Morning Links

Thursday, March 4th, 2010
  • Former military interrogator guts Mark Thiessen’s new book. “Why is a speechwriter who’s never served in the military or intelligence community acting as an expert on interrogation and national security?” Good question!
  • Authorities descend on Atlanta private school for a “sexting” scandal.
  • The faces behind the hand models.
  • More cities shortening yellow lights to generate revenue from red light cameras. Because, you know, it’s all about safety.
  • Another fawning profile of Rahm Emanuel. This one takes note of his “distractingly prominent quadriceps.”
  • Steven Hayne bills one Mississippi county alone $44,000 for his autopsy services.
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  • 39 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Tokin42 | 

      Part of my job in the military was dealing with Interrogators. The gentleman who wrote the piece on Thiessens book is only partly correct in his assessment. The rest is a pissing match between MI and the CIA which has been going on since the invention of both branches. “Our way works best!”

      What he manages to screw up is exactly the same charge he levels against thiessen. He misrepresents the army code of conduct, he neglects to mention that 90% of the military has zero resistance training outside of an hour long class in basic training, and he neglects to consider the massive differences in objectives between the roles of CIA interrogators and MI interrogators.

      Lastly, regarding waterboarding, I don’t know how many times I have to say this but if he can’t tell difference between a county sheriff waterboarding a US citizen and the CIA waterboarding a captive (with presidential approval btw) then I don’t know what to tell him.

    2. #2 |  Marty | 

      ‘Lastly, regarding waterboarding, I don’t know how many times I have to say this but if he can’t tell difference between a county sheriff waterboarding a US citizen and the CIA waterboarding a captive (with presidential approval btw) then I don’t know what to tell him.’

      one’s torture and the other one’s… torture?

    3. #3 |  Marty | 

      The documentary ‘American Teen’ does a nice job of showing a sexting scandal. The girl was humiliated by cruel classmates, but I don’t remember any ‘authorities’ building it up into a crime. The comments to the article seem to be written by a bunch of self-righteous morals jackasses…

    4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Didn’t we learn that torture is OK if the President pardons himself (and close friends) before leaving office? Gotta love the state.

      The shortening of yellow lights seems like a MASSIVE opportunity for a lawsuit…which will cost the city million…I mean the taxpayers…so, there’s no downside for the politicians…unless their kid gets t-boned in an intersection by a dumptruck due to a quick yellow.

      Gotta love the state.

    5. #5 |  Alex J | 

      All the arguments by people in favor of waterboarding prisoners comes down to this: It’s not torture when we do it.

    6. #6 |  Tokin42 | 

      #2 | Marty | March 4th, 2010 at 10:31 am

      one’s torture and the other one’s… torture?

      Even I gave you an upding for that, but no.

    7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      The more the Atlanta authorities “descend” the more they look like pervs trying to get their hands on some schoolgirl pics.
      ———–
      Threadjack, showdown tomorrow in NJ for those who might be annoyed by gov’t goons “descending” on
      people under 21. Car decals. Seriously.

      The state Attorney General’s office has filed a new motion in support of “Kyleigh’s Law” heading into Friday’s courtroom showdown in Morristown with a Rockaway attorney seeking to overturn it.

      Deputy Attorney General Sudha V. Raja, writing in support of the state’s motion for summary judgment, disputed attorney Gregg Trautmann’s motion that the decal law — due to take effect May 1 — violates a federal driver privacy law adopted following the 1989 stalking murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer in California.

      The federal law prohibits the disclosure of home addresses via motor vehicle records, while Kyleigh’s Law would require motorists — primarily teenagers — with a Graduated Driver License to affix a decal to their front and rear license plates.

    8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

      My wife was a hand model for me on a number of occasions back when I was doing commercial photography. She is quite proud of the role she played in creating those pictures. It’s no small thing being immortalized in celluloid, you know. :-)

    9. #9 |  Aresen | 

      Tokin42 | March 4th, 2010 at 10:21 am

      Lastly, regarding waterboarding, I don’t know how many times I have to say this but if he can’t tell difference between a county sheriff waterboarding a US citizen and the CIA waterboarding a captive (with presidential approval btw) then I don’t know what to tell him.

