information that prevented attacks and saved American lives. Techniques that were reviewed at the highest levels of government, were endlessly vetted, and not incidentally were discussed with and approved by Congressional committees, including high ranking Democrats.

          Yeah, that abortionist was a real American hero. Let's give him the Teddy Kennedy award for political and moral courage.

          1. “Oh, you must be referring to those “enhanced interrogation techniques” “

            Yes, that's the bullshit euphemism they used. It's still torture.

            “that were applied to a small handful of high-ranking terrorists”

            Along with many suspects swept out of the field in Afghanistan and Iraq who have been found to have done nothing wrong; and of course never even got to have a trial first.

            “and resulted in crucial information that prevented attacks and saved American lives.”

            No. Didn't happen. As has been the case forever, torture brings about false confessions & the tortured saying what the interrogator wants them to, not accurate information.

            Even if it did, though, it is still torture. One of the most evil, monstrous things a person can do. And yes, anyone who orders torture – like the Bush administration – or supports it, like their apologists in the media – is an evil person.

            “Yeah, that abortionist was a real American hero.”

            Yes; even after previous attempts on his life, he kept performing a necessary service, and helped a lot of women whose life was in danger. He is a hero.

          2. You don't really know very much about the issue, do you? Enemy combatants waging war against the U.S. are hardly innocents “swept up.” Interrogation of such prisoners does not constitute “torture.” Such “sweeping up” and detainment without trial and resultant “torture” incidentally continue to this day under the regime of Barack Obama. You don't address this fact in your little rant. But apparently only Republicans can be guilty of such crimes against humanity. Same wars, same places, same military, same tactics to a large extent, but no bullshit charges of war crimes and torture from the left now that Obama is president.

            The interrogations of high ranking terrorists were successful. That has become obvious from the documents released, and even critics have stopped claiming otherwise. But why stop lying when the lies have served so well in the past.

            If an abortionist makes it into your pantheon of American heroes, who am I to argue? The morality of such a declaration speaks for itself.

          3. “You don't really know very much about the issue, do you?”

            Yes, I do; unlike torture apologists like you.

            “Enemy combatants waging war against the U.S. are hardly innocents “swept up.” Interrogation of such prisoners does not constitute “torture.” “

            Many of the so-called “enemy combatants” were handed over by the Afghani warlords, because of a bounty on any “terrorists” turned in – and many of them have been released., because they were not fighting the US. And if they were at war against the US, then guess what – they were POWs, and according to the Geneva Conventions, torture of them is also illegal. In fact, there is no situation where torture is legal in the US.

            Also, stop putting quotes around torture. What's been done in Guantanamo, Abu Gharib, etc. is torture, plain and simple; don't play dumb by claiming it's debatable. If you are going to support something monstrous, than own it.

            So, do you think the US should apologize to the Japanese and German officers who were executed for war crimes for committing torture after WWII? I guess you must, since it's A-OK to you.

            “no bullshit charges of war crimes and torture from the left now that Obama is president. “

            That's because he ordered it to stop.

            “The interrogations of high ranking terrorists were successful.”

            Highly successful at getting information that proved to be bogus, and false confessions; just as torture has always been.

            “But why stop lying when the lies have served so well in the past.”

            That's a question you should ask yourself.

          4. If you knew anything at all about the subject you would not argue that the detainees at such places as Guantanamo and at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan are POWs and that they are covered by the Geneva Convention. Even Eric Holder is on record on that one. They are not.

            Why do you conflate interrogation of captured enemy combatants with “torture”? Nobody from Holder to Obama is claiming such routine interrogations to be “torture.” The cases in question being investigated are a mere handful out of probably thousands of instances of interrogation. Why do you pretend that “torture” of any shape or form is routine? And yes the word “torture” belongs in quotes, if for no other reason than it is so routinely misused by leftists such as yourself.

            If you were as knowledgeable about torture as you claim to be, you would know that even the waterboarding carried about for purposes of interrogation does not meet the legal definition of torture. Sorry, but it simply doesn't. (On a grand total of three detainees, incidentally. Torture regimes just ain't what they used to be.)

