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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 67,808

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Charles Pierce Asks GOP Candidates: "Are You Smarter Than A Bush Brother?"

Forward, Into The Past: Are You Smarter Than A Bush Brother?
In which we speculate our way into the past over the Iraq War.


The current brawl over the question Are You Smarter Than A Bush Brother?—the primary casualty of which so far has been an actual Bush brother—centers on the question of whether or not the bloody mayhem of the Iraq fiasco was "worth it" or not and, in addition, whether the current candidates would have committed the same blunders and/or the same crimes. The most popular answer seems to be that, given the "available intelligence," the current candidates would not have done the same thing, but they understand how C-Plus Augustus came to the conclusions he did, and that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and the world is better off without him. (The last part is extraordinarily arguable.) But, seriously, do you see anybody in the Republican field who would have been able to resist the war fever of the time, who would have been able to ignore the tidal wave of misinformation that came flooding out of the intelligence community? Certainly, it's possible that, back then, a Walker Administration might not have been chockful to the gunwales with neoconservative fantasts and the gremlins of the extended Cheney political family, but there's nothing that I've seen that indicates any of these guys would have done anything much differently. The country was primed and ready for war against somebody, somewhere, and Donald Rumsfeld was correct—there wasn't enough rubble to make bounce in Afghanistan. The question is not what you would do now, but would you have been able to control a reeling nation and an ambitious intelligence community back then. I see no reason to give any of them the benefit of the doubt.


Cheney's Halliburton Ties - Nobody gave a damn back in 2003

Double standards for dummies
by digby


Someone asked this morning if we wouldn't have been very upset if we'd heard that some old friend of Dick Cheney's had been working for the Bush charity and had some financial interest in Iraq and was sending Dick Cheney information that Cheney sent around to his staff and I nearly spit up my coffee I laughed so hard, recalling this story that virtually nobody gave a damn about back in 2003:

Cheney said Sunday on NBC that since becoming vice president, "I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."

Democrats pointed out that Cheney receives deferred compensation from Halliburton under an arrangement he made in 1998, and also retains stock options. He has pledged to give after-tax proceeds of the stock options to charity.

Cheney's aides defended the assertion on NBC, saying the financial arrangements do not constitute a tie to the company's business performance. They pointed out that Cheney took out a $15,000 insurance policy so he would collect the deferred payments over five years whether or not Halliburton remains in business.

Lautenberg, D-N.J., asked the Congressional Research Service to weigh in.

Without naming Cheney or Halliburton, the service reported that unexercised stock options and deferred salary "are among those benefits described by the Office of Government Ethics as 'retained ties' or 'linkages' to one's former employer."

Lautenberg said the report makes clear that Cheney does still have financial ties to Halliburton. "I ask the vice president to stop dodging the issue with legalese," Lautenberg said.

Cathie Martin, Cheney's spokeswoman, said the question is whether Cheney has any possible conflict of interest with Halliburton, "and the answer to that is, no."

Cheney was chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 through August 2000. The company's KBR subsidiary is the main government contractor working to restore Iraq's oil industry in an open-ended contract that was awarded without competitive bidding.

At last count Halliburton (KBR) made almost 40 billion dollars on those contracts once Dick got the job done. There was no need for middle men in that administration. The Vice President handled that stuff personally. And hey, it only resulted a few thousand American deaths, tens of thousands of American injuries, trillions in dollars, the total destabilization of the middle east and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. Whatevs.

I realize it's cheap to point out that there's a double standard. It's so obvious it's embarrassing. But the Village scribes are taking these little tips from the GOP oppo shop and running with them as if they're Watergate (again...) and it has to be pointed out to the younger generation that they are being used and when all is said and done their reputations will forever be tainted with this crap if they don't recognise what's going on. Jeff Gerth and his ilk may still be doing the right wing's dirty work and getting paid for it but everyone knows what he is. Any journalist who doesn't want to have an asterisk after his or her name should be very cautious about this stuff unless they are planning a career as one of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch's second string minions.