      If it’s not thet the latter has expensive pettifogging lawyers to cover his sadistic ass, then I’ll have to ask for a hint.

    10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

      From what I’ve read, red light cameras reduce more serious cross traffic accidents, but they also increase less serious rear end collisions dramatically. That sounds to me like it would be negligent NOT to increase the yellow light when installing red light cameras.

    11. #11 |  Pablo | 

      As has been said before the whole texting thing is a modern “Ill show you mine if you show me yours.” Yes it’s stupid and inappropriate but why should that be a crime? Isn’t this something that should be dealt with by families and the schools (assuming it was done during class hours) instead of putting these kids on sex offender registries for the rest of their lives?? Jeez.

    12. #12 |  Pablo | 

      Sorry meant “sexting” not “texting.”

    13. #13 |  Marty | 

      I got a red light ticket for a rolling stop before turning right… a HUGE percentage of the tickets are for this- it’s a free $100 for every offense. the thing that stands out, to me, is that the city has cops review each offense to confirm if it’s a violation. this looks like a guarantee that cops/friends of cops/etc will never get a ticket. I can see why people in England are strapping tires filled with gasoline over the speed cameras and lighting them. I’d love to know a clever way to disable them- like the santas did in Arizona last year…

    14. #14 |  Aresen | 

      Pablo

      If stupidity were a crime, we’d have to arrest the entire legislative class.

      NTTAWWT

    15. #15 |  Michael G MD | 

      I am mad. I can’t get that article from Atlanta to stay on the screen. It keeps reloading to another page before I can read it!

    16. #16 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      “I can see why people in England are strapping tires filled with gasoline over the speed cameras and lighting them. I’d love to know a clever way to disable them- like the santas did in Arizona last year…”

      Hmmm, do they have sniper-quality paintball rifles?

    17. #17 |  MassHole | 

      We should arrange a waterboard-off. We could even get it on pay per view. First bracket is Tokin42 vs. Thiessen. Let’s see who can last the longest!

    18. #18 |  Mark | 

      How about Casey James doing Keb Mo’s “Hand It Over”? Seems like that could be fun.

    19. #19 |  Tim C | 

      “”I’m a hand model, mama. A finger jockey. We think differently than the face and body boys… we’re a different breed.”

    20. #20 |  johnl | 

      Linked at the Atlanta story, an excellent survey of “pre-prison”.
      http://www.alternet.org/rights/145834/arrested_for_doodling_on_a_desk_zero_tolerance_at_schools_is_going_way_too_far?page=entire

    21. #21 |  Les | 

      Tonkin, help us understand. What’s the difference? “A captive?” That can mean anyone. A “U.S. citizen” can be “a captive.” And it’s been very well documented that in many cases the “captive” in question has been innocent.

      Given that fact and the equally well documented fact that the CIA spent many decades after WW2 helping to overthrow democratically elected governments, assisted mass-murdering dictators, and supported terrorists, why do you trust these guys?

    22. #22 |  Tokin42 | 

      #21 | Les | March 4th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      An american citizen held in a u.s. jail is entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to them by the constitution, An enemy combatant is not. I’m unsure why that is hard to understand.

      It is up to the president and the congress to decide, with voters blessings, how enemy combatants are to be treated and dealt with. Everyone from the top on down knew what was going on, knew beforehand who was going to be waterboarded, and briefed after the fact. We can go around and around regarding the definition of torture but the fact remains at the time the 3 were waterboarded it was not illegal.

    23. #23 |  Tokin42 | 

      #21

      I missed your second statement. Not only do I not trust the CIA I think they’re buffoons. I also think they’ve been given way too much credit for causing chaos during the cold war when I don’t believe they’re capable of crossing the street without a map.

    24. #24 |  InMD | 

      Tokin42

      The Constitution applies to the federal government generally, not just in its treatment of US citizens. Treaties we have entered are “the law of the land” under Article 6 and override federal or state practice. That includes the Geneva Conventions.

