55 stories
·
1 follower

The Depravity Of Dick Cheney

3 Shares


Perhaps the only saving grace of this sociopath formerly in high office is that he understands that his legacy could well be as a war criminal unlike any in American history before him. That’s my only explanation for why he has to be out there day after day, year after year, attacking his predecessor, lambasting America’s return to civilization, and insisting that hanging people from shackles, freezing them to near-death, near-drowning them so that their abdomens are distended with water, anally raping them, breaking their limbs, keeping them awake so long they hallucinated … is not somehow torture. Ask yourself: have you ever met someone who believes that? Outside the professional criminal classes, that it.

And in his response today to the voluminous and undisputed evidence supplied by the CIA’s own internal documents, he has nothing specific of factual to say that can undermine any of it. He just insists, like a dad lost on a car trip, that he alone knows he’s not lost, whatever the map or GPS says. His best talking point is that those who authorized and committed the torture were not interviewed by the committee – implying this was because of bias. But six months into the investigation, the attorney general Attorney General announced his own study into CIA torture techniques. Here is Senator Feinstein’s account of what happened next:

The committee’s Vice Chairman Kit Bond withdrew the minority’s participation in the study, citing the attorney general’s expanded investigation as the reason. The Department of Justice refused to coordinate its investigation with the Intelligence Committee’s review. As a result, possible interviewees could be subject to additional liability if they were interviewed. The CIA, citing the attorney general’s investigation, would not instruct its employees to participate in our interviews. (Source: classified CIA internal memo, February 26, 2010).

So the CIA was ordering its employees not to be interviewed. In any case, there were plenty of previous interviews with CIA torturers, including from the CIA’s own internal investigation, there was a formal CIA response to all the charges (highly unpersuasive because they have to argue against their own records), and, so far as I know, the possibility of interviewing them all over again is still possible. Why doesn’t the committee take that up again under GOP leadership, if their perspective will allegedly alter the conclusions?

But in the Cheney interview, there is nothing faintly that rational. He is behaving like a cornered man. On what possible grounds does he dismiss 6.3 million pages of documentation from the CIA’s own records as “full of crap”? The CIA had a chance to rebut every one of the conclusions with other documents and failed to. This is preposterous. But the most revealing parts of the interview were the following, it seems to me. Todd asked Cheney at one point what he believed the meaning of torture is, after citing the rectal hydration issue (which seems to have upset more people than any other technique). And this is what Cheney said:

I’ll tell you what my definition of torture is: what nineteen guys armed with airline tickets and boxcutters did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

Later, when confronted with an example of a human being suspended by his wrists from shackles so he could barely touch the floor for 22 hours a day for two weeks, Cheney refused to say that that wasn’t torture. Instead he repeated:

Torture is what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11

What I take from these statements is that the torture program was, for Cheney, partly an amateur thug’s idea of how you get intelligence, and partly simply a means of revenge. Yes: revenge. This was a torture program set up in order to vent rage and inflict revenge. It was a program that has no place in a civilized society.

He was then asked about the 26 people whom the CIA admits were tortured by mistake. One of them was even frozen to death. A sane and rational and decent human being, who presided over the program that did this, might say: “The decision to torture was an extremely agonizing one, but I still believe defensible. But of course the torture of innocent people is horrifying. I deeply regret the chaos and amateurism of the program in its early phases.”

So what did Cheney actually say? When confronted with the instance of Rahman Gul, the individual tortured to death, Todd asked what the US owed these torture victims. Cheney actually said this:

The problem I have with all the folks we did release ended up on the battlefield … I have no problem [with torturing innocent people] as long as we achieved our objective.

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. The man is a sociopath. He is a disgrace to his country. And he needs to be brought to justice.


Read the whole story
rsuttong
3365 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

Cooking the Alinea cookbook

1 Comment and 5 Shares

Allen Hemberger cooked his way through one of the most complex cookbooks out there, the Alinea cookbook. Aside from the chefs who work in the kitchen there, Hemberger's probably the only person to have made every single recipe. These recipes aren't easy; look at the last one he prepared...he even struggled to find the correct ingredients.

Should I be disturbed or thankful that I've never been that passionate about anything ever?

Tags: Alinea   Allen Hemberger   food   restaurants   video
Read the whole story
rsuttong
3393 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
bjtitus
3394 days ago
reply
I love this project. Incredible
Denver, CO

Is Obama Pulling A Bush?

1 Share

United Nations Hosts World Leaders For Annual General Assembly

Tomasky insists no: he isn’t:

The first and most important difference, plainly and simply: Obama didn’t lie us into this war. It’s worth emphasizing this point, I think, during this week when Obama is at the United Nations trying to redouble international support to fight ISIS, and as we think back on Colin Powell’s infamous February 2003 snow job to Security Council. Obama didn’t tell us any nightmarish fairy tales about weapons of mass destruction that had already been destroyed or never existed. He didn’t trot his loyalists out there to tell fantastical stories about smoking guns and mushroom clouds.

The evidence for the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State is, in contrast, as non-fabricated as evidence can be and was handed right to us by ISIS itself: the beheading videos, and spokesmen’s own statements from recruitment videos about the group’s goal being the establishment of a reactionary fundamentalist state over Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. That’s all quite real.

The in-tray in-box has been full of similar sentiments. My response is: sure, so far as it goes. But Tomasky’s argument doesn’t go very far. And the way in which Obama supporters have lamely acquiesced to this reckless war fomented by a dangerous executive power-grab is more than a little depressing. It strikes me as uncomfortably close to pure partisanship. I can’t imagine them downplaying the folly of this if a Republican president were in charge.

