2:00PM Water Cooler 12/11/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Torture Report

Anderson Cooper: “I did say that some techniques used by CIA were ones used by Khmer Rouge and others. When KR water boarded it was considered torture” [Twitter]. Good for him.

Michael Hayden: “[E]veryone knows what waterboarding does” [HuffPo]. Indeed.

Torture shrink Mitchell calls report “hooey,” while claiming Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents him from explaining why [Reuters]. So maybe the Obama administration could release him from the NDA?

Torture veep Dick “Fourth Branch” Cheney calls report “hooey,” while claiming the program was authorized by Justice [Christian Science Monitor].

Former CIA official: “[T]here’s no way people on the intelligence committees and in the leadership didn’t generally know what was going on” [The Intercept].

Obama won’t be throwing CIA director and torture advocate John Brennan under the bus [Bloomberg].

Obama won’t be releasing separate 1,700 page Justice torture report [New York Times].

“[T]here is no real systematic evidence to suggest that revelations of brutality lead to more violence” [Political Violence at a Glance]. Actual brutality, however, does.

Jeffrey Goldberg, stopped clock: “It is a terrible idea, both morally and practically, to allow hatred to shape counterterrorism policy, but that, I think, explains in part what happened at the CIA” [The Atlantic]. Yes, and perhaps it would be wise to spend less time engineering hate.

Torture is the health of the state (paraphrase) [Andrew Bacevich, Boston Globe].

“The scale that’s tipping, simply, is justice. It was already going over when the torture report hit like a ton of bricks” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. Must read.


“If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” –J. Paul Getty

“Events have rudely exposed the illusion that Greece’s people will submit quietly to a decade of colonial treatment and debt servitude” [Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph]. This is a Tory in the Torygraph, do note.

Greek PM Samaras slams opposition SYRIZA for bringing back ‘Grexit fears’ [Ekathimerini]. “Deputies have a duty to keep Greece in Europe.”

Fixed-income strategist: “There’s a lot of political uncertainty and I don’t thing it will disappear soon” [Businessweek]. 10-year yield exceeds 9 percent after Samaras speech.

Greece’s main opposition [anti-bailout] SYRIZA has a 4.8% lead over ruling New Democracy [Greek Reporter]. Election next week, framed as “chaos” [Business Insider]. Details on the mechanics of the two-months-early snap election [The Economist], in the frame of European growth worse than the lost decades in Japan.

Hunger striker Nikos Romanos calls off hunger strike after being allowed to attend business classes with ankle bracelet [Reuters].

40 Syrian refugees camped in Athens’ Syntagma Square apply for political asylum [Greek Reporter].

Under austerity, Greek economy shrank 30%, youth unemployment at 50% [Irish Times].


Warren speech against ghastly derivatives provision in spending bill throws red meat to the base [WaPo].[1] More like this, please. Lots more. And not just from Warren.

Joe Manchin (!) joins opposition to Weiss [HuffPo]. Note than in 2008, WV was Clinton country.

Yglesias explainer on the issues and inner party conflict over positioning that the Warren (and Durbin, Franken, Shaheen, Sanders, and Manchin) v Weiss fight is a proxy for [Vox].

Mary Miller, previous Undersecretary for Domestic Finance: “Of course he’s qualified. That job is so broad that no one has everything you need going in. I was certainly no expert on banking regulation when I went into it” [Bloomberg]. So, if any generalist can do the job, why hire the global head of investment banking at Lazard?

Jacob Lew at The Dealb%k Conference in Manhattan: “Antonio [Weiss] is extraordinarily well qualified.” [New York Times]. Personally, I’d say “adapted” rather than “qualified.” But perhaps that’s just me.

Lloyd Blankfein, at The Dealb%k Conference in Manhattan, speaking without an ankle bracelet: “I’ve always been a big fan of Hillary Clinton” [New York Times]. Alrighty then.

Henry Blodget: “I just made a bet with a political expert, former editor in chief of Slate, Jacob Weisberg, that Clinton won’t win” [Business Insider].