      Attempts to distinguish between American citizens and “enemy combatants” or foreigners lack legal support (that is anywhere outside of the twisted and sad attempts at law practiced by the Bush administration’s lackeys). The Constitution describes what the federal government may do. There are no territorial bounds nor are there distinctions between citizens and non-citizens. The Bill of Rights are mostly negative rights in that they describe what the government may not do. It does not vest certain individuals with rights as opposed to others. Where citizenship is required the Constitution states it (see qualifications for the presidency).

      Any nonsense about the fact that those at Guantanamo and elsewhere don’t wear uniforms is a weak argument. They still largely meet the definitions in the Geneva conventions. Even then what we have done in this “War on Terror” has gone against United States policy in every other conflict we have engaged in over the last 60 years.

      The only problem with that article is how laudatory it is of the Obama administration at the end, who has failed so far to do nearly enough to reverse course on the Bush administrations most egregious abuses. Yes, it’s good we aren’t waterboarding any more, but the accused still haven’t been given trials and the administration still endorses indefinite detention. We’re still a long way from normal or acceptable behavior pursuant to rule of law and I’m skeptical that the Obama administration has the spine to get us there.

    25. #25 |  Les | 

      An american citizen held in a u.s. jail is entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to them by the constitution, An enemy combatant is not. I’m unsure why that is hard to understand.

      It’s hard to understand because it requires that we trust the government to only arrest “enemy combatants” when it doesn’t even know the definition of “enemy combatant.” So, really, it’s hard even for the government to understand. And if the government can call anyone it wants an “enemy combatant” (and it can), why should we embrace this arbitrary and subjective term?

      We can go around and around regarding the definition of torture but the fact remains at the time the 3 were waterboarded it was not illegal.

      If there are many legal rulings in which waterboarding was considered torture (and none, that I know of in which it was considered not to be torture) how is it a “fact” that it wasn’t illegal?

      And why, if you don’t trust the CIA, do you take their word for it when they claim to have only waterboarded three suspects?

    26. #26 |  InMD | 

      And just to add while Congress has the authority to set up lesser tribunals (essentially what all federal courts are) keep in mind that its attempts to set up special tribunals for “enemy combatants” have all failed as unconstitutional. They have the authority to set up different tribunals but they don’t have the authority to set up kangaroo courts that violate the Constitution. The Executive branch has no such authority. They have proven themselves woefully inadequate at the task making federal courts the only realistic and lawful option.

    27. #27 |  Aresen | 

      Tokin42 | March 4th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      #21 | Les | March 4th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      We can go around and around regarding the definition of torture but the fact remains at the time the 3 were waterboarded it was not illegal.

      So I was right about the difference: It’s about having pettifogging lawyers to cover the torturer’s ass.

      1) Torture is against US law. Any US citizen committing an act of torture is breaking US law. The President may not grant a dispensation.
      2) Torture is against international law. Whether the US signed the particular law or not is irrelevant. I think that was settled pretty clearly at Nuremberg.
      3) Torture is fundamentally a violation of every principle a libertarian stands for. “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

    28. #28 |  Tokin42 | 

      InMD,

      The Constitution applies to the federal government generally, not just in its treatment of US citizens. Treaties we have entered are “the law of the land” under Article 6 and override federal or state practice. That includes the Geneva Conventions.

      That’s isn’t quite correct. The US constitution overrides any and every treaty obligation and it specifically gives the president and the congress the authority in deciding war powers issues.

      This is an issue that libertarians seem to hate and I’m not sure why. By giving the power/authority to actual elected officials it keeps the voters as the deciding factor in how/when we wage war. IMO, war is a political tool and taking the voters out of the loop by letting the courts decide is a mistake.

    29. #29 |  Mattocracy | 

      Minors in America are second class citizens. They hardly have have any of the rights that adults do, but they can be punished just as severely, especially if they try to act as adults do.

    30. #30 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      “Minors in America are second class citizens. They hardly have have any of the rights that adults do, but they can be punished just as severely, especially if they try to act as adults do.”

