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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 6,259

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Michael Hayden Defends 'Rectal Rehydration' as a 'medical procedure'

Just how fucking sick ARE these people? (video at link)

Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 10:58 AM (22 replies)

From Washingtoon's charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

"Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any . . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

- George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 10:34 AM (1 replies)

An analysis of the FULL text of the President's 8/1/14 statement about the torture report

All this discussion of taking the President's words out of context led me to go to whitehouse.gov to get the full text of his Aug. 1 remarks on the subject Lest anyone accuse me of omitting critical context, I've even included the banter that occurred before his statement. I have taken the liberty of numbering the paragraphs of the president's statement from the point at which he begins his uninterrupted statement for the purpose of referencing those paragraphs in my discussion below:

Q What about John Brennan?

Q Africa summit?

THE PRESIDENT: I will address two points. I’ll address --

Q And Flight 17?

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on, guys. Come on. There’s just --

Q And Africa.

THE PRESIDENT: (1) You're not that pent up. I’ve been giving you questions lately.

(2) On Brennan and the CIA, the RDI report has been transmitted, the declassified version that will be released at the pleasure of the Senate committee.

(3) I have full confidence in John Brennan. I think he has acknowledged and directly apologized to Senator Feinstein that CIA personnel did not properly handle an investigation as to how certain documents that were not authorized to be released to the Senate staff got somehow into the hands of the Senate staff. And it’s clear from the IG report that some very poor judgment was shown in terms of how that was handled. Keep in mind, though, that John Brennan was the person who called for the IG report, and he’s already stood up a task force to make sure that lessons are learned and mistakes are resolved.

(4) With respect to the larger point of the RDI report itself, even before I came into office I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.

(5) I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.

(6) But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that's what that report reflects. And that's the reason why, after I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report.

(7) And my hope is, is that this report reminds us once again that the character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard. And when we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line. And that needs to be -- that needs to be understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that, hopefully, we don't do it again in the future.

So, let's examine this a bit, shall we?

First, he states his full confidence in John Brennan, after Brennan had outright lied to the Senate and CIA personnel attempted to interfere with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation. That expression of full confidence is, by itself, hard enough to wrap one's head around. The suggestion that Brennan's acknowledgement that things were "improperly handled" and his personal apology to Feinstein were an adequate response after the agency he heads was caught attempting to thwart Senate oversight is simply breathtaking.

The first clause of the first sentence of the fourth paragraph sets the context for what follows ("With respect to the larger point of the RDI report itself"). He then reminds people of his prior statements, before he took office, that we did some things that were wrong in the wake of 9-11. Fair enough. Then he adds, "We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks," as if the things we did that were right should somehow offset the things we did wrong -- the crimes that were committed. He then describes those things we did wrong not as the crimes they were, but as things that were "contrary to our values."

Then comes the 5th paragraph. He starts by saying he "understand(s) why it happened." Really? Then he proceeds to lay out a list of what he apparently believes should be seen as extenuating circumstances, and admonishing us not to be "too sanctimonious" about the "tough job" the CIA had and the "enormous pressure" that was on law enforcement and security teams. But neither of these points was in dispute, and nobody was taking issue with anyone who hadn't participated in the torture program. So what he's really doing here is implying that harsh criticism of the torture program was tantamount to criticism of the entire CIA and of all security teams. But it was not and is not, and by conflating the two and telling us all not to be "too sanctimonious," he was clearly trying to soft-pedal what the CIA did, as well as to justify his own refusal to prosecute those actions for the crimes they were.

In paragraphs 6 and 7, he reminds us that he ended the program. Great. Does he want a medal for ending illegal conduct? He then states that the country as a whole must take responsibility. Again, fine, but how exactly do we do that if we refuse to prosecute those responsible? And finally, he expresses his "hope" that the country will never do it again. His 'hope?' How about some genuine accountability to ENSURE it never happens again!