WSJ/NBC poll: “Are the country’s economic and political systems stacked against people like you? Yes, say 56% of Americans” [WSJ]. “58% of Democrats; 51% of Republicans; 55% of whites; 60% of blacks; 53% of Hispanics; as well as decent majorities of every age and professional cluster.” Since the “Obama coalition” wasn’t, maybe there’s a better approach to be found here, especially if Democrats could somehow disentangle themselves from stacking that systems in cahoots with the Republicans. Look, if we can’t figure out a reason to throw Democratic éminence or dorée. Bob Rubin in jail, couldn’t we at least hire an entartiste?

Wendy Davis “bum steer of the year” [Texas Monthly].

So Jebbie’s into private equity, too, along with the Mittster. Well well [Bloomberg].

NOTE [1] Cilizza: “[I]f you are either super busy or an easily distracted millennial.” Er, not all so-called millenials are easily distracted. Generational tropes, except in marketing collateral, are a sign of lazy writing and sloppy thinking.

Oil Slide

Handy charts on economic and behavioral changes [Bloomberg].

Norway central bank governor warns of “severe downturn” on oil [Bloomberg].

Stats Watch

Consumer comfort highest since 2007 on oil prices, perceived jobs gains [Bloomberg].

Jobless claims, week of December 6, 2014: “[L]ess momentum than expected in the labor market” [Bloomberg] Wrong story, dudes!


Congressional staffers plan to walk off their jobs this afternoon to show their support for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner after two grand juries fail to indict [CNN].

Lewiston, ME high school principal tells students not to protest but to make a poster, then orders removal of poster [Portland Press-Herald].

A lawyer looks at more missing parts from the Ferguson grand jury document dump [Another Word for It].

Undercover cop draws gun on Oakland protesters [NBC].

Hong Kong

Time lapse of the Admiralty camp being cleared [Wall Street Journal].

New forms of spontaneous and leaderless protest emerge [South China Morning Post]. Go shopping!

Police arrest key protest figures at their homes [Time]. Unprecedented.

Banner: “You are only clearing a camp … you can’t clear the idea” [Guardian].

Class Warfare

Explainer on budget deal’s pension-gutting provisions: “[A] dramatic evisceration of labor law safeguards that have been in place since 1974” under ERISA [Los Angeles Times]. Also too, a divide-and-conquer carve-out for UPS.

What it feels like to be unemployed for years [Vox]. As the result of a thoroughly bipartisan policy to raise the disemployment figures permanently and shrink the labor force, I might add.

News of the Wired

  • New Horizons spacecraft wakes up as it nears Pluto [Boston Globe]/
  • New techniques begin to clarify how stem cell reprogramming really works [Nature].
  • CIA infiltrated Cuban hip hip groups, paid milllions to Creative Associates International, inspired by Serbian protest concerts [AP].
  • Banking lobbyists opposing FOIA legislation [Freedominfo]. Nasty.
  • How Sierra Leone and Liberia handled ebola differently, and why [Foreign Policy].
  • Uber credits £20 to London woman who said driver offered her oral sex [Newsweek]. Stay classy, Travis!
  • Drugmakers use third parties to link online accounts to pharmaceutical purchases to “send them tailored Web ads” [Bloomberg]. Great. Big Pharma was bad enough. Now we’ve got Big Viagra Spammers.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. grayslady

    Was surprised to see Durbin’s name as one of the senators opposed to Weiss. As the (current) number two Dem in the Senate, his opposition signals a real divide between Senate Dems and Obama. Durbin was the one who pushed Obama to run in the first place, and he has typically flown air cover for Obama ever since. I think this is a bigger deal than it may, at first, appear.

    1. DJG

      Durbin is a classic Illinois liberal (which is not a bad thing). Among his mentors was Paul Simon, who people here still revere. I think that Durbin has given up on Obama. There were earlier indications. Now, lack of economic regulation, the torture report (which indeed implicates the Democrats), the unrest about the killings, the endless war–it’s not as if Durbin should care about Obama’s “legacy” and the siting of the presidential library.

