Posts filed under 'Cheney'

IOKIYAR In Action

Democratic opposition to domestic spying by a Republican president: 73%.  Democratic opposition to domestic spying by a Democratic president: 70%.

Republican opposition to domestic spying by a Republican president: 50%.  Republican opposition to domestic spying by a Democratic president: 77%.

Of course this refers only to Democratic and Republican voters.

August 17th, 2013 at 12:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

With Democrats Like These…

Thank God we got those crazy security state Republicans out of the White House, right?

…Right?

December 13th, 2012 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Democrats,Obama,Terrorism,Wankers

I Got Your “Overreach” Right Here

Hey, remember the Republican narrative about how the Democrats got pummeled last year because Mad Socialist Obama “overreached” with his government takeover agenda?  Funny thing: As soon as the GOP took power after that wave election, it immediately got to work showing everybody what real overreach looks like, attacking collective bargaining rights, and now Medicare.

The Democrats swept the Republicans out in 2006 and 2008 because the Republicans proved themselves to be incompetent and corrupt.  The Republicans swept the Democrats out in 2010 because the Democrats proved themselves to be incompetent and corrupt.  Now the Republicans are proving themselves to be downright malevolent, and could very well swing the backlash pendulum back to the Democrats, and in a presidential election cycle too.

If the presidential election had been held in 2010, Obama might have been in serious trouble if the Republicans nominated someone even semi-sane.  But if the Republicans continue to push a nakedly pro-wealth, anti-everything-else agenda, Obama’s going to win in another landslide, whether he deserves to or not (it’s “not”, by the way).

Also, the fawning Cheney endorsement probably isn’t doing Paul Ryan any favors.  If I’m his opponent, I’m running that quote on a continuous loop from now until election day.

May 27th, 2011 at 07:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Democrats,Economy,Elections,Healthcare,Politics,Republicans

The 99.99% Doctrine

Why is it that the Cheney Doctrine dictates that “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response”, yet we need a 99.99% level of certainty that climate change will completely disrupt the world as we know it before we can take even the most modest and incremental steps to reduce carbon emissions?

2 comments February 2nd, 2011 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Environment,Iran,Iraq,Politics,Republicans

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Dubya sure does love his waterboarding:

George W. Bush reveals in his memoir, Decision Points, that he personally waterboarded VP Dick Cheney.

(…)

“Dick was so in favor of waterboarding, that I thought he should experience himself to see what it was like.  He thought it was a very effective tool.”  Bush went on to say that after waterboarding Cheney as a “test” he used it on two other occasion to get the Vice President to keep his mouth shut on certain issues.

“Dick was making me look bad a few times with the press. He was too arrogant.  So, I had to waterboard him to get him to shut his pie hole!”

(…)

Dick Cheney, who hasn’t read Bush’s book yet, said that “Bush went a bit overboard with the waterboard stuff.  He got a little waterboard crazy.  He wanted everybody waterboarded, Andy Card, Karl Rove… one day he even wanted Laura waterboarded.  I’m sure he’s waterboarding his staff in Crawford to keep them in line.”

Bush said that when he sees Cheney next month at a conservative conference in New Orleans, ‘I’d love to take an hour or so and waterboard Dick again.  I had so much fun waterboarding Dick.  It was a hoot!”

Bush said that he, personally, was never waterboarded, but “if I ever do anything wrong, I wouldn’t mind.  But I’ve never done anything wrong.  I have no regrets.”

I just hope there aren’t any photos of Dick Cheney naked, wearing nothing but a hood and some electrodes…

November 10th, 2010 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Torture,Weekly World News

I Agree With Jim Bunning! (And Dick Cheney)

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“I thank God that I’m out of here in December… I have failed the American people.”

I also agree with Dick Cheney’s statement that telling Pat Leahy to go fuck himself was “sort of the best thing I ever did.”  Because when you think about all of his many accomplishments… he’s absolutely right.

April 28th, 2010 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Politics,Republicans

Whatever Happened To The Cheney Doctrine?

