Posts Tagged ‘torture

14
Nov
11

catching up

More at Mediaite

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The Supreme Court has announced that it will review President Obama’s health care law, setting the stage for a showdown over his signature legislative accomplishment months ahead of the 2012 election. Oral arguments are expected to take place this spring.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer: “Earlier this year, the Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to consider legal challenges to the health reform law and we are pleased the Court has agreed to hear this case. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses. We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”

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Mel Levine (former member of the US House of Representatives D-CA): Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan coined a famous phrase that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.” Apparently, the Republican candidates for president, led by former Governor Romney, have been so busy talking with each other that they have somehow developed an alternative universe of facts, one which both distorts President Obama’s record and disregards their own.

In a world in which the stakes of our foreign policy are so high, it is dangerous to ignore these distortions.

Gov. Romney recklessly and inaccurately misrepresents President Obama’s record of leadership in foreign policy in general. His disdain for the President Obama’s foreign policy conveniently ignores the president’s leadership in building international coalitions which have imposed exceptionally stiff sanctions on Iran and which have led to the destruction of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. It seems to forget that it is President Obama who led the effort to kill Osama bin Laden, who is keeping his promise to bring our troops home from Iraq by the end of this year, and who has broadened and deepened U.S.-Israeli defense cooperation so that it is stronger than ever before…..

Full article here

Thanks Tulips

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Rasmussen

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Slate: If you want to see more American jobs, do you want to hire a guy whose area of expertise seems to be making them disappear?

A new story in The New York Times scrutinizes one of Mitt Romney’s biggest arguments for being the next president: his business management experience. And the picture is not entirely pretty.

The former head of Bain Capital helped to acquire and sell some 150 companies before he became the governor of Massachusetts in 2003. One of those sales and acquisitions, that of medical company Dade International, left 1,700 American workers without jobs and a company worse off because of high fees paid to Romney and his associates and long-term debt, according to some former company officials.

Full article here

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Steve Benen: If it’s Sunday, it’s ‘Meet the GOP Talking Points’

“Meet the Press” host David Gregory spoke with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz … and the interview was pretty tough to watch …. When attention turned to debt-reduction efforts, Gregory said, simply as a matter of fact, that Republicans on the super-committee “did agree for tax increases that Democrats have not accepted this week,” and then tried to change the subject. The host wanted to leave viewers with the impression that GOP officials were making a good-faith offer….

…. What Gregory failed miserably to offer viewers was context and any of the relevant details…. I expect this on Fox News. “Meet the Press” is supposed to have higher standards.

And to top it off, the host inexplicably showed a clip of Obama from July 2008 talking about his desire to lower the deficit if elected. July 2008 – before the crash, before TARP, before the need for the Recovery Act, before Republicans demanded an extension of Bush-era tax breaks that they refused to pay for.

…. It was one of the worst interviews I’ve ever seen on “Meet the Press.”

Full post here

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Paul Begala (Daily Beast): …. today’s Republican Party is more the party of Sarah Palin’s defiant know-nothingness than the brainy conservatism of Bill Bennett. The GOP is a party of ideologues, not ideas.

…. even the smart Republicans have to at least play dumb. Mitt Romney, for example, has to pretend he doesn’t know what’s causing global warming. A few weeks ago he told an audience in Pittsburgh, “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” Hard to believe, because as recently as June of this year he said, “I believe, based on what I read, that the world is getting warmer. And No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that.” Romney’s new-and-not-improved position is a shameless pander to the know-nothings.

Same with evolution, where Republicans know they can earn applause by denouncing science. Apparently to run in today’s GOP you must believe, in the words of comedian Lewis Black, that “The Flintstones is a documentary.”

Full article here

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Video from MSNBC

Steve Benen: There was a BBC reality show I used to find interesting called “Faking It” …. I think of that show every time I watch Mitt Romney tackle foreign and national security policy. It’s clear the former one-term governor is dealing with a subject outside of his comfort zone – it’s equally clear he’s out of his depth – but Romney appears to have been given a crash course in the hopes he can fool people into thinking he’s competent.

For those who care about international affairs, Romney isn’t doing a very good job. Trusted reader F.B. flagged this segment from today’s “Morning Joe,” where a panel literally laughed at some of Romney’s saber-rattling towards Iran.

Note, in particular, that the BBC’s Katty Kay said she was “disappointed” by Romney’s remarks on Iran, because she thought he’d have “a more sophisticated understanding” of the issue.

That, in a nutshell, is one of Romney’s key rhetorical problems – he can fake it when it comes to giving the appearance of competence, which raises expectations, but the facade falls apart when anyone stops to consider the details…..

Full post here

13
Nov
11

“waterboarding is torture …. that’s not who we are”

Press conference, Hawaii, November 13

17
May
11

dumb and dumber

Greg Sargent: Takedown of the day: McCain aide Mark Salter, on Rick Santorum’s claim that McCain doesn’t know jack about torture:

“Ron Paul may be the wackiest candidate in the GOP field. But for pure, blind stupidity nobody beats Santorum. In my 20 years in the Senate, I never met a dumber member, which he reminded me of today.”

14
May
11

‘bin laden, the fringe left, and the torturous right’

Robert Shrum: The killing of the architect of September 11 has provoked predictable remonstrance from the usual suspects. Most Americans have reacted to the brave and brilliant operation that killed Osama bin Laden with pride and satisfaction. The predominant emotion — and this was a profoundly emotional moment — was not a sense of revenge for its own sake, but of renewed confidence in America’s capacity, relief that we no longer seemed helpless or hopeless in the pursuit of the world’s greatest mass murderer, and the simple belief, as Barack Obama expressed it, that “justice was done.”

