Friday Mashup (10/17/14)

October 17, 2014

mark-bio

  • By the time you read this, the sickening little demonstration noted here will be over (due to take place around midday today) – more follows…

    The video opens with the black-and-white footage of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring clarion call for equal rights at the 1963 March on Washington.

    It quickly goes full color, and cuts to gruesome close-ups of the bloody remnants of abortions. It is fair to say that what is shown is disturbing.

    On Friday, the images will be displayed on a 10- by 12-foot screen set high on Independence Mall, the heart of Philadelphia’s tourism zone, as the antiabortion group Created Equal brings its high-tech assault on the practice to Philadelphia.

    The video, on a continuous loop, will be played from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to Mark Harrington, Created Equal’s national director.

    “It seems fitting to me that we are launching this campaign in the very place where our nation’s founders penned those words, created equal,” Harrington said. “We are still battling for equal rights. In this case, it is the pre-born who are being discriminated against.”

    I know there are individuals out there who profess to be “pro-life” and who indeed “walk the walk” as opposed to just “talking the talk,” and who have adopted babies, taken in single mothers in desperate situations, staged prayer vigils away from clinics and not interfered with the medically-related activity taking place (and of course not shouted epithets at anyone, thrown blood, tried to wreck cars, or any of that other stupidity, to say nothing of not writing ridiculous garbage in newspapers or calling into talk radio demonizing mothers seeking medical help). To me, those people deserve respect.

    However, most of these individuals in my experience (such as it is) are cut from the same disgusting cloth as Mark Harrington (pictured). And I think it’s particularly vile for Harrington and his ilk to even imagine that his escapades have anything whatsoever to do with the struggle for civil rights in this country.

    There is no good reason whatsoever for Harrington to engage in an activity like this (showing fetuses in the most grotesque situations imaginable, and probably some situations we can’t imagine), trying to force these images down the metaphorical throats of anyone visiting Independence Mall (including very young children, I’m sure), once of the more scenic places in the city (and the weather is nice today, so it should be busy), other than self-promotion.

    And yes, I have a particular axe to grind here because I can still vividly remember the seemingly never-ending pictures of fetuses in jars in the Catholic Standard and Times newspaper after the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade in 1973, a time when I was still quite young and impressionable. As I’ve said, the images had an impact, but probably not the one the Church intended.

    Harrington has pulled this stunt before, by the way, including Turlington Plaza at the University of Florida (generating this response, including the following)…

    This has nothing to do with being pro-choice, pro-life or pro-anything. Regardless of anyone’s beliefs about abortion — and we all have an opinion there — does anyone feel it is acceptable to make students with abortion experiences feel uncomfortable on their own campus? No matter what the message, presentation is everything. In my opinion, a less-hostile open dialogue would be a more productive model of outreach. There must be another viable medium that doesn’t feel like an ambush. If I were considering abortion, or simply on the fence about my beliefs, these seemingly extremist people are not the ones I would consult.

    Created Equal executive director Mark Harrington says his platform targets “the mushy middle,” people who have no strong stance at either end of the abortion debate spectrum.

    I don’t believe such an audience exists on a university campus. If you do exist, on-the-fence folks, here’s my message to you: engage in civil, fact-based conversations with multiple people from both sides of the issue. Sharing beliefs and creating an open dialogue about social issues is a fundamental aspect of university life. One beauty of our campus is that it fosters constant exposure to new belief systems. No one here is naïve enough to want protection from opposing views. I imagine we all value them greatly. But this sideshow? It’s all a sensational stunt, an exhibition of the outlandish that serves only to needle young women into feeling guilty.

    To the members of Created Equal, thank you for voicing your beliefs and exercising your right to free speech. However, is it too much to ask that women with abortion history or those considering it presently have a peaceful walk across their campus without being confronted by grisly photos of fetuses on coins? Is there not enough humanity in your movement to recognize the benefits of a different approach? Judging from the pamphlets that were available at the exhibit, I know you have other media at your disposal.

    Regardless of my abortion views — which have probably become apparent anyway — it’s important to note these images are not from the typical procedure. Traveling pro-life groups are notorious for using photos of late-term abortions carried out for emergency reasons. Those interested should visit http://www.thisismyabortion.com/ for a glimpse of reality.

    Uh, yep.