Peter Daou takes on the climate change deniers – I found this passage particularly compelling:

Another conservative writer goes on about “unsettled science,” as though we were engaging in a hypothetical legal exercise about the merits of reasonable doubt. In fact, this is our only planet. It’s the only place we can survive. We can’t afford to take chances. We can’t afford to do anything less than everything in our power to rectify the problem. We have no choice but to be alarmists — there’s no second chance. We get it wrong and we’ve doomed our children and their children. For what? Because we don’t want to recycle? Because we don’t want to stop polluting? Because we don’t want to bother making sacrifices? Because we don’t want some eager young kid who cares about the earth to dictate to us? Because we don’t like Al Gore? How profoundly selfish can someone be, to deny what they see with their own eyes: car fumes, bus fumes, truck fumes, factory fumes, chemical waste, human waste, toxins coursing through our waterways, in our food, filth we create in immense quantities turning our planet into a garbage dump.

If anything, we should be outdoing one another trying to address the issue, not smugly questioning the need for action under the guise that the science is imperfect. Reversing the damage we’re doing to the earth should be a priority for every citizen. Instead, environmentalism is treated like an annoyance that the media will occasionally poll about and that we bring to the fore once every April.

The right’s willingness to take the hugest of chances that global warming is junk science or some elaborate Al Gore hoax is particularly striking when you consider the Cheney Doctrine that they’re so enamored of:

Cheney defined it: “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.” Suskind writes, “So, now spoken, it stood: a standard of action that would frame events and responses from the Administration for years to come.”‘

Why such a heavy bias towards action on an improbable threat, and such a heavy bias against action on a much more probable and truly existential one?  Republicans embrace a 1% Doctrine on terrorism, yet it’s more like 99.9% when the fate of the entire planet is at stake.

If I didn’t know any better, I might almost think that their policy prescriptions aren’t really about protecting us from harm.

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Fierce Advocacy: Ur Doin It Wrong

Well, Dick Cheney is now to the left of Obama and the Democrats on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Great job, guys.

As Joe noted below, former vice President, and arch-conservative nemesis of the Obama administration, Dick Cheney said today that he thinks the ban on gays serving in the US military will be lifted, and he thinks it’s time. That means the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress now having Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen covering their backside on this issue. So what do they do? Do they push for a repeal now, strike when the iron is hot, take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime momentum that has developed around this issue in the past two weeks?

No.

After two weeks of no direction whatsoever from the White House as to whether we even should proceed with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year, more unnamed administration officials are telling AP that they won’t touch the repeal for years to come. (Apparently, according to AP, they want to give the troops time to “get used” to the idea, gentle souls that they are.)

(…)

We now have Colin Powell (Republican), SecDef Gates (Republican appointee), Chairman Mullen (Republican appointee), Dick Cheney (Republican), Ted Olson (Republican), and the torture twins (Republicans), better than the Democratic party on this paramount gay civil rights issue. For years, we’ve been able to laugh in the face of gay Republicans who claimed the GOP was a viable alternative for gay Americans seeking their civil rights. No one is laughing any more. The Democratic party needs to wake up and realize that its political homophobia is losing it a constituency.

Fantastic.  Apparently we’ve reached a point where gays’ best chance for equality is to either vote Republican or hope that one of Obama’s daughters comes out.

February 14th, 2010 at 01:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Teh Gay,Wankers

Quote Of The Day

Just try to keep your head from exploding:

Matalin said she could not imagine a Cheney firm engaging in lobbying, or being a strictly political shop. She said she thought the idea of Dick Cheney as a political consultant far-fetched. But Mary Cheney, according to Matalin, is politically savvy, has intimately worked on campaigns in the past and would be fully capable of providing political counsel.

(…)

Matalin saw the Cheney clientele in a more post-partisan light, saying, “People who would seek the kinds of advice Dick Cheney could provide are not given to ephemeral winds of politics.” She added: “The idea of it is an incredible thing.”

Wow.  Just… wow.

October 8th, 2009 at 07:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

Wanker Of The Month

Shorter Broderella: Rule of law is too partisan.