      1. grayslady

        Correction: Durbin used to be a classic liberal, and yes, Paul Simon was outstanding. Durbin, along with Jan Schakowsky (Congresswoman from Evanston area), gave up their reliable liberal stances in order to make it appear that the Illinois delegation was supportive of Obama. As a consequence, for Durbin, at least, his re-election last November was a much tighter race against Oberweis than it should have been.
        My guess is that some Dems have finally realized that sticking with Obama after the November shellacking is akin to being a member of the band as the Titanic sank. Ultimately, Durbin is a member of the Senate club, and that’s where he’s going to swing what influence he has left. Obama did exactly nothing for Durbin or Schakowsky during the last 6 years, and I suspect they are beginning to realize that there won’t be anything for them from Obama in the future. Consequently, the gloves are off.

  2. diptherio

    “Deputies have a duty to keep Greece in Europe.”

    Funny, I would think that deputies have a duty to do what’s best for the Greek people, whether that involves keeping Greece “in Europe” (are they planning on moving it somewhere?) or not. Granted, I don’t know that much about Greek government.

    1. diptherio

      From the article:

      The Greek premier accused his political opponents of trying to cancel out the country’s success.

      Said with a straight face, nonetheless! If that’s what success looks like, I think I’d prefer failure.

      1. steviefinn

        They have a maximum of 300 members running the place which coincidentally matches the number of Spartans at Thermopylae. The majority of these, if they had been at the pass facing the Persian hordes, would in return for a slice of the action & the right to not be liable for prosecution for earlier massive corruption, would have welcomed Darius – sold the population into slavery, accepted loan shark deal bailouts in order to bailout Persian banks & then thrown in some fire sale ports & other public assets for luck.

        That’s about it really – I imagine that Leonidas would have found a good use for them, if that big hole featured in the movie 300 had actually existed.

      1. Alcofribas

        Sorry there are, in minds. All captive people hope local powers to protect them, while they cannot any more because of globalization !

        Reason why safety for 99% of european people don’t stand in breaking Europe, but making it a true responsible democracy in place of the 28 heads monster of EU. 28 headquarters with 28 private interests don’t make one. European political/economical elites of all countries have the same interest : not to let the 99% change the structure of EU and make it obey to european citizens interests.

        Finance or climate regulations won’t be achieved without an agreement between China, Europe and USA, right ? Only two of them are serious powers able to negociate, whatever you think of them. The third, Europe, is a canada-dry sort of power : at 100 meters it looks like a strong State, at 10 it’s incomprehensible, inside a ring between states/GF egoïsms and all citizens interests. And egoismus of great capital and states members reasons wins easily against the uncoordinated wills of thousands of citizens or associations wills. Exactly like roman troops winning against Barbarians, even when 1 against 100, in the old days.

        So, until Greeks or Portuguese or French or Irish… citizens haven’t realize they all are european citizens, they won’t unite and offer a much harder and efficient fight to 1% of richest Europeans.
        That’s all Folks !

        1. steviefinn

          At the beginning of the crisis the Greeks had leverage in terms of the contagion that could have caused meltdown in Europe, but that asset was thrown away by the above. Now they are in a worse state than before but could end up going the same way anyway through Grexit. Europe to all intents & purposes is made of of provinces within what is a German run empire, which uses the equivalent of lapdog governors to keep local populations under the thumb.

          The peoples of Europe coming together to fight the elites is a pipedream – a break up is much more likely & in a careful what you wish for kind of way – in the long term better than total bondage within this corrupt neoliberal construct run by foreigners, unelected one time Maoists, once failed national politicians, a central bank run by a Goldman clone & some twat whose country is nothing more than a tax haven.