            You are lying when you state that the the disputed interrogations yielded no useful intelligence. The transcripts recently released by the DOJ, (for completely political and partisan purposes, btw) give the lie to that. Sorry, again, but you are wrong.

            Why do conflate capturing and holding prisoners with torturing them? Why do you conflate people captured and subsequently immediately released after being cleared with long term detainees, and truly dangerous individuals if you are not simply trying to confuse the issue and muddy the waters?

            The Obama administration is continuing the vast majority of Bush era policy re capture and detention, holding without trial, rendition (actually a Clinton invention, completely unremarked at the time by leftist hypocrites such as yourself), and interrogation of captured enemy combatants. Obama promised to close Gitmo, but didn't, and won't. At the most, he will possibly open a renamed facility somewhere else– a Gitmo in everything but name. He stated that holding prisoners without trial was a violation of their rights, but then reconfirmed and continued the practice. Ditto the possibility of military tribunals. Ditto warrantless wiretapping and various other counter-terrorism programs.

            I repeat: The wars continue in Iraq and Afghanistan– same wars, same places, same armed forces, overwhelmingly the same tactics concerning captured enemy combatants. The only major change is that we don't get bullshit about war crimes, mass murder,and human rights abuses from the left now that Obama is running the show.

            Leftists such as you and PJ want to pretend that the Iraqi war is a hopeless and unwinnable mess but fail to explain if so why it continues. You want to tag Bush administration policies as human rights abuses and war crimes but fail to explain why they continue under the leftist Obama administration. You are simply full of shit, my friend.

          5. “If you knew anything at all about the subject you would not argue that the detainees at such places as Guantanamo and at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan are POWs and that they are covered by the Geneva Convention.”

            Oh, that's rich; you claim I don't know anything about the subject when you show that you know nothing. If the detainees were not POWs, then they were prisoners, and therefore the general protections of the constitution and criminal law apply. Either way, fucking torture is still illegal.

            “Why do you conflate interrogation of captured enemy combatants with “torture”?

            Because they fucking TORTURED THEM. That's the basic reason why. Some of the detainees were tortured to death – but you claim that's A-OK. Some were told their families would be killed if they didn't talk. Many were forced to stand without moving, naked, for days at a time, without sleep, peeing and shitting on themselves. In Iraq, some detainees were forced to watch as soldiers RAPED THEIR CHILDREN. Yet that's just routine interrogation to you. Uh-huh. And you wonder how we can call the past administration evil, even though they were.

            “you would know that even the waterboarding carried about for purposes of interrogation does not meet the legal definition of torture.”

            Yes it fucking does, you moron. We executed Japanese officers who committed waterboarding during WWII as war criminals. The procedure was invented by the Spanish Inquisition to force Jews & other “heretics” to convert – but then, giving what you support here, you must think the Inquisition just gets a bum rap, and was perfectly OK.

            Hell, even some of the right-wing kooks who spouted the “waterboarding isn't torture” bullshit volunteered for it – and all admitted it is after experiencing it (see Christopher Hitchens, Mancow).

            One guy was waterboarded 183 times in one month. But according to you, that's not torture. Hell, you'd probably say flaying someone alive wasn't torture.

            “The transcripts recently released by the DOJ give the lie to that. “

            No; despite what the Darth Cheney said, they showed that the intelligence was useless. Now stop lying.

            “The Obama administration is continuing the vast majority of Bush era policy re capture and detention”

            Unfortunately, yes they have, for now; and that's wrong. But they have stopped the torture; and they are (unfortunately, slowly) letting people go and bring the ones to trial who need to go there.

            “You want to tag Bush administration policies as human rights abuses and war crimes but fail to explain why they continue under the leftist Obama administration.”

            They aren't continuing, that's why. The torture has, by all accounts, stopped. The Obama administration's big crime is that they've shown no inclination to go after the full war criminals, like Cheney and Yoo, and only target the low-level torturers (who should go to jail to; “I'm just following orders” is never a valid excuse.”

            You complained earlier that left-wingers call Bush a war criminal and evil. Here you are illustrating why – you are supporting fucking torture, you are disingenuously claiming that torture isn't torture, and you are flat-out lying to support your arguments.