First, let me stipulate that I agree on the importance of accountability for illegal acts and for serious breaches of trust by government officials — even at the highest levels. I had no problem with the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, and I called for Bill Clinton to resign when he lied to his Cabinet colleagues and to the country during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

(…)

I am not persuaded by former vice president Dick Cheney’s argument that this is simply political revenge by the now-dominant Democrats against their Republican predecessors. For all the previously stated reasons, there is ample justification for seeking answers apart from any partisan motive.

Nonetheless, I think it is a matter of regret that Holder asked prosecutor John H. Durham to review the cases of the agents accused of abusive tactics toward some captives.

I realize this is a preliminary investigation, not a decision to prosecute anyone. And if it were to stop at that point, no great harm would have been done. But it is the first step on a legal trail that could lead to trials — and that is what gives me pause.

Cheney is not wrong when he asserts that it is a dangerous precedent when a change in power in Washington leads a successor government not just to change the policies of its predecessors but to invoke the criminal justice system against them.

Not investigating or prosecuting war crimes is kind of a dangerous precedent, too…

Looming beyond the publicized cases of these relatively low-level operatives is the fundamental accountability question: What about those who approved of their actions? If accountability is the standard, then it should apply to the policymakers and not just to the underlings. Ultimately, do we want to see Cheney, who backed these actions and still does, standing in the dock?

Well yes.

In times like these, the understandable desire to enforce individual accountability must be weighed against the consequences. This country is facing so many huge challenges at home and abroad that the president cannot afford to be drawn into what would undoubtedly be a major, bitter partisan battle over prosecution of Bush-era officials. The cost to the country would simply be too great.

Accountability is just too hard and it’ll make the Republicans upset, so why bother.  Now, a witch hunt against a Democratic president for getting a blow job, that’s okay.

When President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns endorsing his decision, which was made on the basis that it was more important for America to focus on the task of changing the way it would be governed and addressing the current problems. It took a full generation for the decision to be recognized by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and others as the act of courage that it had been.

Awesome.  Can you imagine what kind of mess this country would be in if Nixon had been held accountable instead of getting off scot free and allowed to rehabilitate his image as a statesman?  Why, it might even have discredited anyone who worked in his administration, and I don’t know if our country could afford such a terrible loss.

September 3rd, 2009 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Media,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Jerry Nadler Also Speaks For Me

Jerry Nadler

…By stating the bloody obvious:

Former Vice President Cheney is essentially saying that any acts performed by members of the CIA – no matter how illegal or abhorrent – are ok, and must never be the subject of a criminal investigation. No matter what anyone in the CIA may do, it need not be subject to the law. This is outrageous, and violates just about every traditional American concept of liberty and justice.

It is remarkable that this even needed to be said. And depressing that it is seen as some kind of leftist fringe position.

August 31st, 2009 at 11:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Democrats,Prisoners,Torture

When America Does It, It’s Not Illegal

Shorter Cheney: Laws are for the weak.

A CIA inspector general’s report released Monday documented how interrogators menaced “high-value” detainees with a gun and a power drill, threatened their families and used other methods that went beyond even the permissive interrogation rules set by the Bush administration Justice Department.

Cheney, who strongly opposes the Obama administration’s new probe into alleged detainee abuse, was asked in the Fox News interview whether he was “OK” with interrogations that went beyond Justice’s specific legal authorization.

“I am,” the former vice president replied.

“My sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks,” he said. “It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well.”

In other words, the ends justify the means, even when the means have nothing to do with achieving them.

August 29th, 2009 at 12:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Prisoners,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Once again, the Weekly World News gets there first:

Dick Cheney is writing his memoirs. Weekly World News has acquired an advance look at the torrid tale of his relationship with President Bush.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney surprised the world by saying he would publish a memoir. For years he has been famous for his obsession with privacy. Now, turning a new leaf, the former Vice President has been seen walking along the beach handwriting his book while sipping mint juleps. He writes everything down in cursive on parchment, a detail he says his publishers must recreate in the release of the book.