  3. ex-PFC Chuck

    “Lloyd Blankfein, at The Dealb%k Conference in Manhattan, speaking without an ankle bracelet: . . “

    Present at the creation of a great meme! Henceforth, whenever quoting Blankfein, Diamon, et al insert the phrase “speaking without an ankle bracelet” after their name.

    1. Vatch

      I like it! But is there a danger that “ankle bracelet” might be too arcane for some people? Should the phrase be “speaking without an orange jumpsuit”?

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        No, it is impossible to conceive that Mr. Blankfein would ever be attired in an orange jumpsuit. It is barely possible to hope that he might be forced to wear an ankle bracelet. For maximum effect, sarcasm should never overplay its hand. In actual fact, it’s an enhancement of the sarcasm to acknowledge that even if Blankfein suffered some consequences for his crimes, he will never in a million years suffer the appropriate consequences. This is the hidden sting of carefully crafted sarcasm; if you will, it’s a metasarcasm.

  4. roadrider

    Re: what it feels like to be unemployed for years

    I can personally relate to this having been out of work for 16+ months (full disclosure – the last six months were spent dealing with a serious health issue that would have precluded any employment – not that I missed anything judging by the job ads). And its not only that its a struggle to maintain your technical skills you also have to fight the perception of employers that you couldn’t or haven’t maintained your skills even if you’ve done the best you can with it.

    Fortunately, I can do most of what I need to do in terms of skill maintenance without having to purchase expensive software or attend expensive training classes. Practically everything I’ve needed has been free or open source (except the new laptop I required when my old one started crapping the bed) and self-study has always been my MO. The problem is that even if you add new skills employers these days are requiring years of actual work experience with them and won’t (or don’t have the cognitive ability to) consider transferable skills (i.e, if you’ve mastered C++, as I have, you can easily learn to work with Python or C#) and because of the glut in the labor market (yes, even for software developers despite popular perception and media propaganda) and softness in the hiring markets they can set the bar as high as they want and if no one “qualifies” they’ll just go without or dial up that off-shoring firm.

    So those of us wearing the scarlet letter of long-term unemployment in the Obama/Dem Depression have little hope of returning to our former employment status no matter how hard we try.

    1. grayslady

      Awesome courage, awesome speech. Can we trade her for John Kerry? Maybe we could do a deal where she could become an instant citizen in order to take over as Secretary of State–similar to what the Ukraine just did by making its new (US citizen) finance minister into an overnight Ukrainian.

    2. OIFVet

      Nothing sexier than a strong, smart woman taking down a beigeist puppet like Merkel. I am in like with Fraulein Wagenknect.

    3. Alcofribas

      Sehr interessant ! Ist die ganze Linke mit Frau Wagenknecht Ansprache zufrieden ? Nur ein Punkt zu wachslen : Europaischen Burger sind mehr als Nachbarn ! Aber wenn die Linke im Deutschland scheint eine andere BRD Europa Politik wollen, wo liegt der ganze europaischer Partei (ein Aktivist Bund mit die Linke – Syriza – Front de Gauche – usw ) um die selben Worten im Brussels, und anderen Haupstadten zu sagen ? Nur das Frau Merkel hört kaum nichts…

      Very interesting ! Is the whole Linke party ok with Mrs Wagenknecht’s speech ? Just a point to be changed : european citizens are more than neighbours ! But when the Left party seems to want another european policy from German’s Federal Republic, where is the left wing paneuropean party (a militant federation of german – greek – french – aso left local parties) to say the same words in Brussels and other capitals ? Just because Mrs Merkel doesn’t hear very well…

    4. Alcofribas

      Very interesting ! Is the whole Linke party ok with Mrs Wagenknecht’s speech ? Just a point to be changed : european citizens are more than neighbours ! But when the Left party seems to want another european policy from German’s Federal Republic, where is the left wing paneuropean party (a militant federation of german – greek – french – aso left local parties) to say the same words in Brussels and other capitals ? Just because Mrs Merkel doesn’t hear very well…

    5. Alcofribas

      About Hong-Kong and PRC :

