New E-Mails Show Psychologists’ Approval of Torture

“The American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror, according to a new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists….”

And, another one coming

Last November, the association’s board ordered an independent review of the organization’s role in the interrogation program. That review, led by David Hoffman, a Chicago lawyer, is now underway.

“We have been given a mandate by the A.P.A. to be completely independent in our investigation, and that is how we have been conducting our inquiry,” Mr. Hoffman said. “We continue to gather evidence and talk with witnesses and expect to complete the investigation later this spring.”

NY Times

What was that Willie Nelson song?  Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be psychologists….?

Cheney Forced EPA Climate Change Change

From Congressman Edward J. Markey’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming:

Executive summary

I. President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan and numerous heads of cabinet agencies and White House offices endorsed EPA’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public welfare, and EPA’s proposal that both vehicle and stationary source greenhouse gas emissions should be regulated under the clean air act.

II. There was widespread agreement within the Bush administration that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles endanger public welfare and should be regulated.

III. EPA additionally concluded that greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources such as power plants and refineries should also be regulated using clean air act authority.

IV. The oil industry argued against regulatory action, and had the support of the office of Vice President Cheney.

V. Doing the oil industry’s bidding, the Bush administration reversed course.

[…others, including oil industry representatives from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association…argued that regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would tarnish the President’s anti-regulatory legacy and therefore should be best left to the next President.]

The Report (pdf)

Committee Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said in a news release: “This is the dysfunctions and motivations of the Bush administration laid bare. The fact that they can, with near unanimity, completely switch positions on global warming to please the oil industry is shocking, and yet disappointingly predictable.”

Gerstenzang: LA Times

G-8 and the Neanderthal

Look, I understand why in disarmament talks, countries don’t want to do it unilaterally: if we disarm and you do not we are at greater risk. I do not understand why Bush takes this position — which Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Environment Minister, characterized as neanderthal — on reducing CO2. In this case, the risk is the opposite: if we move unilaterally to reduce CO2 we reduce everybody’s risk, ours included. True, those not participating may get an industrial leg-up but it will be a leg-up on a crumbling foundation. Their advances will not keep up with the retreat of the ground beneath their feet.

This is not the way Bush sees it, and so the headlines making the rounds that this G-8 summit may be more harmonious than previous ones are just silly. He is bringing in the worst report card on the environment that can be imagined. He has not abandoned his position that the US will do nothing unless everyone does it. The only harmony that may ensue is the quiet placidity of waiting until his successor can make an appearance next year, the quiet drip drip dripping of the Greenland glaciers turning to sea water…. So harmony be damned!

Moving ahead decisively, and even recklessly, to reduce CO2 emissions in the US, or any large-economy country, will, in the first place, help us and in the second place provide the moral, technological and economic high ground to push, shame and threaten others into joining the battle. George Washington and the New England volunteers did not wait for everyone’s agreement to take on the British: they just did it, recklessly and in many ways, ineptly. But the time was right, others joined, education took place in the experience, and life began anew. The patriot armies this time may be Global Patriots and the enemy, again, a certain George.

Environment Report Card

Thanks to the World Wildlife Fund for the Report Card (pdf)

EPA Do-Nothing

“Unlike pollutants covered by other waivers, greenhouse gas emissions harm the environment in California and elsewhere, regardless of where the emissions occur,” he said. “Therefore, this challenge is not exclusive or unique to California.”

Therefore, California may do nothing… Thus sayeth EPA chief, Stephen Johnson, in one more demonstration of the cynical use of states rights practiced by the GOP. Ten people in the room are now or soon will be bitten by the mosquitoes in the room. Mr. Johnson says, no one can scratch until all scratch. No one can swat until all swat.

Friday, he sat before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and benefited from some direct speech.

“Your agency’s decision to deny California a waiver just defies logic to me,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“I have never seen such disregard and disrespect by an agency head for Congress and for the committees with the responsibility for oversight of his agency,” Boxer said.

“…shameful, outrageous and irresponsible.” Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, said the ruling infringes on states’ rights and undercuts state efforts to fight climate change.

Coile – SF Chronicle

As inflammatory as the EPA denial of action by California and many other states, was the cover-up and withholding of documents prepared by EPA staff. Johnson’s decision did not follow the recommendations. He did not want to share this with his interrogators. After citing Attorney-Client privilege EPA lawyers partially relented last week and allowed Senate committee staff to review and take notes of the documents, but not make any copies —while watched by EPA staff.

One more point of interest, which neither the SF Chronicle nor the NY Times make mention of but the LA Times highlights —

Shortly before Stephen L. Johnson was sworn in by President Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he gave the president a towel symbolizing a New Testament passage in which Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. The towel, given to graduates of Johnson’s alma mater, a small evangelical college, symbolizes a life of Christian service.

Like the president, Johnson is a deeply religious man who says he relies on his faith in his work. Johnson prayed and spoke gratefully of early-morning prayer sessions held in his government office in a promotional video filmed there for an offshoot of a worldwide Christian ministry.

What is the remedy for Johnson’s action? The hearing itself can only hear, and holler. As a result of the hearing, however, Senators Boxer and Feinstein and 14 other senators introduced legislation that would override the EPA ruling. Will this be joined hby House action and survive a Bush veto? Hard to know, but at least the fight is joined.