The book is set to focus on his relationship with President Bush, describing first their interdependent closeness which in time turned into a cold distance. He writes “it was a cold day that October morning. I came in for the morning briefing with an extra mocha latte for George. It took an extra twenty minutes out of my morning, but he liked them and I know he’s been under stress. I went to hand it to him, but he didn’t notice. He was too busy reading popularity polls. ‘Here you go Mister President, your favorite.’ All he could be bothered to say was a quick ‘Thanks’ before going back to his paper. I felt so stupid, standing there waiting for his approval. Quickly I excused myself from the Oval Office, went in the bathroom and cried. I was so mad, so hurt, I wanted to shoot a man in the face.”

Later in the book he writes “Things had been so different between us, I didn’t know who he was anymore. It was like those days on the ranch had never happened. Where was the warm cowboy who never cared what people thought and would laugh with me while starting a war. Standing in front of me was a Washington apologist who lived and died by his approval polls. Had that man even existed? Was it all just a beautiful dream? No. It was real. I knew because I still had the flower in my breast pocket. The one he gave me.”

It’s a sad, touching, beautiful story.

August 19th, 2009 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Weekly World News

Why Can’t The Democrats Be More Like Cheney?

Yes, I know it sounds insane, but consider this:

John P. Hannah, Cheney’s second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney’s foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes “that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies.”

Substitute, say, the recession, or global warming, or the healthcare crisis in the place of rogue nukes, and ask yourself how many Democrats in positions of power have that same sense of urgency and passion, that same sense that the problem must be addressed uncompromisingly and damn the political consequences because it’s That Important?  In other words, how many Democrats understand that the stakes are too high for their usual halfassitude to be enough?

Sure, in Cheney’s case, his particular mania is paranoid and insane, and has taken him down a very dark path, but I’m pretty sure that, say, an all-out drive to truly fix healthcare or the environment would not inevitably lead to constitutional abuses, torture chambers, or even death panels.

August 13th, 2009 at 05:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Politics

What. I’ve. Been. Saying. (Again)

Almost four years ago, I observed that “Bush’s claim that he had to take extraordinary measures to fight terror is at odds with his resolute unwillingness to take ordinary measures against terror.”  Apparently the intel inspectors general agree with me:

We’ve known for years that the Bush administration ignored and broke the law repeatedly in the name of national security. It is now clear that many of those programs could have been conducted just as easily within the law — perhaps more effectively and certainly with far less damage to the justice system and to Americans’ faith in their government.

That is the inescapable conclusion from a devastating report by the inspectors general of the intelligence and law-enforcement community on President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. The report shows that the longstanding requirement that the government obtain a warrant was not hindering efforts to gather intelligence on terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the argument that the law was an impediment was concocted by White House and Justice Department lawyers after Mr. Bush authorized spying on Americans’ international communications.

(…)

So why break the law, again and again? Two things seem disturbingly clear. First, President Bush and his top aides panicked after the Sept. 11 attacks. And second, Mr. Cheney and his ideologues, who had long chafed at any legal constraints on executive power, preyed on that panic to advance their agenda.

It is absolutely criminal that these people are not being treated as criminals.

July 17th, 2009 at 09:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Turns out Dubya spent billions of taxpayer dollars to make sure that Obama was the one left holding the General Motors bag.  Nice.

On the other hand, the thought of the Bush administration being the one to shepherd GM through bankruptcy is pretty damn terrifying.

June 3rd, 2009 at 08:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Economy,Republicans,Wankers

Comment-Inspired Musings

Just a couple of thoughts inspired by the comments to my Dick Cheney, Gay Marriage Crusader post:

1) How long before Republicans’ two favorite hot-button topics converge, and they start wailing about immigrants using phony gay marriage to get green cards?