  • Next, I don’t want to spend too much time on the waste of protoplasm that is Erick (“Son of Erick”) Erickson, but he concocted the following nonsense here (in a column trying to equate ISIS with the cases of Ebola in this country)…

    The Syrian rebels were too rag-tag and weak to take on ISIS, according to President Obama. But within a week of saying that, he announced to the world that his plan in Syria was to arm those rag-tag rebels and have them do our bidding against ISIS.

    Um…regardless of what you may think of the strategy of arming Syrian rebels against ISIS (not a good option as far as I’m concerned, but preferable to U.S. “boots on the ground”), doesn’t what Erickson describe above seem like a logical course of events? Where is the “there” there?

    It gets better…

    The president also told the American public that Ebola would never come to the United States.

    Not according to factcheck.org, which tells us the following (here)…

    Sen. John McCain claimed on a Sunday talk show that “we were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States.” Not exactly. U.S. health officials, early in the outbreak, said it was highly unlikely, but we could not find any instances of them saying it would never happen.

    This item from Fix Noise shill Jeanine Pirro doesn’t have anything to do with the Erickson column, but it does have something to do with ISIS, so allow me to add it here; namely, Pirro’s claim that Obama released Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, supposed head of this bunch of murderers, in 2009, which is categorically false. And as for Ebola, I guess what you would call of “clearing house” of debunked Ebola-related BS is here. And in conclusion on ISIS, I think this is definitely food for thought also.

  • Further (and sticking with Number 44), it looks like “liberal” Richard Cohen is at it again (here)…

    Tell me something: What do you think would happen if the United States concludes that Iran has been cheating and delaying and is about to pop a fully functional nuclear weapons program? Would President Obama respond by joining Israel to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities to smithereens, or would he stall and equivocate? My bet is the latter and also, just to double down, what I bet the Iranians are betting. They have taken the measure of Obama. He lacks menace.

    Menace is essential in a world leader if he (or she) is going to be feared as well as admired. Obama falls into the admired category — the leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize with mere good intentions, a guy who had a new attitude toward Russia (a reset) and Iran (an approach) and China (a pivot) and, of course, to the Muslim world — an appreciation from a president who had broken the mold. We know him now as someone miscast: a rational man in an irrational world.

    I must tell you that I read over this a few times and thought “do I really want to say something about this idiot” (Cohen, I mean)? Isn’t life already too short?

    And then I thought to myself, sure, why not?

    For one thing, comments like this betray more of Cohen’s mindset than that of the world he supposedly knows something about. Because he apparently craves the “certainty” of a leader who, though perhaps catastrophically wrong, would act as if his thought processes are populated by fevered dreams of something called American Exceptionalism (I know you know who I’m talking about). And if this leader takes us into yet another catastrophic misadventure in the Middle East for no good reason…well, that means that Israel won’t be fighting alone now, will it?

    Call me just a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but maybe the reason we have an irrational world (I agree with Cohen on that much) is because we have too many irrational people in charge! And wouldn’t it be nice if we did a better job of recognizing people who actually have their scruples and act like intelligent adults in the face of onslaughts from all over the world (not saying to never question them, but just to try and support them when we believe it is necessary)?

    Given that, then surely Cohen would have noted long ago that Obama is “a rational man in an irrational world” and tried to make sure that his criticisms had at least some basis in reality, right?

    Well…

  • Here, he condemned the White House visit by the parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan for five years, as “utterly repellent,” even though Cohen acknowledged that the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture are unclear.
  • Here, he embraced the “leading from behind” smear of President Obama (straight out of Drudge, Breitbart, and the like).
  • Here (as he does in his most current column), he makes a misguided push for a strike on Iran.
  • Here, he criticized Obama’s body language and supposed inability to “emote.”
  • Here, he wrote that Europe’s supposed view of Obama is that he’s an “accidental” president, among other nonsense.
  • (By the way, lots of other Cohen-related idiocy can be read from here.)

    Yes, I realize this is part of the whole pundit game about finding ways to be talked about. However, I honestly believe that Cohen thinks he’s right that our president should act in the manner and style deployed here (and no, I haven’t forgotten what led up to that). All to display “menace,” no doubt.

    How pitiably sad for Cohen not to realize that, were Obama to do such a thing, the rest of the world would surely laugh in his face.