Breaking News: Hillary takes reporters' questions

May 19, 2015 Hillary Clinton found out Tuesday what happens when a presidential candidate goes almost a month without taking questions from the press: a literal feeding frenzy of reporters.

The former secretary of State faced a barrage of questions after a campaign event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and answered questions on topics ranging from Iraq to the Clinton Foundation to her family's wealth.


Here's what she said in response to the five press questions she answered:

On the release of her emails by the State Department:
Clinton said she hopes the State Department—which said this week that it will not have completed its review of her emails until January 2016—can "expedite the process" however possible. "I want them out as soon as they can get out," Clinton said, adding that she has asked the department to "please move as quickly as they possibly can."

On her relationship with Sidney Blumenthal: Clinton also answered a question about her relationship with Blumenthal, whom the New York Times reported sent her numerous memos about the security situation in Libya before the Benghazi attacks occurred. She defended her relationship with Blumenthal, saying "I have many old friends … I'm going to keep talking to my old friends no matter who they are."

On the Clinton Foundation and questions about its donors: "I am so proud of the Foundation. I'm proud of the work that it has done and that it is doing," she said, adding that she would "let the american people make their own judgments about that."

On whether the invasion of Iraq was a mistake: Clinton has previously said her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war was a mistake, and she reiterated that Tuesday as the issue has come back into the headlines in recent days. "I've made it very clear that I made as mistake, plain and simple, and I have written about it in my book, talked about it in the past, and you know what we now see is a different and very dangerous situation."

On her personal wealth and whether regular Americans can "relate" to her: Clinton, asked about her personal wealth after personal financial disclosure forms revealed that she and her husband made $25 million in speaking fees since 2014, said both of them remember their roots. "Obviously, Bill and I have been blessed and we're very grateful for the opportunities that we had, but we've never forgotten where we came from and never forgotten the kind of country we want to see for our granddaughter," she said. "And that means that we're going to fight to make sure that everybody has the same chances to live up to his or her own god given potential."



Graham's America: "I'm not going to call a judge, I'm going to call a drone and we will kill you"

Soon-to-be presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) could be heard laughing on Saturday as he told a crowd of Iowa Republicans that if an American were suspected of associating with terrorists, he would order a drone to kill that person.

"If I'm President of the United States and you're thinkin' about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL — anybody thinkin' about that? — I'm not going to call a judge, I'm going to call a drone and we will kill you," Graham said at the Iowa Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser.

Audio of the remark was captured by NPR.



FRONTLINE: How George W. Bush and Dick Cheney brought torture to America

Tonight, Frontline will air a documentary called Secrets, Politics, and Torture, directed by Michael Kirk, about how President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney institutionalized torture in American politics and government.


The first was the crushing ideological pressure to torture that came from the top of the Bush administration. The most striking example of this came directly after 9/11, when al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was captured. Since the CIA had zero personnel with experience in interrogation, the FBI was initially brought in. Ali Soufan, a highly experienced interrogator and Muslim who speaks fluent Arabic, took charge of the questioning. He deployed the traditional police model, which focuses on building rapport and a criminal case. Almost immediately, Zubaydah gave up Khalid Sheik Mohammad as a member of al Qaeda.


The second development occurred when the torture bill came due. The Abu Ghraib torture scandal was a colossal stain on Bush's legacy, and by late 2005 much of the administration had turned against the CIA program. Then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice led a push inside the administration to announce an official stop to the program. At a high-level meeting in the White House, everyone but Cheney agreed with Rice, and she seemed to have won. A speech was arranged.

But as happened so often in the Bush administration, Cheney went to Bush personally afterward, and convinced him that Rice was wrong. Rice went to the speech expecting Bush to disavow "enhanced interrogation," but instead he embraced it, and claimed it had produced valuable intelligence (it hadn't).


