Friday, April 24, 2009

Don't Torture Me, Bro...

Paul Krugman
Philip Zelikow
Eugene Robinson

“Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” - Barack Obama

"The ugliness is already there, and pretending it isn’t won’t make it go away." - Paul Krugman

"Yet the main rationale for using extreme methods is to save time" - Philip Zelikow

" Go f**k yourself..." - Dick Cheney

I got this fun story from The Guardian, about a couple of New Guinea tribesmen suing the New Yorker over their portrayal in an article by Jared Diamond: " abstract still carried by the magazine's website bills it as a work of anthropology. It explores the story of a New Guinean highlander whose uncle was killed in a battle against a neighbouring clan and who thus felt duty-bound to seek revenge.

The tribesman named in the article is Daniel Wemp, a member of the Handa clan, who is one of the two individuals that have brought the lawsuit. In the New Yorker he is said to have prosecuted his public fight over three years, at the cost of 29 lives in the course of six battles and the theft of 300 pigs.

The other man listed in the legal action is Henep Isum Mandingo, who Wemp is said in the article to have held responsible for his uncle's murder. According to Diamond, Mandingo was shot in the back with an arrow, leaving him paralysed and in a wheelchair

The whole story about the New Yorker article's mistakes can be found at the web site Stinky Journalism

Poor Dick Cheney, he's feeling so unloved lately. How else can we describe the rash of interviews he's been giving to the media? Other than he may be scrambling trying to keep from eventually going to jail or tried for treason... Even his daughter felt compelled to go on MSNBC and defend her old man: ‘I think he feels compelled to make clear why, particularly related to national security issues, it is so important that we don’t abandon those policies and that we remember the fact that we are at war,’ [daughter Liz] Cheney said Thursday. ‘When he sees the current administration making decisions that he believes are making the nation less safe, he does not believe there is any obligation under those circumstances to be silent.’”

“At a time when his party has no high-profile leaders on Capitol Hill, Mr. Cheney is in effect the ranking Republican speaking out against Mr. Obama. His message has been amplified — on television, in op-ed pieces and elsewhere — by an informal band of supporters, including Ms. Cheney.” It's weird, here's a man that kept everything super secret, he had the old escape tunnels that led from his house to under the Potomac refurbished so they were more than a historical footnote, then had the image of the Vice Presidential house blurred out on images from Google Earth, and now that he's out of office and is spending too much time brooding over the past few years, we can't get rid of him or get him to shut up... Even Meghan McCain is complaining about him on The View, which is why he felt compelled to trot out his daughter to go to bat for him.

It's all about the torture memos the Justice Department has released, and gotten everyone's underwear bunched up. The furor won't die down with more pictures being released this week, and until something is established to investigate all of the charges and come to some kind of official settlement, either by committee or by court. Cheney thinks that requesting and releasing certain reports from the CIA will vindicate him as a tough, patriotic guy and not some cowardly sadistic bastard that filed for deferments five times over...

It looks like most of the problem stems back to the Bush administration wanting to shoehorn facts to fit their argument that the 9/11 attacks and al-Qaeda were linked to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The CIA didn't have any spies or information on the area, so they began torturing the first people they captured to get quick results, for example, waterboarding a suspect 183 times in one month... From CQ Politic's Spytalk: "When interrogation subjects coughed up some seemingly vital new information about new plots or al Qaeda personalities, the CIA had few means to check it against reports supplied by spies under its control, either in the terrorist group or elsewhere.

Everything they were hearing was new. By many accounts interrogators slapping suspects like hamburger patties didn't have a clue whether they were telling the truth. They didn't have independent sources of information to know what was up.

... As for CIA headquarters officials reportedly ordering interrogators to go back and hammer subjects again and again, even after they'd been milked dry, Faddis asked, "Why were they hanging desperately on every word they could wring out of the detainees?"

Because, he said, the agency didn't have much coming in from other sources -- spies -- and they were desperate to prevent another att

The problem we now face, is how to go about investigating. Do we respect the rule of law and prosecute those responsible, or do we find some convenient scapegoats like the low level CIA operatives or Army guards like we did at Abu Ghraib, who are still in jail? Even former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib prison and had to let in the outside special interrogators, expressed her frustration on MSNBC over Bush apologists who are defending "hard interrogation techniques" now, but were silent about accountability for torture at Abu Ghraib five years ago. Eugene Robinson sums it up in the Washington Post: "I don't know what more we'll find out if a blue-ribbon investigative panel of some kind is formed. But what we already know is enough to ensure that sooner or later, the abusive interrogation methods authorized by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other officials are going to be measured against the law. Our system, left to its own devices, is not designed to let illegal acts be revealed and then ignored.