  • Continuing (and speaking of pitiably sad), I give you former Ken Blackwell here on the matter of “biosimilar” drugs (more here…and this gives us a refresher on why Blackwell is such a miscreant – hard to believe that it’s been nearly 10 years)…

    Now, it is up to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement the biosimilar approval process. But millions of dollars have been spent on a lobbying effort from Obama’s crony capitalist friends on K Street to protect the interests of biologic drug markers. Initially, they were given a 12-year data exclusivity clause in the Obamacare law. But now, they are fighting through a questionable grassroots campaign, with the goal of distracting the FDA.

    These special interests are demanding unnecessary distinct naming rules for the ingredients in generic drugs, even though Obamacare does not allow for it. Americans with life- threatening diseases do not deserve to suffer thanks to these complicated and underhanded tricks by those in the pockets of Big Pharma.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    I hate to break the news to Blackwell, but both parties are in the hands of “Big Pharma,” as noted here.

    More to the point, this tells us that the 12-to-14-year window Blackwell criticizes “drew applause from CVS Caremark, whose EVP specialty pharmacy services, Dave Golding, participated in an FTC roundtable event on the issue” (the Generic Pharmaceutical Association agreed with Number 44 on this also).

    Not surprisingly, though, naming conventions for generics provoked this letter from 28 members of Congress who opposed the move; I believe the FDA recommendation on that was voluntary, by the way – hard to sift through some of the bureaucratic-ese (and the 28 who signed the letter are the same motley crew of usual conservative suspects, by the way). However, for anyone criticizing naming conventions for generics (which would bring them to parity with name brands, by the way) I have two words; Accutane and Sulindac (read from this link about the misery suffered by those who took these poisons).

    And from here

    “Regulation of these formularies is going to be a huge thing moving forward,” said Paul A. Calvo, a director in the biotechnology group at Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox. “I think as soon as the public heard there is very limited oversight in these areas, they went nuts.”

    Understandable as far as I’m concerned; background on formularies (basically, lists of prescribed medications for particular illnesses for insurance purposes) can be accessed from here.

    Oh, and speaking of “nuts” (and having to do with bioresearch a bit), I give you this.

  • Finally, I give you this from the Kevin Strouse campaign…

    Contact: Will Block, will@kevinstrouse.com, 610-400-3163
    For Immediate Release: Monday, October 13th, 2014

    Takeaway from Mike Fitzpatrick’s New TV Ad: Veterans Are Tired of Fitzpatrick’s Failures and Deception

    Fitzpatrick Voted Against Reducing the Veterans Disability Claims Backlog

    Bristol, PA – Last week, Fitzpatrick for Congress released its first ad of the general election. Unfortunately, the ad misleads voters about Fitzpatrick’s failed record on veterans’ issues. The facts show that Congressman Fitzpatrick has stood in the way of reducing the veterans disability claims backlog, and has voted against veterans’ interests on multiple occasions.

    The ad shows a doctor walking alongside a disabled veteran in a wheelchair. The exact footage used in the ad is available for purchase on http://www.istockphoto.com as “Man in wheelchair walking with doctor – Stock Video.”

    Strouse campaign spokesman Will Block commented, “This year, we saw Congressman Fitzpatrick jump onto a bandwagon with his colleagues to put a bandaid on a problem that he helped create in the first place. Disabled veterans are real heroes with real stories who deserve a Congressman that will fight for the care that they deserve — not some stock footage that can be purchased online. The fact that Fitzpatrick suddenly cares about the disability backlog, especially when he’s running against a combat veteran, is exactly what’s wrong with politics.”

    Fitzpatrick’s ad claims that he worked with a whistleblower this year to uncover the claims backlog at the Philadelphia Veterans Benefits Administration office. Well, the backlog is nothing new, and the Congressman knows it. In fact, in 2013 he voted against a motion which would have provided funding to hire more adjudicators to cut through the disability claims backlog.

    Block continued, “Fitzpatrick’s anti-veteran record speaks for itself. It’s especially egregious for Fitzpatrick to claim to be working to end the disability claims backlog after voting in 2013 against a measure to do exactly that. These issues at the VA are nothing new — unfortunately, they only seem to matter to Congressman Fitzpatrick in an election year.”

