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September 22, 2006

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not to worry, the Dems are gonna take care of all this stuff. they're going to make the economy the focus of their 06 campaign efforts.

and yes, politicians of all stripes are morally bankrupt.

They're sending out memos NOW, three weeks AFTER the traditional start of the campaign season, about what their message is gonna be?

Crikey.

Ok, so we started with Rumsfeld & Cheney & ass't neo-cons being bad guys...say 20. We, after six years, are talking about throwing majority of the Republican Congress "out"...maybe 200. Two points aren't enough for curve fitting,huh.

The Distinguished Gentleman from Iowa:

Ya' know, sometimes Denny takes too long in the House shower and by the time it's my turn I'm shivering a bit, but I don't think Denny's tortured me. Why, and just this last Christmas I stood in line with the kids at Disneyland, must've spent 10-12 hours on my feet with them, but did my kids think I was torturin' them? No, they loved every minute of it, 'cept when I threw up on 'em on the teacups. Hoo boy, too many corndawgs that day.

And waterboardin'? Shee-yout, I was up on my waterboard on the lake last weekend, what I wouldn't give to be able to do that in the Caribbean. What's that? Feels like drownin'? Aww that's nothin', little Bessie got done held underwater in the pool the other day by her big brother, must been two three minutes or sumthin', she came up right fine. Little blue though, kinda talks funny since then too, must be a stage.

And gettin' slapped? Come on now! Just a little rough housin' between the boys, nothin' to be concerned about. And don't talk to me about sleep deprevation, I ain't had a good nights sleep in o'er thirty, the missus snores like a race car drivin' through a china shop, once shook the entire Nativity Seen right off the mantle.

Mr. Speaker: Gentlemen's time has expired. Chair recognizes gentleman from Maryland for two minutes.

The Distinguished Gentleman from Maryland: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I'd like to ask the The Distinguished Gentleman from Iowa a question if I could. If all these techniques are, as you say, just a bit of rough housin and nothin to be concerned about, nothing you don't have to go through everyday, why would they be effective at all?

The Distinguished Gentleman from Iowa: Mr. Speaker I do believe the Gentleman's time has expired.


Ugh (former Iowan)

and former good speller

We're watching our birthright get sold for a mess of pottage. And the pottage smells funny.

Ugh,
Is your comment a parody or did King actually say this? Would appreciate a link to this debate if anyone knows the link.

Amnesty International has stories that say torture sometimes works to get true information. It isn't totally reliable at failing. The question is whether it works better than the alternatives.

Like,here's a typical example. A british woman in argentina, a doctor, got asked to treat a gunshot wound. She did. The guy she treated was of course in trouble with the government or they wouldn't have needed her to do that. Five days later the police broke down her door, killed her maid, and dragged her screaming to the torture center. They stripped her and searched her and gave her somebody else's dress to wear, they threw her in a cell with 20 argentine women, none of whom had toothbrushes etc. They fed them some sort of slops. After a day they took her to a small room, stripped her naked, strapper her to an iron cot frame with no mattress, clipped electrodes to her nipples, and started playing with the switch. After maybe half an hour of that she quick made up a false story about an old man in a house; she gave them directions and descriptions. They gave her her dress back and drove her barefoot to check it. They followed the directions she'd given and found a house that came close to meeting her description. They broke down the door and found an old couple; the man came close to her description. They started beating both of them preparing to drag them off to the torture center. She said no, no, these are the wrong people. So the torturers dragged her back alone. They started to hit her but the commander reminded them they couldn't leave marks because she was british. So they strapped her to the frame and pushed one electrode up her vagina and clamped another to her labia and turned on the current. Every now and then they'd move the clamp to a different spot -- the other labia, the clitoris, etc. In between demanding information they joked that she'd never enjoy sex again. After a few hours of that she told them the truth -- it was the nuns in the convent. They were dismayed and they muttered among themselves. They couldn't torture nuns. They threw her back in the holding cell and thought about what to do with her. It would be dangerous to just kill her like they did their other victims, but it would be very bad publicity to let her go. But they didn't have room to keep her. They found somebody to hypnotise her and tell her it didn't happen, and she pretended to be hypnotised, and they let her go. She told the whole story as soon as she was out of the country. She claimed she told them the truth, and why would she lie about that? Maybe she didn't want them to keep looking?