          6. They are not POWs and they are not covered by the Geneva Convention. They also do not enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution and criminal law. These issues were argued and decided by the Bush administration and have been reconfirmed and accepted and continued by the Obama administration. This point is so fucking basic that I don't even know why I'm bothering to argue with someone who claims otherwise.

            Simply reiterating charges of atrocities from the left and political opponents of the Bush administration does not necessarily make them true. I'm rather looking forward to Holder's partisan bullshit investigation because I believe it will inevitably lead to further erosion of support for the Obama administration as it unfolds.

          7. “They are not POWs and they are not covered by the Geneva Convention. They also do not enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution and criminal law.”

            Do you realize that you just contradicted yourself? Either the detainees were criminals, or they were POWs. That's an either-or, two option situation. They were one or the other; there is no other option under the law. Which is it?

            I see you never had civics in school. That's sad; every child should learn how our government works. So here is something I learned in the third grade:

            The United States has three branches of government. They are called the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches. There is a separation of powers and a system of checks and balances to make sure that no one branch becomes to powerful.

            The Legislative branch is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 members of the House, determined by population, and there are 100 members of the Senate, with two from each State. The Legislative branch's job is to make the law.

            The Judicial branch is made up of the Federal courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country; it has nine justices. The Judicial branch's job is to interpret the law.

            The Executive branch is made up of the President, Vice-President, the members of the Cabinet and federal agencies. The Executive branch's job is to enforce the law.

            Under the rules of separation of powers, the Executive branch cannot make laws; only the Legislative branch can. The Executive branch also cannot interpret the law, which only the Judicial branch can.

            There, now you know a little more about American government! Isn't that exciting?

          8. Uh… Not POWs, but enemy combatants. Not criminal defendents, but enemy combatants. Not being POWs does not automatically make them criminal defendents. Not being criminal defendents does not automatically make them POWs. Again, they are enemy combatants.

            To be considered POWs, they would have to follow the rules of warfare specified by the Geneva Convention– minor details such as wearing uniforms and not waging war on civilians. They would have to be members of the armed forces of a recognized nation state. The list of requirements goes on and on.

            Sice they are not criminal defendents or U.S. citizens, they are not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Habeas corpus does not apply. As enemy combatants they can be detained without the right to a speedy trial. The Obama administration incidentally concurs with these views.

            Uh… As I said before, this stuff is fucking basic. I have nothing more to say to you. Sorry.

          9. There is no such thing as an “enemy combatant”; the category is total bullshit. I'm sorry that our schools failed you as a child.

          10. Here's an interesting tidbit I just came across: when the English journalist David Rose asked FBI director Robert Mueller last year if he was aware of any attacks on America that had been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through “enhanced techniques,” Mueller replied: “I don't believe that has been the case.”

  6. It's simply false to say that Ted Kennedy's faults were not outlined at length in the past week. This whole liberal media bias claim is becoming a crutch and a disingenuous one at that. Mary Jo Kopechne and/or Chappaquiddick was mentioned in every retrospective, obit, etc., that I saw-as it should be as it was an awful event and framed the rest of Ted's career-as well as brought out of the closet the much whispered about vices of the Kennedy's. Claiming that they didn't hear enough about this event strikes me as petulent and distasteful. Discussion settled. I win!

  7. Well, when all is said and done, despite the tragedy of never being elected president by a country that seemed to know better, Teddy at least had forty more years of life to enjoy than Mary Jo. May he rest in peace.

  8. I also want to add that we have all been manipulated by JGT's non-mainstream media. Mr. Goodtimes knew exactly what he was doing when he innocently asked for our thoughts on a Ted Kenndy vs. Mike Vick comparison. We've been played like a fiddle!

    1. You're right. And I will add that if I did not exist, JGT would have to invent me. His other posts elicits yawns and maybe one or two comments. Mention Bob T. though and the phone lines light up and stay lit. Do you think PalestraJon's predictable uninspired rants about Republicans and GWB would garner such a high level of interest absent Bob's posts? Hardly. Think watching paint dry or grass grow.