From the viewpoint of the Obama administration, the alternatives may be unattractive or even unacceptable. No one wants to see low-ranking CIA interrogators go down for doing what their superiors told them was legal, especially if the superiors are not held to account. But pursuing criminal charges against the highest-ranking officials of the previous administration would be unprecedented, and it is unclear where such a process might lead."

I found this satire that Bill Maher wrote in the LA Times: "Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota recently said she fears that Obama will build "reeducation" camps to indoctrinate young people. But Obama hasn't made any moves toward taking anyone's guns, and with money as tight as it is, the last thing the president wants to do is run a camp where he has to shelter and feed a bunch of fat, angry white people.

Look, I get it, "real America." After an eight-year run of controlling the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, this latest election has you feeling like a rejected husband. You've come home to find your things out on the front lawn -- or at least more things than you usually keep out on the front lawn. You're not ready to let go, but the country you love is moving on. And now you want to call it a whore and key its car.

That's what you are, the bitter divorced guy whose country has left him -- obsessing over it, haranguing it, blubbering one minute about how much you love it and vowing the next that if you cannot have it, nobody will.

But it's been almost 100 days, and your country is not coming back to you. She's found somebody new. And it's a black guy.

The healthy thing to do is to just get past it and learn to cherish the memories. You'll always have New Orleans and Abu Ghraib.

And if today's conservatives are insulted by this, because they feel they're better than the people who have the microphone in their party, then I say to them what I would say to moderate Muslims: Denounce your radicals. To paraphrase George W. Bush, either you're with them or you're embarrassed by them.

The thing that you people out of power have to remember is that the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public."

Late night jokes:

"Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, once two of the most powerful men in this country, are now suffering from Balzheimer's disease. Why didn't I see it before? Balzheimer's is a terrible illness that attacks the memory and gives its victims the balls to attack others for things they themselves made a career of. There is no known cure." --Jon Stewart (Watch video clip)

"Hey, I thought this was nice. To celebrate Earth Day, a group of schoolchildren in Washington each planted a hair plug in Joe Biden's head." --Jay Leno

"Even Dick Cheney was into Earth Day. Did you see what he said today? He called for the use of only recycled water when waterboarding prisoners." --Jay Leno

"Well, here's an interesting study. Researchers in Britain announced today that global warming is caused in part by overweight people. They say obese people release more carbon dioxide into the air. No, this is real. This is real. See, all this time you used to think it was caused by coal-burning factories. Turns out it was Cheesecake Factories." --Jay Leno

"Next month in Toronto, Canada, former President George W. Bush will debate former President Bill Clinton. The question of the debate -- is it worse to lie to your wife or lie to the entire country?" --Jay Leno

"No, this is big. They're billing the debate as 'the corn dog versus the horn dog.'" --Jay Leno

"Former President George W. Bush said today he does not remember seeing any of those torture memos. But to be fair, to Bush, any memo on his desk was torture. 'I'm not readin' that.'" --Jay Leno

"During an interview with The New York Post, Rudy Giuliani said that he is against gay marriage. He feels marriage should be between a man, a woman, the other woman, and the other woman he met after that." --Jay Leno

"The Justice Department says they want to make an example of this Somali pirate guy. And I thought, really? In terms of making an example, I don't think you can do much better than shooting the other three guys in the head." --David Letterman

"Speaking of things like that, classified documents that were recently released show that Dick Cheney, who a couple of years ago went nuts and shot a guy, ordered Khalid Shaikh Mohammed waterboarded 183 times. When do you suppose Mohammed caught on and said, 'I know this is just horse play'?" --David Letterman

"But anyway, they waterboarded Mohammed 183 times, and thanks to the information they got from this guy, via waterboarding, we were able to capture bin Laden." --David Letterman

"President Obama has kind of a happier outlook on torture. He says instead of waterboarding terrorists, he's going to put them in dunk tanks." --David Letterman

"But Dick Cheney is now criticizing President Obama, and he's saying that his recent actions around the world are 'disturbing' and 'not helpful.' Yeah, yeah, things were so much better when Cheney was president, weren't they?" --David Letterman


  1. Let's go surfin' now
    Everybody's learnin' how
    Do some waterboardin' with me!

  2. YEAH!

    I got a '59 waterboard
    that I use with a hoodie,
    It's not very cherry
    but an oldie but a goodie...


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