So -- somebody who had no preparation, who was not really in on anything, probably told the truth the second time. After wasting something like 6 hours of the interrogation team's time. What would have happened if they'd just knocked on her door, let her invite them in, told her the man was a multiple murderer etc, and asked her help? Would that have worked? No way to tell, the experiment was not attempted. But see -- they eventually got the reputation for torturing and killing people, and the public didn't stand for it. The method failed on a grand scale because a government that tortures and kills its own citizens on suspicion is not going to generate enough loyalty.

You think effective torture involves "breaking the will". I'm not sure I have much experience with people whose wills are broken, so I'm not sure what to say about that. I suspect that the results are likely to be a lot like truth serum -- they'll tell you anything without stopping to think whether it makes sense, and you get to pick little nuggets of truth out of a big pile of rubble.

From:
Posted by: J Thomas at September 19, 2006 02:51 PM @ www.belgraviadispatch.com

Is your comment a parody or did King actually say this?

Um, yes.

Has anyone noticed how inherently incoherent the torture-party position is? They want tough techniques so as to make interrogations effective. And yet they are arguing that these tough techniques aren't torture. Well, if they are not torture (and since they aren't anything like offering a plea bargain, anything that appeals to the detainees long run rational interests), why would they be effective? In other words, on the one hand they are arguing that these are tough tough men who are trained to withstand punishment, resist our techniques. On the other hand they are arguing that these techniques which will fall well short of torture would be effective. Well why would we think that? When did the detainees become Mickey Mouse? If it's effective, it's torture. If it's not effective, we don't need it.

You make too much sense Ara.

Has anyone noticed how inherently incoherent the torture-party position is?

Yes (even got a Disneyland reference to match your Mickey Mouse).

"(even got a Disneyland reference to match your Mickey Mouse)"

Well, that's just Goofy.

Ugh: Apologies. I confess to only having read the Iowan, not the distinguished gentleman from Maryland.

Forget about Robert Penn Warren, it's time for a remake of this.

Ugh: Apologies. I confess to only having read the Iowan, not the distinguished gentleman from Maryland.

Well naturally, Iowans are much more interesting.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) seconded the "absurd" accusation. "We are facing sleep deprivation here in this Congress at the shutdown of every single session," he cracked."
Not "croaked" people, "cracked". What can it mean? Gary? Does King have a sense of humor or does the reporter of the session just think King might have? Should have? [You think that's funny?!] Should other's have it regardless of whether King has it? [Like ram it down the people's throats with the gratuituous "he cracked"] Was it a May Day call that went unheralded all on account of a reporter's presumptuousness? his negligence? Was it accurate reporting or more so?

Maybe the bottom line is that the Republicans have taken us to where parody is indistinquishable from reality. We have a President who is electronically fed "answers" during a debate, a defense secretary who ignores the questions he is asked and makes up his own, a VP out shooting his friend, the secretary of state referring to thousands dead and hundreds of thousands made homeless as "birth pangs" (probably code to the apocolyptic fundies), and congress comparing torture to disneyland lines and showers. How can you beat this with parody?

Reading some of the 'comedy' at Kingwatch.orq it is hard to tell when anything is a parody when taliking about King. In Michigan, the Republican challenger for govenr is trying to suck up to the BibleThumpers. He endorses ID as a science subject.

Vida: a very interesting question you ask: how can you beat this with parody? I don't think you can. I don't think you can satirize it either. The reality is hard enough to believe. But it makes me wonder: why aren't serious writers trying? Serious fiction seems divided between fey meditations on our postmodern condition and MFA stuff that is ideologically apolitical. I wonder if literature is just by now an inferior medium for these kinds of things, having been superseded by ... the blog.

"Vida: a very interesting question you ask: how can you beat this with parody? I don't think you can. I don't think you can satirize it either."

A complaint at least as old as Tom Lehrer's comment on Henry Kissinger being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yes...or Yasser Arafat.

"Yes...or Yasser Arafat."

That gave me flashbacks to seeing the Capitol Steps preface a song about the Middle East with Clinton introducing the Israeli PM to the Palestinian leader:

"Yassir, that's my Bibi."

Ara- But it makes me wonder: why aren't serious writers trying?

As someone who knows a lot of serious writers and MFAs, they are trying, but the publishers aren't buying. The market for literature sucks, and big publishers are only buying and promoting safe manuscripts. Besides, most readers are buying non-fiction anyway, and buying it predigested in their own ideological flavor.

