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Topsail Island. Photo by joanneleon. January, 2013





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Does it Matter if John Brennan Was Complicit in Illegal Torture?

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a report on CIA interrogations during the Bush Administration, when prisoners were tortured in violation of domestic and international law. "The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight," Senator Dianne Feinstein, an occasional apologist for executive power, said after the vote. "I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine 'black sites' and the use of so-called 'enhanced-interrogation techniques' were terrible mistakes. The majority of the Committee agrees."

Arizona Senator John McCain, another War on Terror hawk, is among the several elected officials who have publicly called for the report to be declassified, but Dixon Osborn of Human Rights First made the case best: "Telling the American people the truth about torture isn't a task that should be left up to speculative reporting, Hollywood filmmakers, or publishing houses. It should be based on the facts. Thankfully, that report already exists. Now it should be made public."

In nominating John Brennan to head the CIA, President Obama has made declassifying the report a more urgent priority. It is one of several sources that could help us to answer an important question: Are the American people being asked to entrust our clandestine spy agency and its killing and interrogation apparatuses to a man who was complicit in illegal torture?

[...]

Sullivan thinks it would be just peachy if Brennan's nomination led to more transparency, but it isn't important enough to him to make it a litmus test. Whereas the ACLU thinks it's a dealbreaker - as they see it, no individual should be put in charge of the CIA until the public has a clear understanding of the extent to which they participated in illegal and immoral torture. 

Thanks to Obama, that's now regarded as an extremist civil libertarian position.

I stand with Christie on calling out Congressional Republicans for their ridiculous and dangerous actions withholding disaster aid funding for Sandy, but nobody should forget Christie's deception in overestimating state revenues in order to push through his austerity budgets.  He blew a big hole in our state budget and perhaps just flat out lied about projected revenue.  He's been trying to cover that up for a long time now.   Let's hope that he doesn't succeed in using one of the worst natural disasters in our state's history and the suffering of others to bolster his ideological idiocy and cover this up.  Perhaps a disaster in his own state will change his perspective and policy view on austerity going forward, but facts are facts and he still has to be held accountable for the damage he has done too.  For the record, Sweeney is no better than Christie and he helped Christie get the rotten budget through the legislature, but he's correct in what he is saying today.  He's just mad that Christie didn't give him more credit and pats on the back for betraying the NJ Democratic party to help the Republican austerity governor and instead tossed him aside after he was no longer useful to him.
Christie speech expected to focus on Sandy; Democrat blasts back

TRENTON - Gov. Christie will focus Tuesday's State of the State speech on rebuilding towns damaged by Hurricane Sandy, a storm that pushed the well-exposed Republican governor further into the national spotlight and brought him bipartisan praise.

But New Jersey Democrats were clear Monday that they hold him responsible for the economic doldrums the state had fallen into before Sandy: a 9.6 percent unemployment rate and the country's second-highest foreclosure rate.

Tax collections were behind by $251 million when the storm hit Oct. 29. Now, the state is running a $700 million shortfall in its $31.7 billion budget, a gap that could reach $2 billion when the fiscal year ends June 30, according to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.

Rep. Grayson mocks ‘bath salts caucus’ for voting against Sandy relief

“It’s the same 67 over and over again,” he noted on The Stephanie Miller Show. “It’s the bath salts caucus, the people that would rather eat your face than cut taxes on the rich.”





Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Evening Blues

Occupy Sandy Needs You. Still.

Can you work against the social safety net and still call yourself a Democrat?




Eric Clapton/Change the world





Debate

Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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