Cheney: How The Grinch Stole Festivus!

• “I’m not talking about the actual country. I’m talking about the idea of America. The idea of America would never torture.” —Stephen Colbert

20 key findings about CIA interrogations from the Senate Intelligence Committee's report released December 2014 (NY TImes):
1 (torture) “not an effective means of acquiring intelligence”
2 “rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness”
3 “brutal and far worse than the CIA represented”
4 “conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher
5 “repeatedly provided inaccurate information”
6 “actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight”
7 “impeded effective White House oversight”
8 “complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions”
9 “impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General”
10 “coordinated the release of classified information to the media”
11 “unprepared as it began operating”
12 “deeply flawed throughout the program's duration”
13 “overwhelmingly outsourced operations”
14 “coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved”
15 “did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained”
16 “failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness
17 “rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable
18 “ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections”
19 “inherently unsustainable
20 “damaged the United States' standing in the world”
source: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/cia-interrogation-report/key-findings/

• Watch video below: “Dick Cheney's Mind Is 'The Scariest F--king Place In The Universe,' Says Jon Stewart” (after short ad)

• “(The CIA Torture Report confirms that) the CIA's actions a decade ago are a stain on our values and on our history.” —Senator Dianne Feinstein

• ”We didn't treat the Nazis like this. We didn't' treat the Vietcong like this. This is something that is without precedent in American history." —CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin

• “The Torture Convention (effective 1987) prohibits the United States from deporting an individual to a country where there is a reasonable expectation that he will be subjected to torture — physical, mental or otherwise. —Jonathan Shapiro

• “The purpose of torture is not getting information. It's spreading fear.” —Eduardo Galeano

• “There is still much debate about whether torture has been effective in eliciting information - the assumption being, apparently, that if it is effective, then it may be justified.” —Noam Chomsky

• “Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management. —Late Senator Edward Kennedy

• Watch below: Former President George W. Bush interviewed by Matt Lauer: Bush: "Look, first, we used the technique on three people. captured a lot of people and used it on three. we gained valuable information to protect the country, and it was the right thing to do, as far as i'm concerned."

• “One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture.” —Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

• “We are America; we don't torture. And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train.” — Fox News anchor Shepard Smith

• "We tortured some folks…We did some things that were contrary to our values." —Barack Obama

• “Torture didn’t just happen, after all – contrary to the president’s recent statement, “we” didn’t torture some folks. Real actual people engaged in torture. Some of these people are still employed by the U.S. government … It is bad enough not to prosecute these officials – but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the U.S. government to protect them is incomprehensible. The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA.” —Outgoing Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), Senate Intelligence Committee

• Watch below: Former VP Dick Cheney: "I have no problem (with torture) as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and to avoid another attack against the United States. I was prepared and we did, we got the authorization from the president and authorization from the justice department to go forward with the program. it worked. It worked now for 13 years. We've avoided another mass casualty attack against the United States ... I'd do it again in a minute".

• Watch below: Former POW, Senator John McCain speaks out against torture:

• Watch below: Senator Dianne Feinstein discusses release of the CIA Torture Report:

•” When you send the signal, as the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime that ought to be punished, it's just a policy dispute that you argue about on Sunday shows, of course it emboldens torturers like Dick Cheney to go around and say, 'What I did was absolutely right.’” —Glenn Greenwald 

High Price of Free Speech

Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

• The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a student protest at UC Berkeley in 1964-65 resisting the ban against on-campus political activities and other archaic restrictions of the repressed post-WW2 era. FSM leaders included Mario Savio, Michael Rossman, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg —Wikipedia

• The FSM, an outgrowth of civil rights and anti-war activism, marked a revolutionary national shift from paternalistic oversight by college administrators to the current era allowing on-campus political activities, free speech and academic freedom. —Wikipedia

 Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

 Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

• Below: Major tipping point 10.1.64: Jack Weinberg's arrest for on-campus political activism: manning a table to raise funds for the Congress of Racial Equality. 

“The car was held hostage for 32 hours. With Jack inside, the police car became the platform for a continual rally. Art Goldberg and his sister Jackie, both experienced student activists, were the leaders of the United Front (campus activist coalition), but from the top of the car new people emerged who captured the loyalty of the crowd. Mario Savio, a junior who had transferred from Queens, New York the year before, was soon recognized as the most charismatic speaker.” —Jo Freeman, JoFreeman.com

Jack Weinberg  under arrest. Photo:  Occident,  thx Curtis Mekemson

Jack Weinberg under arrest. Photo: Occident, thx Curtis Mekemson

• "We have a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anybody over 30." —Jack Weinberg (1965 interview with San Francisco Chronicle reporter; many others co-opted the phrase). 