Sure, we are indeed not being grotesquely misled this time about non-existent WMDs. But we are going to war despite the fact that ISIS is no more a direct threat to the United States than Saddam was – arguably much less, in fact. We have no answer this time to the unanswered question last time: what if our intervention actually galvanizes Islamist extremism rather than calming it? And the Arab coalition that Tomasky cites as evidence that this war is a far less American-centric one than 2003 has some issues when you confront reality. Here’s the latest:

Jordan said that “a number of Royal Jordanian Air Force fighters destroyed” several targets but did not specify where; the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the air force “launched its first strikes against ISIL targets” on Monday evening, using another acronym for the Islamic State. American officials said that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also took active part in the strikes, and that Qatar played a “supporting” role.

This may be important window-dressing, but window dressing it still is. It sure isn’t close to the coalition George H W Bush assembled in 1990 – and it’s much smaller than George W Bush’s coalition in 2003. More to the point, the key element of any successful strategy will be the position of the Sunni Arab tribes – and they are still sitting on the sidelines. Turkey is AWOL so far. And the fact that the Arab states do not want their contributions to be broadcast more widely reveals the depth of the problem. Obama has Americanized the problem. Once you do that, the regional actors get even more skittish, because the only common thing for so many of the populations represented by these autocrats is loathing of the United States. This is the Arab world. The US will never get anything but hatred and cynicism and contempt from it.

Then there’s the question of authorization.

George W Bush got a few Security Council resolutions (if not the final, vital one). Obama hasn’t even bothered – he’s bombing a sovereign nation without even feigning a request for formal authorization. GWB – against Cheney’s wishes – procured a clear declaration of war from the Congress. Obama seems to have decided that he is more in line with Cheney’s views of executive power than George W Bush’s – and has blown a hole so wide in any constitutional measures to restrain the war machine that he has now placed future presidential war-making far beyond any constraints. If that isn’t an outright abandonment of almost everything he has said he stands for, what would be?

Bush’s war had a vague and utopian goal: the establishment of a multi-sectarian democratic republic in Mesopotamia. He had close to no plans for the occupation; and no real understanding of how quixotic a project he was promoting. Obama’s goals are just as quixotic – “ultimately destroying” ISIS from the air alone – and he has no Plan B for failure. Bush tried to defeat a Sunni insurgency with a multi-sectarian government in Baghdad. It never happened – and we had to bribe the Anbar tribes instead, and, even then we needed 100,000 troops to keep the lid on the whole thing.

Obama says he is fighting a Sunni insurgency with a broadly based Baghdad government – but replacing Maliki has led to no such thing. There is still paralysis in Baghdad over the interior and defense ministries, no cross-sectarian national entity to take the fight to ISIS, and the real risk of a Shiite government actually reinforcing the Sunnis’ sense that the US and the Shiites are now intent on persecuting them even further. That makes the prospects for this attempt at pacification even worse than in 2006.

And look: I think Obama is sincere in doing what he can with the Baghdad mess; but we have to be crazy to buy this line of argument in counter-insurgency at this point in history. We are fighting a Sunni insurgency on behalf of a Shiite government and a near-independent Kurdistan, a fight which might well empower Iran and even Assad. This is about the worst formulation for this struggle as one could come up with. It does not bring Sunnis into the struggle; it may well keep them out.

Of course I wish I didn’t have to write this. And it is, of course, true that we are not torturing prisoners with the sadism and insanity of the Cheneyites. It is true we are not sending in 140,000 troops into another country. We are sending almost none – but to achieve the same result! To do the same thing we did last time and hope for a better outcome is the definition of insanity. But to do the same thing with even less of a chance to achieve it takes things to a new level of incoherence.

This is an illegal war, chosen by an unaccountable executive branch, based on pure panic about a non-existent threat to the United States, with no achievable end-point. Apart from all that, it’s so much better than Bush, isn’t it?

(Photo: Obama U.S. President Barack Obama (R) holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi during the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York City at United Nations Headquarters on September 24, 2014. 2014 in New York City. By Allan Tannenbaum-Pool/Getty Images.)


Read the whole story
rsuttong
3446 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

September 06, 2014

2 Shares



The slow descent into madness continues...
Read the whole story
rsuttong
3464 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

June 05, 2014

2 Shares



< 3
Read the whole story
rsuttong
3557 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

Video game soundtracks ideal for work music

5 Comments and 8 Shares

Video game producers utilize music to keep you engaged, increase your achievement, and give you the energy to make it to the next level. So maybe you just found your ideal work soundtrack.

Karltorp has found that music from games he used to play as a kid, such as StarCraft, Street Fighter, and Final Fantasy, work best. Because the music is designed to foster achievement and help players get to the next level, it activates a similar "in it to win it" mentality while working, argues Karltorp. At the same time, it's not too disruptive to your concentration. "It's there in the background," said Karltorp. "It doesn't get too intrusive, it keeps you going, and usually stays on a positive tone, too, which I found is important."

Tags: music   video games   working
Read the whole story
rsuttong
3578 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
economyaki
3572 days ago
reply
i wonder if it's just a natural progression, classical --> game soundtracks / remixes for work. i <3 rainwave but it doesn't feel new to me since i've followed ocremix since 2000. :/
nyc
glenniebun
3578 days ago
reply
The best work music I've come across in years is Chris Tilton's SimCity: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDj6HiQZZY4HGQHxwBdADlxXzF-ow6Klb (Listen there, but really, it's not that expensive on Amazon MP3.)
CT USA
diannemharris
3579 days ago
reply
For william
DMack
3579 days ago
reply
http://youtu.be/oKD-MVfC9Ag -- Depends on your line of work, maybe
Victoria, BC
dreadhead
3578 days ago
Hotline Miami has some amazing music.
Next Page of Stories