      1- Hong-Kong is both one of the most dangerous places in the world (because of finance) and one of the most hopeful lights (because of democracy civil protest)
      2- We cannot speak about it without considering China’s History : after the opium wars, the local territory became british. Of course, no Pekin political leader has never forget this, and now tempting to enforce Hong-Kong’s culture to be typically chinese in the future seem to be an obsession
      3- Since the Hans, Chines central power always consider federalism in a very top-down executive way. 200 langages in China ! Many hunger riots and attacks, some coming from outside, some internal : the central power fears as much externe leadership as social internal situation.
      4- The world fears China’s imperialist will, because it is quite unclear the power could accept to be democratic and sometimes leaded by conservative forces and sometimes by progressive ones. It’s not a question of China’s interests in the world scene : everybody understands the chinese power to protect them.
      5- Without China’s active participation, no one on earth can expect a change of world’s institutions and so to tackle planet’s needs of regulation. Also true for India, Africa, Asean, aso.
      6- There is no democratical model to export from USA or Europe to China : but the chinese regime ruled by CCP alone, even within an interesting mixed capitalist policy, is now facing Hong Kong’s reality with ideological habits of a deaf master.
      7- Carrying out the message outside “we don’t make politics but business only with foreign partners” and showing an iron voluntee to dominate its own citizens minds inside, is naive, perhaps a subconscient self misunderstanding of the chinese power. No one wants to invade China, McCartney is dead…And Chinese peoples competences, when diversified, are the best tools to address China’s diversified internal problems in the future.
      8- Every great region of the world has the same problem to find a correct balance between central and local powers. Both are needed to be clever and accurate in complex know-hows societies at the XXIth century. Ecological management of economical policies actually requires to perfectly adapt to each local situation the suitable measures. This cannot be done with a purely central decision centre, neither without its coordination.
      9- It is, of course even more accurate at the planet scale. So even when not Chinese, we are all concerned by China’s evolutions. But have to make our local powers evoluate in compatible vision, too !
      10- Do powers look after the Past’s competition much more than consider the Future ? Are they only conservative, even on very different ways ?

  5. grizziz

    “Hooey,” why are the ‘flat earthers’ of torture technology given so much media time to display their creationism?
    …rhetorical question… Here is Pat Lang’s answer to the tortures origin.

  6. anonymous123

    Re: Undercover cop draws gun on Oakland protesters

    What NBC’s report did NOT mention, was that the cops were the ones inciting the looting, according to people on the ground. They were also masked until their cover was blown. I really wonder if they were also part of the masked group that was looting and rioting on Saturday and Sunday….the media had been blaming the rioting over the weekend on “masked anarchists” instead. Of note, this wasn’t just Oakland protesters–the protests start in Berkeley every night, and they march down to Oakland and back. Both cities are involved.

    1. bob

      I saw somewhere that the cop, who aims his gun DIRECTLY at the camera, sideways gansta’ style, was complaining that his cover is now blown for undercover work. WAAAHH

      Also, when did collapsible metal batons become CHP standard? Are they even legal in cal?

        1. bob

          Some advice on ‘handling’ undercover cops-

          Tell a uniform that some guy claiming to be a cop is waving a gun around and pointing it at people.

      1. anonymous123

        It wasn’t the Oakland police. It was the CHP–California Highway Patrol. They were also the ones that carried out the mass arrests on Monday night. I thought they were only allowed to arrest people actually obstructing the highway, but apparently they can arrest people on the ground…..

  7. Jim Haygood

    Dead-tree government:

    “With the adoption of the rule in the House, the CRomnibus grew from 1,603 pages to 1,774 pages,” a congressional GOP aide tells Breitbart News. “The rule amended the bill to add some material on pensions that total 171 pages.”

    Most lawmakers have publicly admitted there is no way they could read this bill before voting on it.



    Imagine how tired your lips would get if you had to read 1,774 pages overnight.

    Isn’t there an audiobook for this?