      1. Maybe you ARE an invention of JGT imagination???? Hmmm, have we ever seen you two in the same room together??? Hmmm??? Dr. Goodtimes and Mr. Bob, eh??? 🙂

  9. ummm duh johnny i think i was the first one to do excatly what you asked for. but i doubt that is what you really wanted. most of the comments are so far. awww shit i was just about to fall into the crap.. will you all please just grow up.

  10. Kennedy did follow Chappaquidick with decades of good service, so I'm more inclined to forgive him; but Vick hasn't had an opportunity to redeem himself yet, so I'm going to wait and see how he acts in the future.

    It doesn't matter, though; we can forgive Vick, especially here in Philly, but Kennedy is dead, and so he can't care whether or not anyone forgives him.

  11. A choice of which one to forgive? I'd say Kennedy.

    While Kennedy's violation was philanderful (yea, I made that up), reckless, and probably criminally negligent – his actions did not rise to the ruthless, cold hearted, souless, tortureous, slaughtering, strangling, electocuting, throat-cutting, depraved, menacing, and out right *ucking ill behavior that Sick, err, Vick, partook.
    Kennedy was a slime, no doubt, but more as a result of his weak morals and self-interest.

    Vick, on the other paw, repeatedly demonstrated (at least 14 dogs slaughtered, which is 98 in dog mathematics) that he was a conscienceless maimer and murderer,

  12. A choice of which one to forgive? I'd say Kennedy.

    While Kennedy's violation was philanderful (yea, I made that up), reckless, and probably criminally negligent – his actions did not rise to the ruthless, cold hearted, souless, tortureous, slaughtering, strangling, electocuting, throat-cutting, depraved, menacing, and out right *ucking ill behavior that Sick, err, Vick, partook.
    Kennedy was a slime, no doubt, but more as a result of his weak morals and self-interest.

    Vick, on the other paw, repeatedly demonstrated (at least 14 dogs slaughtered, which is 98 in dog mathematics) that he was a conscienceless maimer and murderer,

  13. JGT, a recent– within the last several days– Washington Post article was devoted to the question of whether the interrogations involving “torture”– yes, it belongs in quotes– yielded any useful intelligence. Based on a variety of high level sources both in the intelligence community and outside of it, the Post concluded that these interrogations very defintely had yielded useful intelligence and that they had, in fact, contributed to thwarting a number of contemplated terrorist attacks. I would point out that The Washington Post is generally not considered to be either a Republican party front nor an apologist for the Bush administration. Now you and the other anti-Bush anti-Republican hopeychanger crowd that regularly post on this site can go on repeating left wing propaganda and Democratic party talking points all you want ad nauseum until the cows come wandering home, but that will not change the fact that the recently released intelligence information and the comments of knowledgeable people across the political spectrum, not just in the Washington Post but a variety of opinion journals and newspapers and other sources, leads to only one conclusion for an objective observer who is not blinded by partisanship and is not wearing ideological blinkers. That conclusion is that the interrogations of high level al Qaida detainees using so-called “enhanced interogation techniques” yielded extremely useful, high quality intelligence information that was instrumental in preventing a number of planned terrorist attacks. The information and the facts are out there, the jury is in, the decision has been made, and the case is closed. End of story.

    So why not stop with the left wing lies and bullshit. If you want to argue that these techniques were not justified on moral grounds, that is another story. I don't happen to agree with that particular line of argument– I think that the saving of large numbers of lives of my fellow human beings from terrorist killings justifies causing a certain level of both psychological and physical distress to a small number of assholes to gather intelligence, and I think that a large majority of my fellow citizens would agree with me– but the argument that these interrogations yielded no useful information has been thoroughly discreditied.

    1. “I would point out that The Washington Post is generally not considered to be either a Republican party front nor an apologist for the Bush administration”

      Wrong! In fact, the complete opposite of true. The Washington Post has generally been seen as a Republican mouthpiece for the past 15 of so years, and consistently defended everything the Bush administration did in foreign policy (including the Iraq war and, yes, torture).

      1. If you you're a leftie fever swamp dweller whose worldview is shaped by the HuffPo and Daily Kos and similar objective publications, then the Washington Post is right-wing. Those of us on more dry land consider the Post to be left of center. I have a certain respect for the Post because they publish a variety of columnist left and right, and are not completely predictable like those Obama lapdogs at the NY Times.

