After battling tougher nationwide rules for automobile emissions and mileage standards for years, today automakers will join the federal and state governments
and environmental activists and accept a
National Program that will mandate reduced carbon emissions and increased fuel
Put in place a federal standard for fuel efficiency that is as tough as the California program;
Imposing the first-ever limits on climate-altering gases from cars and trucks;
Create a car and light truck fleet in the United States that is almost 40 percent cleaner and more fuel-efficient -- average of 35.5 miles per gallon -- by 2016; and
Preserve vehicle diversity.
To accomplish all this, consumers will have to pay an extra $1,300 per vehicle.
Dave McCurdy, president and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says this is a new beginning:
What's significant about the announcement is it launches a new beginning, an era of cooperation. The President has succeeded in bringing three regulatory bodies, 15 states, a dozen automakers and many environmental groups to the table. We're all agreeing to work together on a National Program.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you single-handedly control an industry -- deciding who runs the company, forcing mergers and bankruptcies. It has only cost us $23 billion, so far, to prop up General Motors and Chrysler long enough to make this grand bargain. How much per vehicle has the auto industry bailout cost?
The extremists are seeking retribution by persecution because these lawyers concluded, after a legal review, the enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, did not violate the legal prohibition of torture.
Any discussion of the enhanced interrogation techniques must specify how Congress defined torture. According to Victoria Toensin, once chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, Congress defined torture in a 1994 criminal statute:
The 1994 law was passed pursuant to an international treaty, the United
Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. The law's definition of torture is circular. Torture under that law means "severe physical or mental pain or suffering," which in turn means "prolonged mental harm," which must be
caused by one of four prohibited acts. The only relevant one to the CIA inquiry was threatening or inflicting "severe physical pain or suffering." What is "prolonged mental suffering"? The term appears nowhere else in the U.S. Code.
Congress required, in order for there to be a violation of the law, that an interrogator specifically intend that the detainee suffer prolonged physical or mental suffering
as a result of the prohibited conduct. Just knowing a person could be injured from the interrogation method is not a violation under Supreme Court rulings interpreting "specific intent" in other criminal statutes.
Toensin also notes "the Senate rejected a bill in 2006 to make waterboarding illegal," a fact which "negates criminalization" of the interrogation method. Congress did not prohibit use of waterboarding until 2008.
Attorney General Holder has already made his mind up about the left's assertions that the legal authority justifying the CIA interrogation methods was more than wrong. Holder's prejudgment of this issue creates an appearance of a conflict of interest, which ought to cause Holder to recuse himself, as Attorney General John Ashcroft did in the Plame investigation.
Greta Van Susteren's "On the Record" had a great segment last night on Nancy Pelosi's war with the CIA. The following video also includes a four minute segment of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussing the impact President Obama's half-baked decision to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay:
On Fox News' "Special Report," Columnist Charles Krauthammer summed up the Pelosi's position this way:
"The charge that the C.I.A. lied to her is extremely serious one. She is now at war with the C.I.A., and it has the means by leaking selectively of destroying her, and I suspect it will do that....
Krauthammer may be right, but Speaker may have been left with no other option. After all, she backed herself into a corner with her nuanced parsing of her denial of never being told about waterboarding.
Those briefings gave me inaccurate and incomplete information.
The question for Pelosi remains: What did she know about the enhanced interrogation techniques, and when did she know it?
The Speaker has precious little credibility left concerning waterboarding. For weeks, Pelosi insisted she wasn't briefed about waterboarding. Then after a declassified report last week suggested otherwise, Pelosi claimed she pulled a John Kerry-like nuance and claimed she wasn't told that waterboarding was actually used. Now, after her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, confirmed that Pelosi was told in February 2003 that waterboarding was actually used on CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah, she claims the CIA lied. As the following video demoinstrates, if Pelosi truly objected to waterboarding, she was in a position to do something about it:
There is no record of Pelosi objecting to or taking action to prevent waterboarding until after the CIA stopped using the interrogation technique.
Pelosi's denials require even more nuance now that her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, confirms that Pelosi was told in February 2003 that waterboarding was actually used on CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah.
As the Democrat-controlled Senate conducts sanctimonious hearings on enhanced interrogation methods, several Senate Democrat leaders, including Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer, announced support for delaying any prosecutions of Bush administration interrogation methods until after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finishes investigating the issue.
This is a good time to recall what Schumer said abut torture at a June 8, 2004 Judiciary Committee hearing:
And I'd like to interject a note of balance here. There are times when we all get in high dudgeon. We ought to be reasonable about this. I think there are probably very few people in this room or in America who would say that torture should never, ever be used, particularly if thousands of lives are at stake. Take the hypothetical: If we knew that there was a nuclear bomb hidden in an American city and we believed that some kind of torture, fairly severe maybe, would give us a chance of finding that bomb before it went off, my guess is most Americans and most senators, maybe all, would say, ‘Do what you have to do.’So it's easy to sit back in the armchair and say that torture can never be used. But when you're in the foxhole, it's a very different deal.
Is it not peculiar that despite all the hullabaloo the Democrats now raise about the enhanced interrogation methods, there is no record of any ranking Congressional Democrat objecting to the interrogation techniques when the Congress critters were briefed about the methods?