It's a replay of the "lemon chicken" idiocy from last year.

Steve Chabot, at least, has a real fight for reelection. I wish now I'd gotten out to that fundraiser for his opponent, John Cranley, in DC earlier this week. I'll have to send Cranley a donation.

nous: any writers you could point me to? Any writers who are in part published, even if they have masterpieces sitting on the shelf?

Rudi --

I live in Michigan, and my state senator told me last year, proudly, in a public forum, that he supports creationism. Not intelligent design, creationism.

I live in Michigan, and my state senator told me last year, proudly, in a public forum, that he supports creationism.

I'd ask him how he thinks his support matters. Does he think it's up for a vote?

Ara- depends on what sort of thing you are looking for or interested in. I'm friends with the director of the MFA program at the university and she is always telling me about books that she thinks did not get the attention they deserved. I can always check with her.

Meanwhile I am buried beneath my Ph.D. exam list and can't read any of them anyway.

I'd ask him how he thinks his support matters. Does he think it's up for a vote?

Apparently, yes.

This letter to Josh Marshall is interesting. Short enough that I can paste it in full.

It may not be as bad as it appears because it may not pass before Congress adjourns.

Rove and his allies waited to present this issue until he thought the election time was right but he did not figure on an intra- party debate to delay the bill by more than a week. So, now time is short.

Meanwhile, I am guessing that Reid made the smart decision to keep the Dems out of the "negotiations". Why should they invest what little access to media they have on a bill without details, without knowing the dimensions of the constitutional issues. He saved our little powder until now we can see how bad the bill is but it may be easier to slow down the legislative mechanism enough to get us past adjournment, especially if we get a little help from Duncan Hunter and his buddies in the House.

So, let's not panic. Reid may be playing our cards right and, if so, this accounts for the silence of Feingold and Durbin and the others we would have thought to have been breathing fire.

Discuss.

I don't think you can satirize it either. The reality is hard enough to believe.

I think that these modern times could be well depicted/satirized by an updated retelling of the story of Cassandra.

I've called Feinstein's office and urged opposition. Otherwise, I got nothing.

how did we end up here?

I think that these modern times could be well depicted/satirized by an updated retelling of the story of Cassandra.

I've already nominated Bob for Cassandra, I think he's a lock for the part.

lj--don't buy it for a second.

They can extend the session if they want. And this could all happen very quickly now.

Didn't Reid say flat out this monstrosity wouldn't pass?

Hope he wasn't putting all his hopes on the Amazing Origami Three. Hard to think of what he does have in mind, though. Shutting down the Senate again? That turned out to be a damp squib last time - and who's to say the GOP won't just reconvene and do Senate business without the Democrats at all?

Thanks, Katherine, for deflating another tiny balloon of hope. (just kidding about you, not the tiny balloon)

I wonder if Americans could ever be induced to march, in the kind of numbers necessary, in support of the rights of non-citizens. (and lest I be accused of being anti-American, I think there is even less of a chance for non-Americans to do this)

I just heard on NPR that Specter intends to hold a hearing about the habeas corpus provisions Monday. Is that new? The only mention I could find online was a sentence at the very end of this article from New Zealand.

I guess he felt that McCain was getting too much exposure as the Independent Republican of the week (along with Warner and Graham), so he wants to get in his bit of verbal condemnation of the administration before ultimately doing nothing. After all, Specter is the guy that sort of posturing is named for, so he needs to defend his turf.

I believe Reid vowed that Specter's surveillance bill wouldn't pass. I don't think he's said anything about the torture bill.

Steve's right, Reid made that clear on the surveillance bill in a conference call to bloggers, but nothing about the torture bill.

The torture bill is good shorthand, but I'm wondering if a more pungent phrase could be made. Torture for you and me bill, though it is not clear who is the agent and the recipient. The We get to torture bill. Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Steve. I couldn't remember which one it was.

Not that it matters at this point.

Various links open, and this one should be read.