    BACKGROUND:

    Stock Footage Used in Fitzpatrick’s TV Ad: [www.istockphoto.com, Man in wheelchair walking with doctor – Stock Video]

    Fitzpatrick’s TV Ad…aired on 10/8/14:

    Fitzpatrick voted against quicker disability claims processing:

    In 2013, Fitzpatrick voted against a motion to recommit with instructions that would help reduce the backlog of disability claims for veterans. The amendment would add $9.2 million in funding (double the funds in the underlying appropriations bill) to hire an additional 94 claims processors to help reduce the veterans disability claims backlog. The amendment failed 198-227. [MTR on H.R. 2216, Vote #192, 6/04/13]

    Fitzpatrick voted to block the “Veterans Backlog Reduction Act”, which would
    direct the secretary to pay provisional benefits for claims that are still processing: [New York Times, 5/30/14; Vote #180, 5/23/13]

    “From The New York Times: Republican House candidates could also find themselves under pressure to explain their past votes against proposals for more money for veterans programs. Democrats were pointing to a procedural vote in May 2013, when House Republicans opposed a Democratic measure called the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act.”

    ###

    Kevin Strouse is a former Army Ranger, CIA counterterrorism analyst, and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who lives in Middletown, Pa., with his wife, Amy, and two young children, Walter and Charlotte. He is currently Program Director of Teach2Serve, a non-profit that teaches social entrepreneurship to regional high school students. He earned his BA from Columbia University and a Masters in Security Studies from Georgetown University, graduating with honors.

    To help with the Kevin Strouse campaign in the closing days, please click here.

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    As The Greek Tragedy Nears Its End

    January 28, 2010

    I’ve really tried to steer clear of the latest miseries in the personal lives of John and Elizabeth Edwards, though they are ready grist for the tabloids (of course) and our corporate media in general (even the supposedly august New York Times, which has easily devoted more coverage to the recent revelation of his parentage of Rielle Hunter’s child than it ever did to Edwards’ campaign, and I’m sure the news of the Edwards’ separation will receive a lot of play also).

    Over at the Blogger site, I devoted an inordinate amount of time publicizing Edwards’ one-time campaign for president, and I was appropriately contrite when it turned out that the whispers about Edwards and Hunter were true, whispers which I dutifully ignored because of the brazenness of Edwards’ lies that they were false.

    And I’ve really tried to leave Edwards behind to wallow in the utter carnage he has made of his personal and political lives because of his ridiculous dalliance. Still, every now and then I would write a post to anyone who would care to read it that Edwards was still out there and could serve in some unpaid capacity as some sort of advisor or someone to do some kind of pro-bono “troubleshooting” of one type or another (preferably in some of the destitute areas of our country).

    I suppose, though, that the thought of Edwards going to some God-forsaken place to try and do some good is hilarious to the life forms amused by the “I Feel Pretty” You Tube video of Edwards fussing over his hair, thinking that to be indicative of his shallowness (though I believe Edwards is in Haiti now; a cynic would say that’s one way to avoid the spotlight at the moment, which I guess is a good point).

    But here is why John Edwards used to matter to me (I’m also compelled to point this out after reading Richard Cohen’s typically ridiculous column about Edwards here – Cohen criticizes Edwards on poverty, but since Cohen is a practitioner of typical accountability-free Beltway punditry, he offers no specifics).

    Edwards’ stand on poverty is indeed one of the reasons I supported him – not so much because what he said on this subject was necessarily groundbreaking, but because he even acknowledged it at all (Bill Maher said that Edwards was the first Democratic presidential candidate who cared about poverty since Bobby Kennedy, a span of over 40 years).

    I also supported Edwards because he said he was flat wrong on Iraq during a time when it was politically unpopular to do so. Also, he was the first candidate in the ’08 race to put out a policy on health care that was well-received by experts on the subject, including Paul Krugman.

    So while people ridicule Edwards over his sin (making me recall a certain individual who once said something about casting the first stone), let’s not chortle too loudly over the Edwards’ separation, if for no other reason because young children are involved.

    Oh, and another thing – good luck trying to find the kind of passion on display in the clip below on health care reform from any of our politicians, who have so thoroughly prostituted themselves on behalf of the insurers and drug companies while entrusted with the well being of us all, including upwards of at least 31 million of our fellow citizens without health insurance.