    1. curlydan

      It’s a classic Congressional bill. Native Americans get screwed, DC’s attempts at democracy and sane drug policy are thwarted, and the rich get richer. Everybody _voting_ gets _something_ , so the bill can get the votes needed. By the end, I suspect it will be much longer, especially once the Senate adds its pork.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘The omnibus bill contains a measure that would block D.C. from using federal funds to enact legalization.’

        Prosecuting, jailing and paroling cannabis users costs money … and not doing it costs too?

        Seems like DC needs to reframe its accounting. And if that fails … SECEDE! ;-)

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The system in DC can run informally given the six plants per adult rule. If 100,000 citizens each grow six plants, possess whatever the maximum allowed is and the city police have no code to cite people with within the defined limits, that really changes the reality on the ground regardless what the Feds do, short of some sort of crazy martial law pot emergency being flogged. Still, I assume the venerable and robust black market would meet most demand as ever.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Oh come on! No need to read it; Wall Street says pass it, you pass it. And lo and behold, wonder of wonders, it’s official: HR 83 just passed, putting taxpayers “legally” on the hook for casino “capitlists” derivatives bets. Quelle surprise!

    1. Robert Dudek

      Easy. The cdn buck will also fall, making real estate even cheaper for foreigners, thus preventing a nominal decline in RE prices.

  8. Andrew Watts

    Michael Hayden Is Not Sorry – Politico

    Hirsh: You seem upset.

    Hayden: Yeah, I’m emotional about it. Everything here happened before I got there [to the CIA], and I’m the one she [Sen. Feinstein] condemns on the floor of the Senate? Gee, how’d that happen? I’m the dumb son of a bitch who went down and tried to lay out this program in great detail to them. I’m mentioned twice as much in there as George Tenet—but George and Porter Goss had 97 detainees during their tenure, while I had two.


    “They take statementsI made about the later days of the program, for example when I said it was well-regulated and there were medical personnel available, etc., and then apply it to the early days of the program, when there were not. It misrepresents what I said.”

    I’m inclined to side with Hayden on this because I believe that he’s being used as a scapegoat. I briefly covered this already in Part 6 of my series of replies to the CIA Torture Report. By the time Hayden became Director things like waterboarding and the murder of prisoners had ceased. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t answer for the destruction of the torture tapes (“Was he just following orders?”) or that I think he shouldn’t have been confirmed as Director in the first place.

    Hirsh: The report says that even the CIA’s inspector general was not fully informed about the programs—that in fact the CIA impeded oversight by the IG.

    Hayden: The IG never told me that. The IG never reported that to Congress. Look, I’m relying on people below me. If they tell you an untruth, you get rid of them. But I never felt I was being misled, certainly not on the important contours of this program. What they [the committee] are doing is grabbing emails out of the ether in a massive fishing expedition. This is a partisan report, as you can see from the minority report out of the committee.”

    This assertion also has the ring of truth and I’m not talking about Hayden either, I’m thinking of General Eric Shinseki. Working as the head of a bureaucracy like the VA or the CIA isn’t like the military where the person in charge can issue orders and see them carried out. I don’t know if Hayden fought as hard as Shinseki to see his orders carried out but I believe this is a reasonable comparison all the same.

    1. Eureka Springs

      How can anyone who is not yet speaking from a jail cell be considered a scapegoat for torturing only two people by their own admission (not to believe him nor forget he used the torture template to design his own red mist – drone with abandon program) and boohooing about it?

      1. Andrew Watts

        The SSCI report on torture offers us Hayden as one of the few individuals that could be held accountable and that he allegedly misled Congress about the CIA’s actions. Seeing as Hayden’s involvement dates only from 2006, his responsibility is far less than say members of Congress who knew and approved of the torture from the beginning of the program.

        We don’t know what interrogation methods were used on the two detainees he mentioned. The CIA torture report wasn’t completely clear about this topic outside the fact the “enhanced interrogations” had ceased in late 2006. My point remains that there are people who are criminally responsible for these war crimes that are not being mentioned.