The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. I could breathe neither in nor out at first; I wheezed like a drowning man -- my lungs felt ready to burst. The doctor also seemed ready to burst into tears, but she kept shoving the pipe farther and farther down. Only when it reached my stomach could I resume breathing, carefully. Then she poured some slop through a funnel into the pipe that would choke me if it came back up. They held me down for another half-hour so that the liquid was absorbed by my stomach and could not be vomited back, and then began to pull the pipe out bit by bit. . . . Grrrr. There had just been time for everything to start healing during the night when they came back in the morning and did it all over again, for 10 days, when the guards could stand it no longer. As it happened, it was a Sunday and no bosses were around. They surrounded the doctor: "Hey, listen, let him drink it straight from the bowl, let him sip it. It'll be quicker for you, too, you silly old fool." The doctor was in tears: "Do you think I want to go to jail because of you lot? No, I can't do that. . . . " And so they stood over my body, cursing each other, with bloody bubbles coming out of my nose. On the 12th day, the authorities surrendered; they had run out of time. I had gotten my lawyer, but neither the doctor nor those guards could ever look me in the eye again.

We have become the doctor and the guards, I think.

In Feeney's case, I'd vote for it being a case of moral bankruptcy and lying. He's the guy who hired a programmer to create a vote-switching program back in 2000. The programmer testified about it in 2004.

I am putting myself on a political hiatus at least until after my birthday (October 6th). I find myself getting so depressed I'm not doing as well at mundane, personal responsibilities as I ought. That doesn't help. I am arranging with a friend to notify me when I need to call or write a representative, or take some other specific action like that, butI'm purging my links in browser and RSS reader. Just wanted to let folks know why I'm disappearing. I feel swamped. I'll still be upholding my obligations as a citizen, not that I expect it to help, but...the discourse along the way is just too intense for me right now, too discouraging, too soul-sapping. I feel myself in a nation composed a quarter or a third or a half of monsters and their willing lackies, and I have to get back in touch with life as it's lived among those who still care about their souls, the universal good, and basic fairness and justice.

"As someone who knows a lot of serious writers and MFAs, they are trying, but the publishers aren't buying. The market for literature sucks, and big publishers are only buying and promoting safe manuscripts."

I'm unaware of any time since at least the year 1900 that people haven't been making this complaint. Just for the record. (Of course, the correlation between an MFA and being a successful [I won't try to define "good"] writer is not demonstrably high, save perhaps inversely.)

LJ, compare:

The new procedures were instituted in early January. They include strapping detainees to a chair, forcing a tube down their throats, feeding them large quantities of liquid nutrients and water, and leaving them in the chair for as long as two hours to keep them from purging the food, according to detainee accounts and military officials. Detainees told their attorneys that the tactics, first reported last month in the New York Times, caused them to urinate and defecate on themselves and that the insertion and removal of the feeding tube was painful.

Mohammad Bawazir, a Yemeni detainee who was the subject of Friday's filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, told his lawyers he began his hunger strike in August and was determined to die in Cuba but stopped resisting the force-feeding last year when he decided it was futile. Bawazir's attorneys said he had been allowing the feedings -- through a tube that was left in at all times -- but the tactics changed dramatically on Jan. 11, when the military strapped Bawazir to a chair and forced a much larger tube into his nose and down his throat, causing him "unbearable pain."

That's a wonderful, powerful essay, LJ. Thanks for linking to it.

Apparently, yes.

That's not Creationism up for a vote, that's the permissibility of teaching Creationism in schools up for a vote. Which is of concern, certainly, but unrelated to my question.

Which is of concern, certainly, but unrelated to my question.

I know how you intended your question, but fwiw I disagree.

Um...you disagree that Creationism being a valid or invalid view of what actually happened is subject to a vote?

This seems inconsistent with the scientific method, to me, so I'm thinking you misunderstood.

This seems inconsistent with the scientific method, to me, so I'm thinking you misunderstood.

No, I understood. My disagreement concerns whether "the permissibility of teaching Creationism in schools [is] up for a vote" is related to the original question.

The charitable interpretation is that the state senator meant something like "Creationism is true, so I will make every effort to promote it", not "My support for creationism will help make it true."

Yes, exactly.

I'm not sure what question Anarch is posing, but my point intersects with morinao's at least a few AU from here.

And of course this is a trivial point about wording, which I thought would be incredibly obvious, but was (incredibly obviously) wrong.

Steve King of Iowa is an absolutely classic nut case; he has in the past recommended totally stripping all US courts of any power in the Terri Schiavo case, and predicted that Joe McCarthy will ultimately be remembered as "a great American hero". The question, of course, is how many more of him there are in the current Congressional GOP. A lot, I suspect. After all, they're currently being allowed by the voters to get away with such views.

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