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The ugly stain of torture


Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Morris Davis, a bird colonel in the Air Force, and until October the chief prosecutor in Guantanamo Cuba, related the story of Tom Ahern in the New York Times ten days ago. According to Davis, Ahern was the Tehran station chief during the Iran hostage crisis. He was taken captive and abused by the principal Iranian interrogator. Just before the release of the hostages the interrogator approached Ahern and said the abuse he had suffered was inconsistent with the teachings of Islam. The interrogator offered to let Ahern abuse him in the same manner, apparently to reach some form of atonement. Davis reports Ahern looked at the interrogator and said, "We don't do stuff like that."

After Attorney General Michael Mukasey and CIA head Michael Hayden testified recently to Congress, the best we can now say is, we don't do stuff like that very often. Or maybe, we don't do stuff like that unless we think it's important. Maybe, we don't do stuff like that unless we don't know what else to do.

I find the discussion, in this, my country, about the legality of methods of interrogation that have been described as torture for the last 500 years the most disturbing thing involved with the Iraq invasion. Not since the Inquisition has simulate drowning been admitted to be a state policy. Mukasey and Hayden pinned that on us before a congressional committee.

After Abu Gharaib and the Mukasey and Hayden testimony, not only admitting we tortured, but saying we will do it again if we think we need to, Canada put us on a list of countries that torture. In their declaration they specifically mentioned Guantanamo.

Later Stephen Bradbury, who had written the legal opinion that apparently the CIA and Pentagon relied on as declaring simulated drowning legal, before a House subcommittee said the only similarity to the Inquisition method and ours, was they both used water. M.S. Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University, calls this defense of our more benign use of the method "chilling" and "obscene". I agree.

Dan Froomkin, Harvard professor writing for the Washington Post on-line, has many times challenged the administration to describe verifiable cases where information derived from torture has prevented attacks or been benefit to the country without receiving a reply.

Abu Zubaida is the administration's poster child for torture. He is supposed to be the mastermind of all that has gone wrong. A high mucky-muck in the al Quaida ch .....
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Is it time to change how we campaign for President?

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Eight months until November 4th! Can we bear it?

How many of us are honestly sick of political ads, phone calls, polls, attacks, claims, and sound bites?

Maybe it is time to consider putting some limits on how we campaign for preside ..... 
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Hey, just take a pill

Fri, Feb 15th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Winter TV watching is a special health hazard- guaranteed to increase weight and decrease IQ in direct proportion.

Sandwiched between ads for extra cheese pizza and All-You-Can-Eat buffets are ads for cholesterol medications. Dr. Jarvik is ..... 
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How much change do we really want?

Fri, Feb 8th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

As the number of presidential hopefuls gets smaller an interesting field of candidate's remains. Each in their own way represents a certain segment of the electorate. Left in the race is a person of African-American heritage, a woman, a Mormon, an e ..... 
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Nobody was listening anyway

Fri, Feb 1st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Last Monday night my wife was baby sitting so I was able to watch the "State of the Union" speech in its entirety. There was no one home to hear some of my language.

Most of these speeches are used to lay out bold and broad policy objectives ..... 
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What I did at Camp

Fri, Jan 25th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Camp is for kids, right? Well, I left my three kids with dad and set out for St. Paul for a weekend of intense "camp," without the traditional canoeing, mosquito-friendly tent, and fireside songs. I was a little nervous about what to expect, but I c ..... 
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It's all about the Benjamins

Mon, Jan 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

With a possible economic recession in our near future some in government think that a tax cut is the way to prevent this from happening. This theory is if we pay less in taxes we will have more money to spend and thus boost the economy.

I g ..... 
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Second hand smoke

Mon, Jan 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

The reported health risks of second hand smoke are likened to the Great Plagues of Europe. If it were true, Baby Boomers would not be a threat to Medicare and Social Security. They would not have been large enough to mount campaigns for women's righ ..... 
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The Year of the Rat(s)

Fri, Dec 28th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Some last minute thoughts as we enter 2008, or in the Chinese lexicon, the Year of the Rat.

• There is one year left of the Bush - Cheney junta. They introduced the world to such noble concepts as rendition, torture (think waterboarding) ..... 
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