        But why even grant you the dignity of a reply? You have no credibility on this subject. You recently told me MSNBC, home of Chris Matthews, is a right-wing source.

        And now, no doubt, you're going to tell me that Chris Matthews is, in fact, dangerously right-wing, I suppose because he is not in favor of trying the entire Bush administration and Republican party for crimes against humanity. Your replies are a nothing more than a jumble of unsupported left-wing propaganda. You repeat unsubstantiated charges from terror suspects as if they were gospel truth and dismiss well researched findings from a major publication such as the Post as untrue simply because theyu don't fit into your left-wing fairy tales. As I say, you have no credibility with anyone who tries to maintain any sort of objectivity and who isn't a partisan left-wing ideologue.

  14. JGT's question brings up a lot of issues. I think its a good springboard for debating the tabloid press, race and class in our society. I see the question more about the vilification of celebrites.

    It seems to me that there was a certain level of discretion and privacy with the personal lives of public figures in the past. There wasn't a rampant tabloid press to fuel a manufactured need to know about the personal lives of celebrities. The public today is a bunch of uneducated, ill-informed rubes who are more willing to follow the minute details of a celebrity scandal that any real news. I'm not above the fray, either. I watch my fair share of “E True Hollywood Story.” I wish that I didn't… I think people separated back “then” (whenever that is) poor judgement in one's personal life from poor judgement in one's professional life. Today, there are no boundaries between a celebrities personal and public persona. And its a shame.

    To the question offered by JGT, personally, I care slightly more that Kennedy accidentally killed a woman in a care accident than I do that Vick killed dogs. The dogs were truly innocent victims but they weren't human. However, the young lady shouldn't have gotten into the car with a drunk driver, so bad judgement by both people killed her. But, hey! How do you tell the boss that he's too drunk to drive? Obviously, I'm not blaming the victim, but she was not forced into the car with the drunk!

    I'll throw out a few different questions. How does being a member of the elite, now or in the past, affect someone's worthiness of “forgiveness?” Are Kennedy and Vick even on the same social scale as “peers”? Kennedy was part of American “royality,” well-educated, worldly, opportunities handed to him like a food on a platter. Vick was a poor black kid from the South who worked his way up, using his “brawn,” and not his brains, as a professional athlete. White man. Black man. But, both are in very influential positions in our society. Old money vs. hero worship of athletes.

    Are race and class relevant to how much someone is vilified by the press and public?

  15. End of story, Bob? Perhaps you didn't see the quote above, so I'll use it again: when the English journalist David Rose asked FBI director Robert Mueller last year if he was aware of any attacks on America that had been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through “enhanced techniques,” Mueller replied: “I don't believe that has been the case.”

    I'd also like to comment on another point you made: “To be considered POWs, they would have to follow the rules of warfare specified by the Geneva Convention– minor details such as wearing uniforms and not waging war on civilians. They would have to be members of the armed forces of a recognized nation state.”

    I guess that means that torturing American soldiers during the Revolutionary War would have been acceptable, since they did not wear uniforms and were not members of an organized nation state (They all lived on the same continent and fought guys in red shirts, that was pretty much what they had in common). And I guess you can defend the POW camp at Andersonville, since the Union did burn down many towns and kill civilians.

    Again, Bob, you are an extremely intelligent guy. That's why I don't get it when you parrot the talking points of Dick Cheney, who is such an extremist, when it comes to torturing human beings.

    1. Johnny, a year old quote from a single source does not completely trump for all time now and forever any contrary finding. Particularly not a contrary finding from a major newspaper incorporating recently declassified intelligence information and drawing on a number of highly placed sources. To maintain that the Mueller quote stands, you would have to rebut the the recent information in the Post article. I doubt if you can do that.

      And bringing up prisoner issues from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War are irrelevant to a discussion of the Geneva Conventions simply because the GC did not exist at the time. Treatment of prisoners in those days tended to be dependent more on uncodified ideas of what constituted the rules of warfare between so-called civilized nations. And many prisoners held by the British in the Revolutionary War were treated inhumanely.