2) How will Rush Limbaugh and other hardcore bigoted conservatives deal with Cheney reiterating that gay marriage isn’t so bad after all?  It’ll be pretty hard for them to argue that Dick Cheney, of all people, isn’t a real conservative.  My guess is that they’ll just ignore it…

2 comments June 3rd, 2009 at 07:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Immigration,Media,Politics,Republicans,Teh Gay

Dick Cheney, Gay Marriage Crusader

On the surface, it sounds like Dick Cheney is a pretty decent and enlightened guy on gay marriage:

Speaking at the National Press Club for the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards, Cheney was asked about recent rulings and legislative action in Iowa and elsewhere that allowed for gay couples to legally wed.

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” replied the former V.P. “As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.”

Not bad, right?  But make no mistake – this is not Dick Cheney saying that all people should be treated equally, this is Dick Cheney saying that his daughter should not be a second-class citizen.

Of course, that still puts him way ahead of, say, Ronald Reagan, Alan Keyes, or Brit Hume.

4 comments June 2nd, 2009 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Republicans,Teh Gay

Not The Ethical Reprimand!

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Liz Cheney helpfully explains that it’s not torture that’s the real crime, it’s calling torture torture that’s the real crime:

I hear an awful lot of people out there throwing words around like “torture” and “lines being crossed,” and i think it’s a really, you know, it’s…  it’s irresponsible and frankly it’s libelous because you have got brave Americans, men and women, who were involved in this program at the C.I.A who were involved in making sure that the program didn’t cross any lines at the Justice Department.  Those people were responsible for saving American lives and keeping us safe.  And I think it is offensive for all Americans for this White House to suggest that somehow those actions deserve prosecution or… or… ya-know some sort of ya-know ethical reprimand.

An ethical reprimand?  Good heavens, what kind of inhuman monster does she think Obama is?  First it’s ethical reprimands, and then the next thing you know it’ll be sternly worded letters.  The very fabric of this country could unravel in the face of such extreme sanctions!

May 29th, 2009 at 11:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Media,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Don’t Bogart That Suffering

And all this time, I thought suffering was a bad thing:

Suffering is a gift, not a problem.  It’s temporal happiness that’s a curse. When life is easy and unthreatened, the cancer of self-centered contentment can take over our spiritual life.  When that happens, suffering is the greatest gift that God can impart to us.

(…)

Isn’t it ironic that our happiness-seeking American culture is doing all in its power to avoid suffering–the true source of blessing?  We even do it through bailouts, and printing endless streams of fiat money. We want happiness without difficulty, the good life without pain.  But that pursuit will also mean life without God, character, heaven, or true peace. Self-centered worldly avoidance of pain is killing our spiritual and corporate life.  Only the gift of suffering can awaken us and point us to the true source of blessedness.

Okay, I’m sold: Suffering is Teh Awesome.  But why should its benefits be limited to ordinary citizens and those lucky duckies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Hellraiser movies?  Shouldn’t the upper classes be allowed to share in its blessings too?  Surely we owe them some tax increases at the very least.  True, it might deprive the lower and middle classes of some of their suffering, but they’ve had so much that they can afford to sacrifice a little for the sake of fairness.

And what about those noble heroes who have selflessly spread so much suffering to so many?  They’re entitled to a better reward than the curse of wealth, power, and permanent comfort.  Surely we can give the Masters Of The Universe who crashed the economy the gift of unemployment or at least steep pay cuts – maybe even jail time for the truly worthy.  And it would be churlish not to offer the torturers and war architects of the Bush administration prolonged prison sentences as a token of appreciation for all the concentrated suffering they’ve bestowed upon the world.

Of course, their natural modesty and humility will require them to protest this largesse as simply too generous, but we really must insist.  It’s the least we can do for them after all they’ve done for us.

It’s their due.

May 16th, 2009 at 01:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Iraq,Media,Torture,Wankers,War

Dick, Meet Petard.

Oh, the irony:

Last month, former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that he had requested the release of CIA documents supposedly showing that the Bush administration’s torture program produced valuable intelligence and protected the U.S. against terrorist attacks…. Now, in a letter to the National Archives, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator Delores M. Nelson, “rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.”

The King Of Government Secrecy is thwarted by… government secrecy.  It’s just too delicious.