        This is all an educated guess that I am making based upon what I know about Congress and how their oversight works. With the damage being done to the country’s moral fabric brought about by these heinous crimes there is a scramble to shift as much blame as possible to avoid any accountability. Is this really so hard to believe?

        I never brought up drones in the first place nor am I thinking about them. They’re a unwanted distraction at this point. You know what isn’t? The possibility that my Senator from the state of Oregon who sits on the SSCI is guilty of being an accessory to war crimes.

        That’s something worth thinking about instead, yes?

    1. ambrit

      The fact that the President of the United States would go on a “comedy” news show in the first place is deplorable. Does the man need acceptance from others so much that he’ll risk embarrassing himself and, more importantly, the office he represents in such a fashion? At least Dick Nixon, in his infamous “Sock it to me?” appearance on ‘Laugh In’ had the smarts to play it for laughs. (Two months later, Nixon would be elected president in a tight three way race.)

      1. abynormal

        agree…sickening to think of a leader joking around while we experience an open season only dick c. would celebrate.

        1. ambrit

          Turn that last name to Duck c. and we have a very creepy meme:
          “It’s Republican season!”
          “No, it’s Democrat season!”
          “Republican season!”
          “Democrat season!”
          “OOOOH! You’re despicable!”

    2. jrs

      He gets whiter by the day, or maybe that’s the portrait of him he has stored away that gets paler every day of his presidency (dorian gray style). What did he do with Colbert, drone him?

    3. Marianne Jones

      Interesting student response to Portland State University’s decision to arm the campus safety officers:


      I can’t imagine a worse decision from a public safety perspective. Why does a univ in central downtown Portland need it’s own armed police force when actual police are only a few minutes away? Does PSU have budget for training, budget for ammo procurement required for an adequately trained officer? Does PSU now have to carry insurance for the inevitable pay out for misconduct?

  9. bob

    ” why hire the global head of investment banking at Lazard?”
    So he can get a tax break. That 21 million he’s getting on leaving them? Tax free, because he is being “forced” to sell it.

    So much more banal than most people think.

    BTW, what he’s saving on his tax bill is worth more than 20 years of pay at his new job.

    I bet there are thousands of wall st assholes who would do the job for free if they could get the same tax break. That’s before setting any policy in their favor.

  10. LeitrimNYC

    On the story about the Cuban hip hop groups, Creative Associates are not afraid to do the US’ dirty work when there is a big payout involved. They recently won a contract to run a program to promote the de-radicalization of Islamic youth in northeastern Nigeria. When male Muslim adolescents/young men sign up for the program Creative have to record every available demographic detail about those youth, including GPS coordinates of where they live. As part of the contract they have to share this data with “other interested parties in the Federal Government.” Who do you those interested parties are?

  11. abynormal

    “We’ll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.”…

    “Is it only in the army in the Philippines that Americans sometimes commit deeds that cause all other Americans to regret?

    [Theodore Roosevelt 1901 relating reports of water torture in the Philippines to lynching in the south]”

    1. Paul Tioxon

      The military commander of the US forces in the Philippines was a Civil War hero sent to fight against the Spanish and wound up ruling that nation as an American protectorate. His name was Arthur MacArthur and he was the father of another American general who ruled a Pacific island after an American war to conquer, Douglas MacArthur. Both of them shared a complete contempt for civilian control over the military and themselves especially. The disgust for any empathy towards the Philippinos in the diplomatic efforts to replace the military government of Lt Gen Arthur MacArthur with a civilian government was evident as the general held against the direct orders of the president to step down and recognize his new orders from Washington. It seems the further the Imperial reach, the greater the entitlement to autonomy from civilian control by the military commanders who once finished their jobs of conquering, were ordered to step aside without any tradition sharing of power and the rewards of the neo-colonial arrangements for personal aggrandizement. An oft bitter pill to swallow after fighting and dying for your country.

      1. ambrit

        I would hope that I had more important things to worry about after I died for my country than emoluments.

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