The Watering Hole, Monday, April 7th, 2014: Torture

Over the past month or so, there’s been a lot of talk about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the previous administration’s CIA torture program (oh, excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques”.) Chair of the Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused the CIA of accessing Congressional computers and deleting memos and other evidence. Last week brought the news that Senator Feinstein is pushing to have the results of the report made public, in order to “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted…”

Cue the attacks, specifically on FauxNews: First, former CIA Director Michael Hayden questions Senator Feinstein’s possible “motivation for the report” is “emotional.” An excerpt from the ThinkProgress article:

“Citing specifically Feinstein’s line about not using such techniques again, Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the Senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”

A surprised Chris Wallace asked,

“…You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?” Hayden did not respond specifically to Wallace’s question, but rather said simply that only portions of the report had been leaked but it did not tell the whole story.”

Despite whatever Hayden believes the “whole story” to be, the portions that have been leaked seem to be quite detailed and very damning, as discussed in this March 31st article from WaPo.

“Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.””

It does not seem possible that Hayden’s “whole story” could in any way mitigate the fact that torture was systematically used, both here and abroad at “black sites”, supposedly in the name of our “security.”

From the Washington Post article on Hayden’s “emotional” characterization:

“Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) might have compromised the objectivity of a report on CIA interrogation techniques because she personally wants to change them…Hayden suggested Feinstein feels too strongly about the issue on an “emotional” level.”

Feinstein struck back at Hayden’s comments later Sunday by calling her committee’s forthcoming report “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits.”

In a statement, Feinstein noted that the committee’s investigation began in 2009 and the report’s conclusions “came from documents provided by the CIA and the result is a comprehensive history of the CIA program. The only direction I gave staff was to let the facts speak for themselves.”

“I believe last week’s 11-3 vote to declassify the report demonstrates that both sides agree that Americans should see the facts and reach their own conclusions about the program,” she added.

Raw Story tells it slightly differently:

“Yeah,” Hayden replied dismissively, noting that a Washington Post columnist had reported that “Sen. Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.” [Emphasis mine, in that I have been unable to find to which “Washington Post columnist” Hayden is referring, nor any such reporting that Senator Feinstein had directed how “scathing” the report should be.]

“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden opined. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”… ““You’re asking me about a report that I have no idea of its contents,” Hayden admitted.

[The notion that Hayden has “no idea of” the report’s “contents” seems pretty ludicrous; regardless of his professed ignorance, it didn’t stop him from attacking the Senator for one moment.]

Raw Story also provides us with cyborg former Vice-President Cheney’s reaction, which also sparked an invitation from Senator Angus King (I-ME) to have Cheney waterboarded:

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney told college television station ATV last week. “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture.”

“If I would have to do it all over again, I would,” he insisted. “The results speak for themselves.”

Sorry, the report’s results do speak for themselves:

“A report that has been completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, however, has found that the CIA misled the government and misstated the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation program. The report concluded that the CIA lied when it said it had gotten “otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives.”

“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” Senator King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”

And finally Cheney’s spawn, Liz, reliably shouts “Benghazi!” Again from Raw Story:

“Fox News contributor Liz Cheney on Sunday argued that a United States Senate report on Bush-era torture was “political” and that lawmakers should spend more time investigating President Barack Obama’s role in failing to prevent terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

“If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,” the former vice president’s daughter said on a Sunday morning Fox News panel. “You’ve got to be willing to say how many American lives would you have been willing to put at risk because you didn’t want to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”

“Fox News political analyst Juan Williams quipped that Liz Cheney was the “good daughter,” but the American people had a right to know what the CIA was doing in their name, and if the techniques were effective.

“I want to start by agreeing with Juan,” Liz Cheney shot back. “That we need more congressional oversight… of Benghazi, for example.”

She added that the Senate did not produce a “fair report” because it was “written entirely by Democratic staffers.”

“The Republicans wouldn’t participate!” Williams replied. “People not only wouldn’t cooperate, [the CIA] tried to spy on the U.S. Senate.”

Liz Cheney concluded by saying that she had “missed Juan” during her absence from Fox News for a failed Senate run in Wyoming.

[Yeah, how’d that work out for ya, Lizzie? Finally found out that no one in your home state likes you?]

A couple of the commentors on that Daily Kos thread could have helped Juan Williams bitch-slap that she-devil:

JW: I got a better idea Liz, why don’t we focus on the 22 embassy attacks that happened under your daddy’s watch.

bplewis24:

[Quoting Liz Cheney] “If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,”…Yes. I am fully willing to accept the consequences of that. Reports tend to tell us there are no real consequences of it, but even if there were, that’s the “sacrifice” I’m willing to make in order to live in a civilized world.

I think that I would just go with what Sheppard Smith once blurted out “emotionally”: “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DON’T FUCKING TORTURE!”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 12th, 2012: Funny, or Frightening?

Last night on Rachel Maddow, Rachel did a segment about the Washington Post article on today’s Dick Cheney-hosted fundraiser for Mitt Romney. Rachel’s point, demonstrated by various quotes, was (more or less) that the article was just pap being spoon-fed to WaPo by the Romney campaign. After reading the entire article, I understood why. Some of the quotes from the article and from various spokesmen are laugh-out-loud ridiculous:

“By hosting the fundraiser, the former vice president — who in his retirement remains a powerful leader of foreign policy neoconservatives yet a deeply polarizing figure outside of the Republican base — will make his grandest gesture to pass a torch to Romney.”