So, without even considering the phrase "some folks," and without even getting into the question of whether or not the word "patriots" applied to the torturers, the statement as a whole cannot reasonably be construed to be anything other than an attempt to soft-pedal the CIA's actions and to rationalize his own refusal to hold criminally accountable those who were responsible. The overall thrust and intent of the statement is very clear.

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Dec 12, 2014, 07:30 PM (40 replies)

Veterans, in particular, should be outraged over the Senate Report

In light of the torture report, I should think every veteran would be outraged at the fact that when the abuses at Abu Graib came to light, the Bush administration was permitted to foist total responsibility onto a few low-ranking Army grunts, while administration officials were permitted to deny any culpability whatsoever.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 03:37 PM (6 replies)

"We tortured some folks" is right up there with . . .

. . . the infamous, "Mistakes were made," as a rhetorical distancing device.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 03:26 PM (71 replies)

Responding to the "If he couldn't breathe, he wouldn't be able to talk" argument

One of the most common arguments I've heard with respect to Eric Garner by those wishing to defend his killers is that if he really couldn't breathe, then he wouldn't have been able to say, "I can't breathe." But this is a bogus argument. As any classically-trained singer can attest, the vocal folds actually require an astonishingly small amount of air to pass through them to be able to produce enough sound to utter a few short words. That doesn't mean one is able to inhale enough air to provide sufficient oxygen for the body's need, particularly since oxygen only comprises about 21% of the air we breathe anyway -- and it's the oxygen, not the other stuff, that the human body requires.
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Dec 8, 2014, 08:27 PM (12 replies)

On the "popularity of DU" threads . . .

A couple of points:

First, all of it -- every theory on why the number of clicks might be down on DU -- is idle, useless speculation. And those theories are being used as a cudgel for various factions each seeking to gain the upper hand on this board (IMO).

Second, has it occurred to anyone how totally narcissistic it would look to anyone having a look at this board over the past week to see all of these navel-gazing threads, while the country is coming apart at the seams over events in Ferguson and Staten Island and the war in Iraq is being revived? I mean, seriously folks?
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 4, 2014, 03:34 PM (7 replies)

Of prosecutors, indictments . . . and ham sandwiches

The old axiom that, "a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to," must now be assumed to carry an implied corollary: "If a prosecutor doesn't want to try a case, he could steer a grand jury away from indicting a Ted Bundy."
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Dec 4, 2014, 02:27 PM (1 replies)

NYPD cop who choked Eric Garner wasn’t indicted — but man who recorded the incident was

Disgusted and infuriated, both with the grand jury's decision, and with this:

NYPD cop who choked Eric Garner wasn’t indicted — but man who recorded the incident was

While a Staten Island grand jury decided on Wednesday not to indict the New York City police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, prosecutors were able to secure an indictment against the man who filmed the fatal encounter.

< . . . . >

Authorities argued that Orta stuffed an unloaded gun inside 17-year-old Alba Lekaj’s waistband outside a hotel. But Orta has said that the charges against him were trumped up as retaliation for filming Garner being grabbed from behind by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. The city’s medical examiner determined that Garner’s death was a “homicide by chokehold.”

“When they searched me, they didn’t find nothing on me,” Orta said to the Advance regarding his arrest. “And the same cop that searched me, he told me clearly himself, that karma’s a b*tch, what goes around comes around,” Orta said, adding later, “I had nothing to do with this. I would be stupid to walk around with a gun after me being in the spotlight.”

< . . . . >

Just before Orta’s indictment, his wife, 30-year-old Chrissie Ortiz, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking another woman. Ortiz had also called the charges against him “total B.S.”

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Dec 3, 2014, 07:33 PM (6 replies)

So, maybe it's just me . . .

. . . but I find all of the self-righteous moralizing and indignation over the question of "legal" versus "illegal" immigration to be passing strange coming from citizens of a country that owes its existence to entitled Europeans who sailed uninvited to a different continent, where they proceeded to steal land by violent conquest from those who already lived here, with zero regard for those native inhabitants' laws. Just sayin'.
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Dec 2, 2014, 01:36 PM (9 replies)
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