There are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than the supposed violation of bin Laden’s civil liberties — or on the far opposite side of the ideological divide, a concocted vindication of torture glibly and opportunistically credited for the American success in tracking and taking him down. But such were the nearly instant, sadly predictable responses of those on the fringe Left who see bin Laden’s manner of dying as a blatant act of injustice, and from the neocons who want to use his death to justify their systematic and futile violation of both the law and basic standards of justice…….

…..The plain truth is that Bush failed to get bin Laden and Obama did. But nothing now seems immune from a politics of the absurd that too easily casts right as wrong, inverts reality, and pulls the extreme into mainstream dialogue. After a month in which Donald Trump was taken seriously, during a week in which Newt Gingrich declared his candidacy, at a time when the 2012 Republican anthem looks as if it might be “Bring in the Clowns,” perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the killing of bin Laden has provoked remonstrance from some on the Left and self-justification from too many on the Right.

The vast majority of Americans are where they should be — with the president and the SEALs. Barack Obama showed that a progressive Commander-in-Chief can command the heights of national security as Franklin Roosevelt,  Harry Truman, and John Kennedy did. That’s not just good for the president or his party, but for the country. So instead of muddled thinking about bin Laden’s Miranda rights, or a partisan rhetoric of redemption for past failure, the reflex critics and the false credit-takers at least ought to have the decency to grant us the sounds of their silence.

Full article here

11
May
11

oh, these people…..

10
May
11

3 to 1

Exactly the point Bobfr made at the weekend

08
May
11

fair and balanced!

ThinkProgress: One week after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the AP reports this afternoon on who we can expect to hear from on this week’s Sunday political talk shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — National security adviser Tom Donilon; Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Donilon; former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Donilon; Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; NATO’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“Fox News Sunday” — Donilon; former Vice President Dick Cheney.

That’s right. Despite the fact that President Obama gave the order to take down bin Laden, only one Obama administration official will take part in this Sunday’s festivities. By contrast, there are 5 former Bush administration officials making appearances. In total, 7 Republicans are on the networks this Sunday versus 2 Democrats. Torture apologists have been arguing this week that Bush’s torture program is responsible for getting bin Laden. Conveniently, this Sunday, some of the Bush administration officials involved in authorizing it will get their chance to defend themselves.

Steve Benen: ……by my count, nine Republicans from Congress or the Bush administration will be on this morning, as compared to three Democrats from Congress or the Obama administration. In other words, it’s a fairly typical Sunday – even after a major success story for a Democratic White House.

03
May
11

commie denies waterboarding worked! oh, wait….

Keith Olbermann: The GOP spin machine, caught with its Abu Ghraib pants down, has come up with only two rickety memes with which to pull itself out of the deep end of the political pool. The first was the simplest: “Obama merely finished what Bush began.”

But the second was a little more robust: The Peter King (R-Stupidity) claim mirrored by a tweeter who asked me: “how does it feel knowing Bin Laden courier was discovered under Bush admin & info was obtained in Gitmo?”

King: “We obtained that information through waterboarding. So for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, who say it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information, which directly led us to Bin Laden.”

Two problems with that. There is the unfortunate realization that if this information truly germinated during the Bush Administration, and truly came from waterboarding, that means The Bush Administration Had A Direct Link To Bin Laden Eight Years Ago And Either Didn’t Know It Or Didn’t Bother To Figure It Out.

Oops.

Wait, it gets worse. Guess who’s out tonight denying that waterboarding, or even “harsh treatment” led to the info that led to Bin Laden?

“It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”

That was said by Don Rumsfeld.

I’ll stop writing now so you can spend a few minutes laughing through your mouth, nose, ears, feet, and eyeballs.

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I don’t often (ever?) quote Olbermann, but this was utterly irresistible ;-)

14
Mar
11

flashback …. ‘torturer-in-chief’

Newsweek (January 2009): The End of Torture: Obama banishes Bush’s interrogation tactics

In the first sign of friction within his new administration, President Obama overruled the pleas of senior U.S. intelligence officials and signed a new executive order that bars the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods beyond those permitted by the U.S. military …The executive orders represented a clean break with Bush administration policies and won quick praise from human-rights groups….

In perhaps his most far-reaching and potentially controversial move, Obama ordered that the CIA immediately cease using any interrogation techniques that are not already authorized in the U.S. Army Field Manual. He also ordered the CIA to close, “as expeditiously as possible,” any secret detention facilities overseas and begin immediate compliance with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits “humiliating and degrading” treatment of prisoners.

The interrogation directive represents the sharpest departure from Bush-era policies and was the subject of vigorous internal debate among Obama advisers….….senior U.S. intelligence officials told Obama’s advisers that they still needed the flexibility to use some interrogation methods not permitted by the military … but in the end, Obama’s review team rejected their arguments and questioned the premise that such methods were necessary….

…In a stinging rebuke to Bush administration legal policies, Obama’s order states that U.S. government officials involved in interrogations may no longer rely on any Justice Department legal memos written between September 11, 2001, and Jan. 20, 2009. Such memos – many of them still secret and the subject of fierce controversy during the Bush years – were, with one stroke of Obama’s pen, made invalid.

Full article here




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