      It was suggested to Lincoln early in the Civil War that he should hang captured Confederate prisoners since they were rebels and guilty of treason. Lincoln wisely declined to do so, among other reasons, because he didn't want to get into a hanging contest with Jeff Davis.

      Please do not start the “parroting” crap with me, JGT. I am not accusing you of parroting anybody even though your opinions are certainly not original or unique. The charge is ridiculous. Nobody arrives at their opinions in a complete vacuum. Everybody is influenced by the arguments and positions of others. Other than a genius such as PalestraJon, of course, who, in addition to having his opinions spring fully formed from his great mind with no outside influence, is always right, even when he is obviously wrong.

      As for the “torture” business, I hate to say it, but I support whatever works when trying to gather intelligence from high ranking al Qaida figures. I think the rights of hundreds of millions of people to live free of death by terror attacks trunps KSM's right to a good night sleep. If they waterboarded KSM 183 times, I would support doing it 17 more times to round things off. I also believe that the overwhelming majority of my fellow citizens feels the same.

      These opinions are all academic anyway because such disputed tactics are no longer used. They had ceased during the Bush administration long before Obama farbade them with his usual sanctimonious fanfare.

  16. JGT: WHAT? An 'extremely intelligent guy” who doesn't spout the party line and might even be (gasp) a conservative? OMG! This does not compute, this does not compute!'

  17. So some will “…support whatever works…” when it comes to gleaning intel from so-called enemy combatants, yet a few former CIA interogators (you know, the guys who know from real life experience and not an armchair or barstool) like Matthew Alexander (not his real name) make a convincing argument that torture, in fact, does *not work, and typically produces junk intel.


    1. If you're going to insist that the much discussed “enhanced interrogation techniques” do not work under any conditions, I'm afraid that you are going to have to explain away how they obviously worked on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as detailed in recently declassified documents and reported in the Washington Post. (Have you even bothered to read the article?) I'm sure there are no end of citations from “experts” about how such tactics never work– that, after all, has been the approved left wing party line for years now– but, I repeat, if they supposedly never ever work, you have to explain away or ignore the very real fact that in the case of KSM they very definitely did work.

      And since we're going to make insulting references to people talking from “armchairs or barstools,” I have to ask you what you think of people sitting in “armchairs or barstools” who decide to pass judgement on CIA officers working under dangerous and adverse conditions. Officers who in good faith followed the rules and regulations given to them for interrogations; who constantly referred back to their superiors for guidance on how to proceed; who were following procedures that were reviewed and approved by DoD, the Department of Justice, the relevant intelligence committees of Congress, including senior Democratic congressional leaders; who were investigated for alleged abuses previously by career professional investigators at DOJ who decided not to proceed with any charges; who were personally assured by President Obama that he would not allow such witch hunts to proceed; and who now find that the Obama administration supported by the Democratic leadership of Congress want to reopen this investigation with the possibility of criminal charges being filed. I personally find the actions of the Attorney General, the relevant personnel at DOJ, the members of Congress who support this travesty and the citizens who also support it– sitting in their armchairs or riding their barstools– to be despicable and worthy of contempt. Not to put too fine a point on it, I think that they are assholes. And how about you, mike? What view do you have on the matter from your armchair or barstool, buddy?

      1. Bob, we already know that you are a pants-wetting coward who is so paranoid by the non-existent threat of terrorism that you will justify any atrocity, even torture, to combat the imaginary boogeyman; you don't have to keep repeating it.

        1. If you were standing in front of me, I doubt if you'd be calling me a coward, and I suspect you'd be the one wetting his pants. So why don't you run along, little boy, and go play with yourself.

          1. There are hundreds of terrorists in Philadelphia, but billions of dollars are not spent on hunting them down and bringing them to justice because they terrorize poor black neighborhoods and not large financial institutions and affluent neighborhoods. The chances of any of us being killed by one of these terrorists is infinitely greater than being blown up by a suicide bomber.

            So, Bob, do you condone torturing drug dealing thugs in Philadelphia? After all, they are a much greater threat to your life than some guy laying in a cave in Afghanistan. As opposed to Middle East terrorists, who have attacked us once, they attack daily, often preying on the innocent. Now that you have acknowledged that torture is a perfectly acceptable means of gathering information (a belief you share with the Spanish Inquisition, where waterboarding, known as toca, comes from), why should it stop at foreigners?

