The recent senate report on torture has brought the issue to the forefront of late. Once again people line up, mostly according to party affiliation. I see plenty of bull shit coming from both camps.
To begin, there’s nothing conservative about torturing people. And there’s nothing liberal about covering up these acts when they do occur.
Continue reading Random thoughts on torture
The Wall Street Journal, December 18
It’s been a pretty amazing year for India’s space agency: reaching Mars orbit at first attempt and on a tight budget then clubbing together with the United States for future explorations of the Red planet. On Thursday morning the Indian Space Research Organization wrapped up 2014 with the successful launch of a rocket that will help it discover if it has the capacity to put an Indian astronaut into space, and bring them home again.
The rocket that lifted off from southern India at 09:32 Indian Standard Time carried an un-manned crew capsule that scientists wanted to ensure could re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up.
The so-called crew-module atmospheric re-entry experiment is part of India’s plan to send a person into space within the next eight years. The capsule separated from the rocket successfully at 126 kilometers above the Earth’s surface and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere as hoped and deploying parachutes. It was expected to land in the Bay of Bengal and be recovered by the Indian Coast Guard.
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island.
After 18 months of secret talks facilitated by the Vatican and Canada, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed by phone on Tuesday on a prisoner exchange and the opening of embassies in each other’s countries.
Sometimes a simple compare-and-contrast says a lot.
Re: Police Respond to NFL Player Protest Over the Shooting of Tamir Rice (Channel 5 News/Cleveland)
In a statement to Cleveland WEWS-Channel 5, CPPU President Jeff Follmer demanded an apology from the Browns. Follmer also called Hawkins’ actions pathetic.
“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Follmer said. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”
The Roberts Court re: The Legality of Cops being Ignorant of the Law (Raw Story)
The case concerned the 2009 arrest of Nicholas Heien near Dobson, North Carolina. Sgt. Matt Darisse pulled Heien over for having only one working brake light, then found a bag of cocaine while searching his vehicle and charged him with attempted drug trafficking. However, the state only requires motorists to have one brake light working at any time. Heien’s attorneys argued that this made Darisse’s search unlawful.
Roberts wrote that the ruling “does not discourage officers from learning the law,” because the Fourth Amendment only covers “objectively reasonable” errors from police.
During the past weeks, we have heard a lot about Grand Jury procedure and the “latitude” our legal system affords police and prosecutors. That latitude apparently now includes their ignorance, but not ours.
Latitude in fire-power.
Latitude in discerning a threat to themselves.
Latitude in being granted the benefit of any doubt.
Now, latitude for not knowing the law they enforce.
I ran across this little item today which describes the latitude of judges to decide if you own anything of value you are not entitled to a court appointed attorney (because you can always hock anything of value).
ZeroHedge – The belief… that the crashing price of oil is so “unambiguously, unquestionably, undisputably” good for the US is so taken for granted, that nobody actually checked the facts.
So here is one such attempt by the FT, which writes that “almost $1 trillion of spending on future oil projects is at risk as a result of the plunge in crude to $60.”
more at the link
Is the United States fascist? Is it becoming a Fascist state?
Such accusation are freely offered, and thrown around, often without the discussion of the full meaning of Fascism. We need to start with a definition, because the term ‘fascist’ is often misused, leading to confusion. Here’s what George Orwell said, in 1944:
…the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
Continue reading Is Obama an American Fascist?
ZeroHedge-Only weeks after Australia broke up a plan by ISIS to publicly behead a member of public, reports suggest 2 gunmen are holding 13 hostages at a Lindt coffee-shop in Sydney, Australia. The terrorists have shown a black jihadist flag – which is not an IS flag – and has paraded the hostages at the windows. The coffee shop is directly across the street from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Reuters – Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned of militant plans to attack Australian targets, said he was convening a meeting of the cabinet’s national security committee for a briefing on the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe in the country’s commercial capital. “Police are dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers are attempting to make contact (with) those inside a cafe,” New South Wales Police said in a statement.
Update- 12/15 BBC The (single) gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as an Iranian refugee who was on bail facing a number of charges. Police have stormed the building. Unconfirmed reports say the gunman has been shot and killed and some of the hostages have been seriously wounded. Police confirm Sydney siege is over.
(I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for this to become fodder for the ‘Don’t let in refugees” folk. WTF with this guy?)
Over and out to Graham…
CNN, By Gabe LaMonica, December 12
A recently released CIA cable casts heavy doubt on a key claim used by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
It discounts intelligence that said Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 ringleaders, met with an Iraqi official in the Czech Republic a few months before the attacks.
The Bush administration — which maintained that Atta had met with Iraqi agent Ahmad al-Anian in Prague in April 2001 — had used the report to link the September 11 attacks to Iraq.
CIA Director John Brennan included a portion of the cable in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan. Levin, the retiring chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the letter public on Thursday.
Continue reading 2003 CIA cable casts doubt on claim linking Iraq to 9/11
BBC, By Rebecca Morelle, December 10
Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets.
Results from Europe’s Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in the journal Science.
The authors conclude it is more likely that the water came from asteroids, but other scientists say more data is needed before comets can be ruled out.
The team found that there was far more heavy water on Comet 67P than on Earth.
Prof Altwegg told BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science programme: “It is the highest-ever measured ratio of heavy water relative to light water in the Solar System. “It is more than three times higher than on the Earth, which means that this kind of comet could not have brought water to the Earth.”
AP – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is joining the debate over the Senate’s torture report by saying it’s hard to rule out the use of extreme measures to extract information if millions of lives were threatened.
Scalia told a Swiss broadcast network that American and European liberals who say such tactics may never be used are being self-righteous.
The 78-year-old justice said he doesn’t “think it’s so clear at all,” especially if interrogators were trying to find a ticking nuclear bomb. Scalia has made similar comments in the past,
He doesn’t think, he doesn’t read, he doesn’t learn, and he doesn’t give a damn.. . What a guy.
New York Times, By Binyamin Appelbaum, December 11
Annapolis, MD — Frank Walsh still pays dues to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but more than four years have passed since his name was called at the union hall where the few available jobs are distributed. Mr. Walsh, his wife and two children live on her part-time income and a small inheritance from his mother, which is running out.
Sitting in the food court at a mall near his Maryland home, he sees that some of the restaurants are hiring. He says he can’t wait much longer to find a job. But he’s not ready yet.
Continue reading The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind
Wall Street wins a loosening of the rules for preventing another crash but preserves its government safety net. Sweet. Party tonight at the mansion. Guardian has the story and this live tweet:
That’s it. Yes vote reaches key 218. The Christmas Cromnibus passes the House, complete with baubles for Wall Street and political money men
12/8/2014 (originally posted Dec 8th, 10:37 pm)
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said that the release of a Senate report examining the use of torture by the CIA a decade ago will cause violence and deaths abroad.
12/9/2014 (originally posted Dec 9th,13:37 pm)
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, defended her push to release the report on the interrogation program, saying that though she was concerned that the new information could draw violent reactions around the world, it was a necessary step for the United States to move beyond a dark period in its past.
Update: (via EmptyWheel). Reports released include:
The SSCI Torture Report
The Minority Response to SSCI Torture Report
Dianne Feinstein’s Statement