“Deeply polarizing”?! Ya think? Cheney left office with a 13% approval rating; by all logic, even though Cheney has longtime connections in the upper eschelons of politics, corporate power, oil, oil, and more oil, Romney should avoid Cheney like the plague…yeah, right. And what’s this “grandest gesture” crap – Cheney never even made a “grand” gesture, how could his “pass[ing] a [completely non-existent yet still untouched by Cheney’s hands] torch” be Cheney’s “grandest” gesture?

“…former congressman Vin Weber (Minn.), a veteran of the Bush-Cheney campaigns and a senior policy adviser to Romney, said, “At the broader advisory level, everybody who was around Cheney and Bush are around Romney.” He added. “They want him to win. And it’s inevitable that they’d have some influence, because they have the most recent Republican expertise in running the government.”

Yeah, “the most recent Republican expertise in running the government” INTO THE GROUND! Yeesh, they think that this is a plus for Romney? Actually, that quote is both funny and scary: “…everybody who was around Cheney and Bush are around Romney, and it’s inevitable that they’d have some influence”?? Oh dear. If Romney wins the election (bite my tongue), would we be in for another Cheney puppet show?

“Where Cheney’s beliefs and policies are rooted in conservative ideology, Romney’s tend to be driven by analytical problem-solving.”

Now, that’s a knee-slapper: Cheney’s “beliefs and policies are rooted” in greed and lust for power. Second, anyone who believes that Mitt Romney is an “analytical problem-solv[er] must have never heard Romney attempt to speak about policy…any policy.

Last, but IMHO the funniest:

“One George W. Bush administration official who has worked closely with Cheney and Romney said they are “very different.”

“They’re both very probing personalities in the context of policy discussions. They don’t let up. They really drill down. They’re both very smart and curious intellectually. [emphasis mine]” [T]he official…spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank.”

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On the other hand, I found a few bits of information to be interesting and oddly disturbing. Maybe it’s just me…you may have different reactions.

First, this one snippet was rather startling, and made me stop and think back:

“…Richard B. Cheney, the living thread connecting the past five GOP presidencies.”

Jeebus, Dick Cheney has been manipulating our country for his own interests since 1969? Here’s a brief summary from Wikipedia on just his early White House career:

“Cheney’s political career began in 1969, as an intern for Congressman William A. Steiger during the Richard Nixon Administration. He then joined the staff of Donald Rumsfeld, who was then Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity from 1969–70.[14] He held several positions in the years that followed: White House Staff Assistant in 1971, Assistant Director of the Cost of Living Council from 1971–73, and Deputy Assistant to the president from 1974–1975. As deputy assistant, Cheney suggested several options in a memo to Rumsfeld, including use of the US Justice Department, that the Ford administration could use to limit damage from an article, published by The New York Times, in which investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported that Navy submarines had tapped into Soviet undersea communications as part of a highly classified program, Operation Ivy Bells.[20][21]

Cheney was Assistant to the President under Gerald Ford. When Rumsfeld was named Secretary of Defense, Cheney became White House Chief of Staff, succeeding Rumsfeld.[14] He later was campaign manager for Ford’s 1976 presidential campaign.[22]”

Keeping in mind this factoid that Dick Cheney has been involved in five GOP administrations from Nixon on, add in the following tidbit:

“…the hosts also include…Cheney’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, a former State Department official.”

Am I being cynical, or could it be that Dick might be: A) making sure that he is connected to a sixth GOP administration; and/or B) grooming Liz to follow in daddy’s footsteps? Of course, that “former State Department official” job (wink, wink) under Bush/Cheney has already gotten Liz started with her own GOP presidential ‘firsties.’ (shudder) Now there’s a truly scary thought.

This is our daily open thread — c’mon, don’t be shy, say what you think!

Rewriting history…

Wow.. Liz Cheney has now joined her dad in this push to totally rewrite history – either that, or they don’t have a TV set or a VCR to play back all the tapes of what they said and did in the first place.. And a really short memory.. Such a valiant attempt at distorting the words they used, and changing their meanings.. And to create confusion..

It is so bizarre to listen to these people going on TV, trying to totally change what was said and done, and their justifications for it. Honestly.. Who do they think they are fooling? It is just a continuation of their treating Americans like they are idiots.

Rachel Maddow interviews Michael Isikoff (author of “Hubris“) to discuss this media blitz the Cheneys are on. He tells Rachel that it is about Dick Cheney’s standing in history.

Well, the only standing I want from Dick Cheney is in front of The Hague, in an orange jumpsuit, in shackles and on his way to prison for the rest of his life, for all the war crimes he is responsible for committing, and for all the damage he has done to this country and our Constitution. 

Is that TOO much to hope for? Accountability?

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May 12th In a Hundred Seconds & The Eruption Over Miss California Decision

The David Schuster segment where he is talking about “Can I vomit right now,” pertains to the Miss California decision – she gets to keep her crown. The video is below the fold.

Schuster has a feisty discussion with Contessa & Tamron over the issue.  He furthers states:

“Doesn’t this represent everything that is wrong with the superficial nature of these pageants?  She talked about how woman can make a difference in the world, she lied, and avoided taking personal responsibility.  She blamed others – whether it was Perez Hilton or the photographers – and then she whined about all the attention she received.”

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