The First Liar

Whoops, sorry, the First Lady was on the Today show today, interviewed by Meredith Viera.  I thought that Viera did a nice job, among other things, pointing out that with Laura's approval over 60% and her husband's hovering around 40% or lower, it certainly makes sense for the First Lady to be the more visible face of the administration in the fall Congressional campaign.  Not surprising, when almost all endangered Republicans are distancing themselves from the President as if he were the plague.  Amazing all the “independent” minded Republicans out there running for reelection. 

Anyway, Laura Bush simply showed that she can parrot the President's talking points about torture (i.e., lies) as well as anyone.  “We don't torture, we don't believe in torture.”  Yet this is just what the President is fighting for– the ability to continue using torture.  She further continued about how the president just wants “clarity,” when, in fact, he seeks the exact opposite.  I cannot help thinking of Orwell's 1984 as I hear the daily inversion of reality from the White House.  War is
Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
   Dahlia Lithwick has it all figured out:

I suspect that the Bush administration doesn't
seek to clarify the definition of torture so much as to confound it.
The whole objective of defining, refining, and then redefining the
rules has become an end in itself. It keeps our attention trained where
the president wants it: on the assertion that old bans on torture don't
work and that this conflict is unlike any conflict contemplated under
existing international law. All this murk and confusion has begun to be
the object of the game and not a casualty of it.

I once
suggested in the context of presidential signing statements that legal
obfuscation is enormously attractive to President Bush. It means all
but the most highly credentialed law professors and government lawyers
are constantly confused; it means subsequent legal claims that
interrogators “did not know that the practices were unlawful” have real
credibility. And perhaps, most importantly to this White House, it
obscures where things have gone awry up and down the chain of command.
One possibility, then, is that all these eleventh-hour redefinitions of
torture are presidential attempts to “afford brutality the cloak of
law,” in the words of Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. But
increasingly, it seems clear that its real purpose is simply to
brutalize the law.

For someone who was supposed to “restore integrity to the White House” a little honesty would not hurt. 

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United 93

I don't think I've done a movie review here, yet, but I just had to share my thoughts on United 93.  This was a brilliant film.  Emotionally, it was difficult to watch, but as a piece of filmmaking, I thought it was extraordinary.  I cannot imagine a film coming closer to giving an average viewer a sense of being inside events on 9/11.  I know my blood pressure was elevated the entire length of the film.  In the latter moments, as the brave souls on United 93 prepared to make their heroic stand, my heart was pounding.  This was one of the handful of films I've seen where I also felt it worthwhile to listen to the entire director's commentary on DVD.  Paul Greengrass is brilliant and it was fascinating to hear how the movie's intense realism was created (hour-long takes is one example) and all the thought and care that went into every last detail.  I realize that this movie may just be too much for some, but if that does not apply to you, this is a movie you definitely should see. 

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