    A Cohen Connivance On Hate Crime

    August 5, 2009

    small_god-hates-fagsRichard Cohen tells us the following from the WaPo (here)…

    James von Brunn, who is alleged to have opened fire and killed a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, is apparently a consummate bigot. His former wife said that his hatred of blacks and Jews “ate him alive like a cancer,” so it might seem appropriate that in addition to having been indicted last week for murder and gun-law violations, he was also charged with hate crimes. At age 89, he proves that you are never too old to hate.

    He also proves the stupidity of hate-crime laws. A prime justification for such laws is that some crimes really affect a class of people. The hate-crimes bill recently passed by the Senate puts it this way: “A prominent characteristic of a violent crime motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim . . . but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.” No doubt. But how is this crime different from most other crimes?

    The real purpose of hate-crime laws is to reassure politically significant groups — blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, etc. — that someone cares about them and takes their fears seriously. That’s nice. It does not change the fact, though, that what’s being punished is thought or speech. Johns is dead no matter what von Brunn believes. The penalty for murder is severe, so it’s not as if the crime is not being punished. The added “late hit” of a hate crime is without any real consequence, except as a precedent for the punishment of belief or speech. Slippery slopes are supposedly all around us, I know, but this one is the real McCoy.

    In von Brunn’s case, the hate-crime counts are an obscenity. To suggest that the effects of this attack were felt only by the Jewish or the black communities — and not, for instance, by your average Washington tourist — ghettoizes both its real and purported victims. It’s a consequence that von Brunn himself might applaud.

    I will give Cohen points here for not claiming a preference here due to the fact that he is Jewish. All the same, I think his attack here on hate-crime laws is unduly harsh.

    As noted here…

    The Federal Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) passed the U.S. House on April 29, 2009 by a vote of 249 to 175. The bill expands 1969 federal hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, gender expression or identity and disability. Previous hate crime laws gave the Justice Department authority to prosecute crimes motivated only by race, color, national origin and religion.

    Race-based hate crimes leading up to the civil rights movement prompted federal legislation to help deter and prevent such acts. However, these law enforcement “definitions” of what makes a crime a hate crime have not been expanded since 1968. The need for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in hate crime legislation has become more apparent given the continual increase in LGBT-biased violence.

    Including sexual orientation and gender expression into federal hate crime legislation would allow the Justice Department to assist with the investigation of state and local hate based offenses. Federal assistance alleviates overburdened and under funded local law enforcement officials, better enabling them to solve crimes based on sexual orientation and gender expression violence.

    So there is a practical reason for expanding the existing hate-crime law from 1969 to include sexual orientation and gender expression, particularly because, as noted here by Dahlia Lithwick of Slate…

    There are two main objections to these hate-crime statutes. The broad one is that, in general, a “hate crime” punishes mere speech or state of mind and is thus unconstitutional. This argument sweeps too broadly. No hate-crimes legislation targets constitutionally protected speech alone; that’s why Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh still roam free. The basis of hate-crime legislation is the enhancement of penalties for conduct that is already criminal. Those Philadelphia protesters (11 evangelical ministers at a gay-pride festival) were arrested for refusing to obey police orders to relocate, not for the act of preaching itself. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with this principle in 1993 with its unanimous decision in Wisconsin v. Mitchell. In Mitchell, the defendant was convicted of aggravated battery—a crime carrying a maximum sentence of two years. But the jury found he had intentionally selected his victim based on race, so his sentence was increased to seven years under Wisconsin’s provision for hate crimes. The Supreme Court found that scheme constitutional, holding that “physical assault is not by any stretch of the imagination expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.”

    Lithwick also tells us that states were loathe to include gender-based discrimination in their statutes because of pressure from clergy who “target religious leaders preaching against homosexuality from their pulpits” (to which I reply, “And the problem is?”).

    And as Think Progress tells us here…

    The Laramie, Wyoming Sheriff’s Office had to furlough five deputies in order to cover the more than $150,000 that it cost to investigate Matthew Shepard’s murder. Yet when Jasper, Texas investigated the lynching of James Byrd, Jr., it received $284,000 in federal funds because Byrd’s murder was motivated by race, rather than sexual orientation.