2 comments May 15th, 2009 at 06:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Obama,Torture

Poll Of The Day

Shorter American people: How can we miss you when you won’t go to jail?

That George W. Bush Presidential Library is going to need one hell of a theme park attached to it.

April 29th, 2009 at 08:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Politics,Polls

I Agree With Newt!

He may not be right in quite the way he thinks, but he’s right all right:

Reacting to President Barack Obama’s speech in Prague, Gingrich called the plan for a Global Summit on Nuclear Security a “wonderful fantasy idea,” saying Russia and other nations can’t be trusted.

“What are they going to promise, and why would we believe them?” Gingrich said. “It’s very dangerous to have a fantasy foreign policy, and it can get you in enormous trouble.”

That is so true.  Look what happened when we had a foreign policy based on the idea that you can bully, bluster, and invade countries to make them do anything you want.

April 5th, 2009 at 01:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Foreign Policy,Iraq,Republicans,War

The Effectiveness Of Torture

TorinNelson’s diary about why Obama needs to establish a truth commission on torture contains an unintentionally revealing nugget about torture’s usefulness:

I do not believe that the use of these techniques was necessary or effective. I have come face-to-face in the interrogation booth with insurgents and Al Qaeda operatives. It is possible to make almost all of them talk using techniques that are lawful.

When I served as an interrogator, I did not mistreat detainees. For me, this was an issue of efficacy as well as morality. Everything I know tells me that torture is much more of a destructive technique than a useful “tool.”

I am aware of too many cases where torture – or abuse – backfired. Just to cite one: a previously cooperative and truthful detainee named Al-Libi was taken by the CIA to be tortured in Egypt. Under duress he claimed that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. This information was rushed to Secretary Colin Powell who used it in his speech to the United Nations as a justification to go to war with Iraq. Al-Libi later recanted, and all of his information – both when he was cooperative and later when he was tortured – were deemed tainted. It was determined that he made up the connection in order to make the torture stop.

Sure, from the perspective of someone genuinely interested in actionable intelligence, the interrogation of Al-Libi was an abysmal failure.  But from the perspective of an administration interested only in propagandizable intelligence, it was a smashing success.  Torture is a great way to extract fake confessions, fake intelligence, whatever the victims think their torturers wants to hear.  While most of us would consider that a pretty significant bug, the Bush administration viewed it as a feature.

February 11th, 2009 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Politics,Republicans,Torture

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging, Inaugural Edition

Cheney Safe

The Weekly World News scoops the world once again, with an exclusive look at the contents of Dick Cheney’s mysterious “man-sized safe”:

Handymen accidentally cracked open the man-sized safe of exiting Vice President Dick Cheney while transferring his effects.

Statements taken from several of the workers before they were processed and detained by homeland security officials indicate the safe was loaded with more than 100 video cassettes of “chick flicks” and romantic comedies, such as “Steel Magnolias,” “Sleepless In Seattle,” “The Notebook,” “Legally Blonde,” “While You Were Sleeping,” and “Stanley and Iris”.

Additionally, workers came across dozens of audio mix tapes featuring tracks by Air Supply, Josh Groban, and Norah Jones. “I expected to find lots of papers and secret documents about torture, Iraq, Halliburton… stuff like that,” said Ignacio Cordoba of D.C. based moving company Smooth Movers. “Instead, it was just a bunch of Sandra Bullock and Dermot Mulrooney crap fests and mix tapes.”

Witnesses noted the 90-minute chrome cassettes had names such as ‘Dick’s Slow Jamz’ which featured “Here And Now,” by Luther Vandross and ‘Dick’s Heart Attack Of Love,’” which closed with Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” from the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.

Other handlers of the safe noted a manilla envelope that read “Reagan DNA” and a shoe box labeled “Back-Up Heart.” When Cheney noticed what the witnesses had seen, he quickly attempted a diversion by purposely pulling a muscle in his back. He will now be forced to attend President Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony in a wheelchair.