Species Endangerment

There will be more accountability for the steroids pumped into the willing bodies of athletes than for the death by slow catastrophe of our world by those operating on the ideology of the greedy me.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson overruled the unanimous opinion of his legal and technical staff in blocking California’s effort to cut greenhouse gases from cars and trucks – a new revelation that California officials say shows his decision was based on politics, not the law.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, launched a probe Thursday into why Johnson made his decision even though EPA staffers reportedly warned him he would lose in court if he denied California’s request.

“Prior to making this decision, you assured the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as well as the state of California and many others, that you would make this decision on the merits,” Waxman wrote in a letter to Johnson. “It does not appear that you fulfilled that commitment.”

The revelation that Johnson ignored his staff’s advice was first reported by the Washington Post on Thursday. California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said her office was able to confirm that the staff recommendations were rejected by the administrator.

EPA Staff Warned

Missing Records in the White House

This is looking extremely interesting. Over 286 media outlets reporting:

E-mail records are missing for 51 of the 88 White House officials who had electronic message accounts with the Republican National Committee.

Google Catch

Other choice phrases are used: gone; skirt the law; violate records; illegally lost; RNC Violations; Extensive Destruction….

Olberman is all over it.

ThinkProgress has more.

Henry A. Super Waxman has a brief summary of what his committee has turned up.

Update: The SF Chronicle thinks this is important enough for page A5; the NY Times for A15. Aiiiiiiii!

Scooter Libby: No Soldier

I don’t know how many of you caught the Fouad Ajami op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal proclaiming Scooter Libby a “fallen soldier” in the war in Iraq, and pleading military tradition not to “leave him behind.” It was pretty pitiful.

Some real soldiers are beyond pity though. They are beyond pissed as well and have provided Mr. Ajami with links to photos of real fallen soldiers to help him understand what fallen means.

Dr. Ajami,

As an American soldier, I am sickened by you. Your comparison of Scooter Libby to a “fallen soldier” is odious. Libby played an obvious and essential role in leading this nation’s military into a war in which over 3,500 real soldiers have fallen—and one in which over 25,000 others have been maimed.

Via NoQuarter

In related news, the “real soldiers” who wrote letter to Judge Walton in praise of soldier Libby don’t want us to know what they said. Libby’s lawyer argued against release of these letters because of “the real possibility that these letters, once released, would be published on the Internet and their authors discussed, even mocked, by bloggers.”

Pass the Smelling Salts…

Praise of Libby Released

Maybe next time the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will be more careful in his public admiration of a convicted liar….

You can read the man-crush letters at

You may particularly enjoy Mary Matalin’s assertion that her husband, James Carville, joins her in expressing admiration for soldier libby…

Then, if you can stomach it, Joe Klein, infamous “Anonymous” of Primary Colors, and leading “liberal” for Time Magazine, lets us know why Paris Hilton deserves jail and Scooter Libby does not. Fortunately, Glen Greenwald dissects the scat for us.

Book TV takes over CSPAN2 on weekends. Lewis Lapham, the venerable editor of Harpers Magazine and proud Liberal is scheduled for several hours. Not sure I’ll take it all in but worth a look.

Lewis Lapham

His latest book is “Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration.”

Lapham on BookTV

You can e-mail questions to the show ahead of time, here.

Rumsfeld: Serene Ineptitude

A new book for you who are steeping yourself in lessons of the current incompetence:

Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, Andrew Cockburn, Scribner, 247 pages

Here’s a favorable review of a blistering attack on two people you will use to scare your grandchildren into good behavior with: Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

Martin Sieff’s Review

World Bank Bingo

Update below.

Wolfowitz is on his way out. Bush sent his hound dogs out into the bushes and flushed out Robert Zoellick. The rest of the hunting party is whooping and hollering, slapping high-fives. But:

Zoellick was forced out of his presidency of CSIS here in Washington, with the official reason being his too-overt politicking for then-Republican nominee George Bush. In reality, veterans of CSIS during that period will tell you, Zoellick had by that time made himself very unpopular with both the Board and his colleagues for some of the same problems which cropped up at USTR:

He has a terrible temper, he is “prone to tirades” – a daily dump on Japan generally, and its trade ministers specifically, came to be something of a ritual at USTR – and he has been known to keep “enemies lists”.

See Talking Points Memo for more.

For a friendlier view go to Steve Clemons at HuffPo

And back to bad with KOS. Zoellick was an InvadeEmNow partisan….

Update: More on Zoellick from the Independent

“In 1998 he was a signatory to the mission statements of the Project for the New American Century, which called for increased military budgets and the ousting of Saddam.”

Robert Weissman at HuffPo begins with snark but then asks questions of interest regarding the bank itself, and Zoellick’s probable relation to them, e.g.

– Will Zoellick oppose user fees for healthcare?

– Will he support robust public health systems that rely on public providers — not wishful thinking about HMO-style schemes delivering health care in developing countries?

– Will he abandon support for water privatization, which delivers profits to multinationals but raises costs to consumers and decreases quality of service?

Go to Weissman’s post for more questions, and links to supporting material.