Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 03/05/11

Laugh? He Almost Told The Truth!

Hey, you dig that Barack Obama? He's one helluva fellah, yeah? I mean, extrajudicial killings, funding terrorist régimes, undermining the rule of international law? He's just one awesome regular guy, right?

He's one heck of a stand-up comedian, too. Here he is at the White House Correspondents' Dinner the other night (before his victory in single-handed non-combat in Abbottabad).

(The link to the clip is here; I'm not going to bother embedding the thing).

Chuckle as he takes the Birthers on at their own game! Hoot as he explains very clearly to the Fox News table that what they have just seen is a joke! And howl with hilarity as he sends the ego of that über-Clown of Capitalism Donald Trump crashing to the ground!

But, I beg you, save your most gale-force of guffaws for this little bit near the end:

"In the last months, we've seen journalists threatened, arrested, beaten, attacked, and in some cases even killed, simply for doing their best to bring us The Story, to give people a voice, and to hold leaders accountable. And through it all, we've seen daring men and women risk their lives for the simple idea that no-one should be silenced, and everyone deserves to know the truth."

Yeah! Go Barry! Saturday Night Live is on the phone!


...there is one young man who, whilst not a journalist, adhered to these same high principles. When he saw the casual inhumanity being committed by those who claimed to represent his country (inhumanity up to and including sheer merciless murder), and when he saw the way in which attempts were made right to the very top of the power structure to excuse, to exonerate, even to hide outright that same corruption; when he saw that, he decided that his conscience was of more importance than his career, even his 'freedom'. And so he (allegedly - still an important word here) committed himself to revealing The Story, to giving a voice to the people without a voice, and to holding his country's leaders accountable for their actions.

His reward? Not to be praised and buttered-up at a glitzy event, and certainly not to be commended for his principles as being the epitome of what America The Beautiful, America The Brave is all about.

No. His reward has been to be placed in a military prison for nearly a year, during which time he has been held in solitary confinement; deprived of even the most basic of his human dignities in order to either extract a forced 'confession' from him or to break him in body, mind or both; had charge upon footling charge piled upon his head (each of which carrying a sentence which would put this twenty-three-year-old in prison for the rest of his life); and where the self-same President who spouted the pious cack I've quoted above has pronounced him guilty before there has even been anything approximating to a trial. And now this young man has been transferred to yet another 'facility' where - or so it is claimed - he will be able to 'associate' with other prisoners, with the Department of Defense no doubt hoping that some fucked-up Marine Corps grunt with PTSD will do what his captors don't quite have the nerve to try to get away with doing themselves.

And all this from a President who came into office stating that those who reveal wrongdoing amongst the powerful were of vital importance in a 'free', 'democratic' society.

That courageous young man's name is Bradley Manning, Private First Class, United States Army. And, Mr President Improv, his conscience and ethics, his rights, his freedom are at least as important as yours.

You can stop laughing now...