Finally, unrepentant and unpunished CIA torturers, defensively looking to clear their names and reputations, inserted pro-torture agitprop into the Hollywood blockbuster Zero Dark Thirty. Acting on extensive CIA interviews, director Katherine Bigelow conveyed the strong impression that torture is what led to the killing of Osama bin Laden:


As a result, it's very likely America will torture again.

Cheney weighs in....."Dammit! Duh!"

and, more ick:
Coming soon from Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz:
Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America.


Flint man accused of waterboarding 5-year-old charged with child abuse

Flint man accused of waterboarding 5-year-old charged with child abuse
by Stephanie Parkinson
Posted: 05.18.2015 at 12:01 PM

A Flint man was arraigned in court today on multiple charges of child abuse after police say he performed waterboarding on a 5-year-old boy.

30-year-old Michael Porter has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, second degree child abuse, second degree child abuse in the presence of another child, assault with a dangerous weapon, and third degree child abuse.

Porter is accused of restraining his girlfriend's five-year-old son with belts, leaning him back over a footstool and pouring water on the boy's face, which was covered in underwear. This is known as "waterboarding" and simulates drowning. Police say this was done because the child ripped his backpack.

Both the five-year-old and his 12-year-old brother have been removed from the home.

I guess in today's America, this is ok?:

While our politicians duck for cover, i can't help but think of the tragedy of lives


This data is based on 37,793 database entries from the beginning of the war to 1 Feb 2014, and on monthly preliminary data from that date onwards. Preliminary data is shown in grey when applicable, and is based on approximate daily totals in the Recent Events section prior to full analysis. The full analysis extracts details such as the names or demographic details of individuals killed, the weapons that killed them and location amongst other details. The current range contains 14,010–14,606 deaths (10%–9.3%, a portion which may rise or fall over time) based on single-sourced reports.

Graphs are based on the higher number in our totals. Gaps in recording and reporting suggest that even our highest totals to date may be missing many civilian deaths from violence.




and American lives too:

i could post all day on this:

to hell with Bushco & his war


Attention Journalists: You're NOT An Indispensable Part Of The Presidential Campaign

Campaign reporters: you are granted no “role in the process.”

It is your powers against theirs.

There is no guaranteed “role.”

That’s a fiction you and your colleagues created to keep the game the same every four years.

Jay Rosen's right. The "press" (#notallpress) have this weird notion that they are an indispensable part of the choreography that is modern presidential politics. They aren't. They have no established and designated "role" in this process. And much of their whining about "access" is basically whining that they aren't the first people to get the equivalent of press releases. I mean scoops!

I'm all for journalism, but holding the microphone or printing the release isn't journalism. It's just being a middleman. And it's always good for everybody if we cut out the middlemen.


Compare: “We’ll just leave a big block of white space next to your name, okay?” vs. “Answer our questions because that’s part of the process.” Or Swisher’s “somehow I write” vs. “Hey, the role of the media in this process is…”

Look: I think candidates should engage with the press and answer tough questions, reducing the importance of any single encounter with journalists by having lots of them. The fact that they increasingly don’t is partly a sign of the news media’s diminished hold on the audience and partly a sign of weak and overly cautious candidates intimidated by a staff that preserves its own power by controlling access and message. A more freewheeling style might serve some candidates equally well, but the handlers would become less important that way so they argue against it. Shutting off almost all access has become the accepted way to win. It is not necessarily a better way to win, but it is far better for a risk-adverse staff, and consultants who make money off advertising. It also persuades weak candidates that they’re fine as they are. Of course none of that matters, because timid candidates, controlling staff and an over-the-top messaging system is what we have.

Nothing about the political press makes it an inherent “part of the process.” The sooner that fiction is abandoned the better off producers of campaign coverage will be. You have to compete. Or as Jack Nicholson says in The Departed: “No one gives it to you. You have to take it.”


a strict time-out for brawling.


Behold the true thugs:

Check out the cell phones and smokes while they wait for the cops to process them. No rides in the paddy wagon for them. Just sit on the curb and wait until nice Mr. Policeman has a moment to process you.



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