When contacted, a spokesperson for Cheney said that the workers were mistaken and probably meant Dylan McDermot, but then quickly cut himself short and said “no comment.” Cheney’s office then requested the email addresses and social security numbers of the surrounding press pool in order to “contact them later with any updates”.

Hey, he said he was lovable…

The WWN also features a tearful Ed Anger farewell to Cheney’s sidekick:

My heart’s as broken as the Liberty Bell about saying goodbye to President Bush.

Last week, I visited the White House for a farewell lunch with the great man. Lots of other big time patriotic pundits were there, too. Rush ate all the good donuts. Barney humped Hannity’s leg. (I think he liked it). Boortz left his cell phone on, so for a second it was like a bunch of gay boys were singing from inside his pants.

(…)

We looked out onto the Rose Garden one last time, before the new guy starts using it to grow marijuana for his unicorn.

We asked the President if he had any regrets, besides not getting to nuke anybody?

Bush said he wished he’d drilled for oil up in Alaska.

“That’ll never happen now,” the President mused. “Not after the new guy beat What’s His Name and That Lady With The Glasses.”

The President even let us in on some top secret stuff, like how that nuclear football isn’t really a football – “Boy, was that a fox paw!” — and that his Secret Service nickname was “Smirky McHitler.”

“Lottsa Dems at Treasury…” Bush explained in a nervous whisper.

(…)

Anyway, my fellow Americans, we’ve got one last day not to think about the horrible future let lies ahead. Let’s remember happier times gone by, back before they made a guy with a funny name the President, and let Mormons on the radio.

So very, very sad…

January 21st, 2009 at 07:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Weekly World News

Soon-To-Be-Ex-Vice-President Disabled In Freak Shredding Accident

Okay, so that’s not the official story, but does anyone really believe that the second-most powerful man on earth, with a bum ticker, is moving his own boxes?

Hey, I wonder if Obama will make a crack about how comfortable he looks…

1 comment January 20th, 2009 at 07:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney

Cheney On Obama & Executive Power

Cheney thinks Obama will want to keep it:

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that President-elect Barack Obama will “appreciate” the expansions of executive power achieved during the Bush administration and is unlikely to cede authority back to Congress.

“Once they get here and they’re faced with the same problems we deal with every day, then they will appreciate some of the things we’ve put in place,” Cheney said during an interview on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

Translation: “We have fucked everything up so thoroughly that only a dictator could even hope to fix it.”

2 comments December 16th, 2008 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Obama,Republicans,Wankers

The Intersection

The AP tells a depressing-yet-somehow-familiar story:

The Iraqi prisoner had valuable intelligence, U.S. special forces believed, and they desperately wanted it. They demanded that expert American military trainers teach them the same types of abusive interrogation techniques that North Korea and Vietnamese forces once used against U.S. prisoners of war.

The trainers resisted, according to testimony prepared for a Senate hearing Thursday; the methods were intended to elicit confessions for propaganda use, rather than gather intelligence. They were overruled and ordered to demonstrate on the prisoner in September 2003, early in the war.

The interrogation went ahead before a lead trainer stepped in and stopped it. He and his team were sent home shortly thereafter.

(…)

“In far too many cases, we simply erred in pressing interrogation and interrogators beyond the edge of the envelope; as a result, interrogation was no longer an intelligence collection method; rather, it had morphed into a form of punishment for those who wouldn’t cooperate,” Col. Steven Kleinman said in his prepared testimony.

He headed the small team of military trainers from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency sent to Iraq in September 2003 to help special forces get more information from stubborn and resistant detainees.

“When presented with the choice of getting smarter or getting tougher, we chose the latter,” Kleinman stated.

This is the worst-case intersection of amorality and incompetence.  The Bush administration didn’t care about legality, decency, or even effectiveness – only cruelty and power.

Will we ever wash away the stain?

(h/t dakine)

September 25th, 2008 at 11:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Iraq,Prisoners,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture

Irony Continues To Be Dead

If it were almost anyone else, I would be amazed that he could say this with a straight face:

Vice President Dick Cheney, in the sharpest U.S. criticism of Russia since its brief war with Georgia, on Saturday accused Moscow of reverting to old tactics of intimidation and using “brute force.”

