RachelWatch: Remember When Memos Used To Be Boring?


Today: Rachel goes spy, Dick Cheney goes transparent, and Ana Marie Cox has a fax for you.

The Insider

Rachel started off with the news that the luminaries who pioneered our nation’s innovative torture policy might come back under the rule of law after all. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering a special prosecutor, and to add fuel to the fire, the release of the torture memos has allowed officials who were once sworn to secrecy to start talking.

Rachel got the conversation going with Philip Zelikow, a former Bush State Department counselor and advisor to Condoleeza Rice, for a genuinely weird segment.

Zelikow found the memos to be a “radical, indefensible, unreasonable interpretation” of the law, and wrote his own memo saying so. The Bush administration responded as all organizations who know they are on firm legal ground do: By attempting to collect and destroy every copy.

So, um, yeah. The wide-eyed “Gee, willikers! We simply had no idea that waterboarding someone six times a day might be illegal!” story that’s been put out just got a wee bit shakier.

The clip is bizarre and fascinating. Zelikow is the one guy from inside the Bush administration I’ve seen show a flicker of moral outrage, and yet he’s being so careful and lawyerly here that it’s sort of mind-bending. It’s like he’s talking about a corporate merger that happens to involve a lot of stuffing people into boxes with insects.

Rachel runs an admirably tenacious interview, but she’s up against a guy who is intimately familiar with character defamation lawsuits. And who knows the people who might feel defamed are cool with slamming others into walls.

In Veep Trouble?

Dick Cheney used to travel with smoke bombs, tacks, and oil slicks to toss in the path or pursuing reporters, but lately he’s Mister Open.

Just flick to any news channel (well, almost) and you can see him doing his best approximation of what he thinks a smile might be as he whispers prophecies of the fiery doom that will befall us should we stop punching prisoners in the nards for even one second.

Lou Dubose, co-author of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, joined Rachel to marvel at the change of heart and use the excellent Southernism “whomperjawed.”

Dubose theorized that Cheney is trying to protect friends rather than the Vice-Presidential keister, saying, “I don’t think any of us envision anyone prosecuting a former President or Vice President.”

Yoo-hoo! Over here! I have a vision! Vision, hell: If you want, I’ll make a collage.

Ms. Information

Rachel reported that Al-Quaeda’s second-in-command has released a new video to let his followers know that they shouldn’t like Obama because he’s exactly like Bush, and that the United States should not start talks with Iran because he believes Iranians are infidels and are not true Muslims.

To recap: The Christian fringe right thinks one should be afraid of Obama because he’s a Muslim. The Muslim fringe right thinks one should be afraid of Obama because he’s not a Muslim, and has raised Iran.

Fringe right Buddhists? It’s your move.


Rachel warned us all that Barack Hussein Obama is going to take over the entire Internet!

But you can help with the Republican Majority Campaign and the magic of faxing! Oh, and a bunch of money!

Rachel welcomed Air America Radio’s Ana Marie Cox (hooray!) to talk about how the charge to send “blast faxes” seems a little steep. It’s not about price, ladies. It’s about value.

As Ms. Cox notes, it’s an interesting form of activism. And, given the technology we’re dealing with, it may also be a form of Activision.

This almost never happens, but I have spotted a flaw in Rachel’s logic. It’s true, as she points out, that you can reach every member of Congress via e-mail for free — BUT NOT IF OBAMA SHUTS DOWN THE INTERNET!

Ms. Maddow, I await your on-air correction.

Rachel Re:

Rachel filled up everyone’s Netflix queue while spinning an exciting true tale of spies, wiretapping, Congressional corruption, and a mysterious disappearing National Security investigation.

Until next time, keep your memos tame and your fax machines blasting.