            But if we are going to keep it a foreigners-only tool due to that dang Constitution, what about illegal aliens in the United States? They are not enemy combatants, they are not US citizens, they do not wear uniforms, but they are in our country illegally and could potentially kill us. Should we pour water up their nose and deprive them of food and sleep? I suspect after we did it to a few, we could cut back on illegal aliens entering our country. It's a win-win, right? This torture thing could be just the magic pill we've been looking for for all of our country's woes! Hell, why don't we use it on the homeless! That'll give 'em some motivation to get back to work!

  18. First of all, Johnny, when was it decided that threat of the terrorism has become a minor matter, something along the order of being hit with a meteorite or lightning as one goes about one's daily business? Al Qaida is still very much in business, and would love an opportunity to strike America again. I would also point out that if you find terrorism to be such a marginak concern today, maybe you should do some dot connecting and thank the aggressive and successful efforts of the Bush administration.

    Secondly, I'm sick of this talk of the Bush administration as some sort of Spanish Inquisition, a terror regime. No one is burning heretics at the stake or putting them on the rack. No one is crucifying anyone– a method of execution which incidentally still exists in Saudi Arabia, one of those countries I recently justifiably referred to as a “camelshit” country. We are talking about methods that were reserved for a handful of people for the specific purpose of uncovering possible large scale threats. Despite the bullshit peddled by JMP, the U.S. was not routinely torturing innocent goat herders in Afghanistan. And if you were really as concerned with grand scale torture as you claim to be, you would be still rejoicing over the fall of Saddam Hussein. Anyone for pulling out the tongues of political opponents– I don't think even Obama or PalestraJon are prepared to go that far to stifle political dissent. You'd be protesting mightily against the totalitarian regimes in Cuba and North Korea with their gulags and very routine torture of thousands and thousands of people. And let us not forget all those tin horn dictatorships in the Muslim world– those “camelshit” countries as I think of them– were torture is very much routine. I do not even believe sleep deprivation and water boarding, done in the presence of a medical doctor to prevent serious harm, with the sole intent of extracting information and not for purposes of political terror or punishment, even rises to the definition of “torture.” So back off with the sanctimonious bullshit and give me a break.

    Last but not least, some urban gangbanger asshole may pose a threat to me and the threat is probably much higher than a terror attack involving me personally, but this asshole poses little danger of planning and carrying out an attack with the potential of hundreds or thousands of casualties. He isn't likely to hit an urban center with a suitcase nuclear device, develop biological weapons and carry out an attack with them, or launch an Electro-magnetic pulse attack taking out all of our electronic systems and leading to millions of deaths. This should be obvious, so why bring up this kind of nonsense.

    As for the illegal aliens, I grant you that the idea of torturing them has a certain appeal, but again I don't think it necessary because despite the annoyance they do not pose a threat of a large scale terror attack with mass casualties.

    Have a nice weekend.

  19. BTW, I should also point out that if you are opposed on moral grounds to the harsh interrogation techniques used on a Khalid Sheikh Mohammed you should be prepared to accept the responsibility for having allowed an attack involving the possibility of thousands of casualties. If a nuclear or biological attack, it could be even more. Not to mention the matter of huge economic losses and the mass disruption of people's lives. I don't consider myself a harsh or cruel person, but the harsh methods on this one person strike me as a reasonable trade off.

  20. Let's see: 16,000 people are murdered in the US each year. Let's take a remarkably conservative guess and say that a mere 25% of them are killed by thugs in the drug trade. That would mean that 40,000 of them have been killed in the past 10 years in the US, as opposed to 3,000 people killed by terrorists by overseas. What did you say again about potential for mass casualties?

  21. And so? How many are killed in car accidents? Who should we waterboard to prevent those? If the four thousand per year were being murdered in one or two incidents by one or two perpetrators then you'd have a point of comparison. But they aren't. We'd have to be constantly waterboarding tens of thousands of suspected gang members all across the country. Another appealing idea, but I suspect civil rights groups would complain.

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