(…)

“This chain of aggressive moves and diplomatic reversals has only intensified the concern that many have about Russia’s larger objectives,” Cheney said.

“For brutality against a neighbor is simply the latest in a succession of troublesome and unhelpful actions by the Russian government.”

(…)

“At times it appears Russian policy is based upon the desire to impose its will on countries it once dominated, instead of any balanced assessment of security interests,” Cheney said in his prepared remarks.

He noted that a senior Russian military official threatened Poland with attack over its involvement in the missile defense system. “That is no way for a responsible power to conduct itself,” Cheney said.

“And it reflects the discredited notion that any country can claim an exclusive zone of authority, to be held together by muscle and threats,” he said.

“That is the old thinking,” Cheney said. “The old ways are gone, and the Cold War is over.”

Russia’s leaders should consider whether “bullying others will turn out well for their country’s future” and whether Moscow wants to “operate in the modern world as an outsider,” he said.

“Russia’s leaders cannot have things both ways,” Cheney said. “They cannot presume to gather up all the benefits of commerce, consultation, and global prestige, while engaging in brute force, threats, or other forms of intimidation against sovereign countries.”

I guess it’s only okay to threaten or invade countries that are really far away.

September 6th, 2008 at 02:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Iraq,Wankers,War

Sarah Palin’s Real Qualifications

Orange Clouds is correct, but doesn’t go far enough:

When WE think of someone as being qualified for president or VP, we imagine that they must be capable of governing. They need to have relevant experience. They should have proven over time that they understand the issues and the Constitution. They must be capable of diplomacy. But you need to think like a Republican for a moment.

Republicans don’t need to be able to think. They just need to be capable parrots. Can Palin follow in lockstep with the Republican line? Sure. It’s easy. I could even do it if I wanted to, although I’m not old enough to legally be VP so Sarah’s more qualified than me for that reason. Abortion is bad, death penalty is good, war is good, taxes are bad… it’s easy to figure out where you stand on the issues if you’re a Republican.

If Palin ever wonders what her opinion should be on an issue, she can ask Big Business. As a Democrat, you might assume that she would need to research it and think for herself about it, but that’s just a silly liberal idea. Big Business and lobbyists will tell Sarah everything she needs to know. And if they can’t answer a question, she can ask James Dobson or Pat Robertson or something and they’ll tell her.

What about her ability to do the job? Think about Brownie and FEMA. Think about Thomas Frank’s new book The Wrecking Crew. The idea isn’t to do a good job governing. The idea is to destroy government. Again, even I could do that if it were my goal. It can’t be too hard. Start wars, appoint your friends, outsource and privatize everything, take a lot of vacations, and make speeches about loving god and country. And if, as VP, Palin ever accidentally shoots someone in the face on a hunting trip, it’s OK.

Of course Palin isn’t qualified if you imagine that she should be able to govern well – especially if, for some reason, a 72-year-old John McCain doesn’t last 4 more years. Governing well is for Democrats. It’s a crazy, liberal idea. Republican qualifications are totally different, and Sarah Palin is perfectly qualified as a Republican.

Yes, this is all true, but it does Palin a disservice by overlooking her ability to abuse executive power, or to stonewall legislative investigations of said abuse by invoking dubious claims of executive privilege, or by simply saying, “Don’t wanna.  Make me!”  It also overlooks Palin’s much-valued ability to spew ridicule and hate at her political opponents; it would be simply unthinkable to have a Republican president or vice president who doesn’t know how to sneer.

In other words, it’s not enough simply to hold right-wing views; you must be committed enough to repeatedly break the law in service of those views, and brazen enough to accuse your opponents of hating America when they call you on it.

So yes, Sarah Palin is eminently qualified to be a Republican president or vice president, but that’s pretty much the opposite of being qualified to be a good one.

September 4th, 2008 at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Palin,Republicans,Weirdness

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