    And I think it’s also worth noting that a horrific act which “started the ball rolling” towards the original hate bill from 1969 occurred 45 years ago yesterday (or, at least, the result of that act); as the BBC tells us here, the bodies of James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organizer and former social worker also from New York, were found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    Of course, Cohen had no problem trying to blame a certain African-American preacher for allegedly impugning the memory of the three here, even though that charge was just a bit of a reach – he can go ahead and blame Louis Farrakhan if he wants, though.

    Update: And as long as we’re talking about hate crime (here)…


    Cohen “Catapults The Propaganda” Of The “Past”

    January 27, 2009

    waterboarding
    Witness one of our premier corporate media hacks in action today in the WaPo, where he tells us this…

    “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” So goes an aphorism that needs to be applied to the current debate over whether those who authorized and used torture should be prosecuted. In the very different country called Sept. 11, 2001, the answer would be a resounding no.

    Around the same time, historian Jay Winik wrote about the usefulness of torture, how Philippine agents in 1995 got a certain Abdul Hakim Murad to reveal a plot to blow up 11 American airliners over the Pacific and send yet another plane, this one loaded with nerve gas, into CIA headquarters in Langley. After being beaten nearly to death, Murad was finally broken by the hollow threat to turn him over to Israel’s Mossad.

    It would behoove Richard Cohen to read this post from TomPaine.com, in which we learn the following (sourcing Cohen’s own newspaper, by the way)…

    Advocates of the ticking bomb (theory) often cite the brutal torture of Abdul Hakim Murad in Manila in 1995, which they say stopped a plot to blow up a dozen trans-Pacific aircraft and kill 4,000 innocent passengers. Except, of course, for the simple fact that Murad’s torture did nothing of the sort. As The Washington Post has reported, Manila police got all their important information from Murad in the first few minutes when they seized his laptop with the entire bomb plot. All the supposed details gained from the sixty-seven days of incessant beatings, spiced by techniques like cigarettes to the genitals, were, as one Filipino officer testified in a New York court, fabrications fed to Murad by Philippine police.

    Cohen continues…

    (The Murad case took place in) the other country called the Past. In the country called the Present, certain people are demanding that the torturers and their enablers be dragged across the time border and brought to justice.

    The best suggestion for how to proceed comes from David Cole of Georgetown Law School. Writing in the Jan. 15 New York Review of Books, he proposed that either the president or Congress appoint a blue-ribbon commission, arm it with subpoena power, and turn it loose to find out what went wrong, what (if anything) went right and to report not only to Congress but to us. We were the ones, remember, who just wanted to be kept safe. So, it is important, as well as fair, not to punish those who did what we wanted done — back when we lived, scared to death, in a place called the Past.

    I’m not the biggest fan of “blue-ribbon commissions,” especially since the purpose of this one would be to confirm the stupendously obvious fact that this country is not supposed to torture, now or ever, Cohen’s feeble equivocating about the “Past” versus the “Present” notwithstanding. But if that’s the best way to one day achieve closure on the abuses of the Bushco years in this regard, then maybe it should be considered.

    Oh, and just to reiterate more obvious points, torture is bad for at least two reasons: 1) It defies internationally agreed upon procedures and protocols of detainee treatment, to say nothing of standing in complete opposition to what we are supposed to represent as a country, and 2) As noted in the Murad example previously, it doesn’t generate good intelligence. And if you don’t want to believe me, fine; believe Susan Crawford, the “top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial,” according to Think Progress here, who told Bob Woodward that we couldn’t prosecute Mohammed al-Qahtani, one of the 9/11 plotters, because we tortured him (and Crawford is a Republican, in case you were wondering).

    Finally, I want to go “on the record” with the following statement, using the clearest language that I can, as long as Cohen has apparently tried to lump me into this amorphous group of people who, to his mind, “just wanted to be kept safe” and thus condoned torture:

    I have never condoned torture for any reason. I thoroughly repudiate the practice. It makes us absolutely no different from those who seek to defeat us. Besides, saying we accept it increases the likelihood that members of our military or others in our foreign service could be subjected to it one day were they ever captured and/or imprisoned (“waterboarding,” categorically – and correctly – described by Attorney General Designate Eric Holder as torture, is shown above).

    Torture is, now, and has always been wrong, and though I am not a lawyer, I cannot imagine how it could possibly be legal. And those who engaged it in under the disgusting pretext of “protecting us” should face the full force of the law for doing so.

    Update: God bless General James P. Cullen for this.


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