• Below: Mario Savio (12.8.42 - 11.6.96), iconic leader of the FSM, most famous for his revolutionary speech (excerpted here, two months after his speech atop the police car) at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza 12.2.64.

A 1999 report revealed that Savio was followed and investigated by the FBI for more than a decade “because he had emerged as a prominent leader,” although there was not evidence he was a real threat. The FBI justified their pursuit “because they thought he could inspire students to rebel.” (SF Chronicle)

• Below: Overview of the FSM from the doc, "Berkeley in the Sixties"

• "The rights you enjoy on this (Berkeley) campus did not come easily. They had to be won by unrelenting agitation, by disturbing the peace, and much of the credit belongs to a generation of UC students often denigrated for their excesses." —Leon Litwick, activist, UCB professor emeritus of American history and Pulitzer Prize winner, who quit his campus library job in 1965 to protest the UC system's loyalty oath. 

The  five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment  to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

The five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

• "You (President Obama) recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in. —Joint letter to President Obama from most major professional journalism associations, 7.8.14

• Example: "US Military Banned From Reading (Pulitizer-winning journalist) Glenn Greenwald's New Website" https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ — David Gilbert, International Business Times, 8.21.14

• “When the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” —Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

• “No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 1941) 

• “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” ―Oscar Wilde (paraphrasing Voltaire)

Speaking of the high price of free speech on campus:

• “Thanks to intense bank lobbying, student loans are uniquely punitive. Most can’t be refinanced, which means that people who borrowed at 8 percent in the 1990s are still paying 8 percent (when banks are paying almost zero). Unlike other loans, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, and a borrower’s salary, Social Security and even disability checks can be garnished.” _Barbara Gerson, SF Chronicle

Wall Street Journal  Graphic

Wall Street Journal Graphic


Spyers, Liars, Pants on Fire

fizzdom-1305-spyers-liars-pants-on-fire.gif

• Below: Replaying earlier Fizzdom post about Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's classic whopper.

fizzdom-1086-john-oliver-gets-hot-about-spying.gif

• "By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth." — George Carlin

• Below: Jon Stewart looks at CIA's checkered history including torture and the recent breach of Senate Intelligence Committee files, plus Senator Dianne Feinstein's outrage and her ironic inconsistencies about privacy. (video is longish but worth the time)

• Below: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) calls for CIA Director John Brennan's firing for the agency's accessing Senate Intelligence Committee computers.

• Below: Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) blasts Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former NSA Director Keith Alexander for lying to Congress (in Jon Oliver animation above). 

• "Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth — to see it like it is, and tell it like it is — to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth." — Richard Nixon, accepting the presidential nomination in 1968 

 

Matt Damon's Obama Bromance

fizzdom.com john grimes president barack obama matt damon movie star celebrity constitution anticipoointment change 4th amendment hope bromance politics

Matt Damon: "(Obama) broke up with me. There are a lot of things that I really question, you know: the legality of the drone strikes, and these NSA revelations ... Jimmy Carter came out and said we don’t live in a democracy. That’s a little intense when an ex-president says that. So  (Obama's) got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor."

•  Barack Obama"Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau, so right back atcha, buddy!”

Damon: "A one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."

• Above: Watch Matt Damon's Top 10 Roles (WatchMojo.com)

• Damon's 2013 film Elysium "has been panned by conservatives for arguing for a socialist utopia as an alternative to a future world of haves and have-nots. The Occupy Wall Street-inspired plot line involves a wealthy elite class that has abandoned an overcrowded Earth for a luxury space station, leaving the rest of humanity in crime-ridden and poverty-stricken squalor."

• Actor, producer, writer Matt Damon (b. 10.8.70) has been actively involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, and Water.org.

Damon was raised in Cambridge, MA near close friend Ben Affleck and neighbor/author/activist Howard Zinn. He dropped out of Harvard just short of a degree to pursue acting. 

• Damon is a supporter of the Democratic Party and hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. He has been mentioned as a future political candidate

Freedom: What's It Mean To You?

• Which of the quotes above appeal to you?

• Which of the quotes above appeal to you?

• Original edits

• Original edits

• "The contradiction between the claim that 'all men are created equal' and the existence of American slavery attracted comment when the Declaration was first published. Although Jefferson had included a paragraph in his initial draft that strongly indicted Britain's role in the slave trade, this was deleted from the final version. Jefferson himself was a prominent Virginia slave holder having owned hundreds of slaves."

• "From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress."

• "Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin and all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed."

• "In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as President of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day." (quotes above: wikipedia)

• Above: A must-see for fireworks fans: New Year’s Eve 2013. Watch the city of Dubai break the Guiness world record for largest fireworks display, with 479,651 shells fired in just six minutes at a rate of almost 80,000 shells per minute and 1,332 fireworks per second.