      Increasingly minors are not supposed to interact with the real world.
      Case in point, Alice in Burton’s new film has been “brought up
      to legal age.” Strange, considering the whole plot was her
      innocence vs the harshness and weirdness of the world.
      PC sentiment run amok?

    31. #31 |  wunder | 

      threadjack warning … and I hope Radley hasn’t already posted this, but I think it’s great that someone is fighting back – even a little. I wonder if the guy in this story is an Agitatortot.

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/03/flipping-off-cops-is-legal-not-advised/

      Love the headline, too.

    32. #32 |  InMD | 

      Tokin42

      Incorrect. See Missouri v. Holland. Certain actions of the federal government that would be unconstitutional otherwise can be taken pursuant to treaties properly made according to the Constitution. However, certain fundamental rights (like the right to be tried by a jury) cannot be denied through a treaty. See Reid v. Covert.

      The Constitution does not override any and every treaty obligation, indeed many treaty obligations may override provisions in the Constitution provided that they have to do with international affairs and aren’t forbidden by the Constitution. That is precisely what happened in Missouri where provisions previously found unconstitutional in a federal law were found constitutional in a treaty. In both Missouri and Reid the Supreme Court held that the federal government may make any treaty provided the treaty does not do anything forbidden by the Constitution. So far that has meant treaties may not infringe upon the Bill of Rights and constitutionally protected fundamental liberties (such as a jury trial, the holding in Reid). However some things that would otherwise not be constitutional are when they are in a treaty particularly when it is related to issues of federalism or trade.

      Even if you reject the jurisprudence it doesn’t matter because once again the federal government cannot ever lawfully do things forbidden by the Constitution such as torture, indefinite detention, and eliminate due process for certain individuals based on arbitrary classifications like “enemy combatant” be it in a treaty or otherwise. The fact that an official is elected and granted certain powers does not mean that they may use those powers to break the law.

    33. #33 |  Stephen | 

      I can imagine situations where I personally would use real torture to get the information I need. ( I mean electric wires and hot pieces of metal and acid and cutting their dick off one thin slice at a time kind of torture.)

      If some bastard kidnapped my child in my presence(maybe my only choice was let him take my child or die and he gets my child anyway) and I caught him later and wanted to know where my child is, anything and everything would be fine by me and I would do it myself and to hell with the consequences.

      I still think that the govt shouldn’t be doing it because they WILL start using it anytime they want, not just in some extreme highly unlikely case like I just described.

    34. #34 |  Mattocracy | 

      I just don’t get why our various levels of gov’t decided on these arbitrary ages as a basis to legalize and criminalize behavior. I don’t know if anyone every read The Confederate War Widow, or saw the made for TV movie here. The gist is a 65 year old general marries a 15 year old girl. He dies and she gets his pension check until she dies in the 1920′s or so.

      Bottom line, 100 years later and that is crime. But had he tried to marry another man at that time and he would have lynched by an angry mob.

      FRD and his wife were cousins, although I’m not so sure how distant. Imagine if that was true for Obama or McCain. Zero chance at the presidency.

      And what’s worst, you can’t say “just wait until a politician or a DA has their kid brought up on these charges.” We all know that they will have different set of rules and be let go. Just like rich white people go to rehab for drugs and poor black people go to prison.

    35. #35 |  Stephen | 

      I think poor white people end up in prison as well. It’s the “rich” part that really matters. OJ Simpson?

    36. #36 |  ZappaCrappa | 

      OK…I’ll concede…you want to torture prisoners…go ahead and torture them to your little sadistic heart’s content. However, I will laugh at you the next time I hear ANYONE in the government get all self-righteous over our captured soldiers being tortured.

      Suggestion…stop watching so many episodes of “24″…Jack Bauer is a fictional role played by an actor….it will not work out that way for you…seriously…it won’t.

      Red Light Cameras – I actually called and talked to my state’s transportation guru about this. He conveniently failed to tell me (no matter how many times I asked him) how shortening the length of the yellow light was making the intersections safer and basically called me a clueless trouble maker. He eventually hung up on me…it was after I asked for about the 5th time to stop trying to bullshit and distract me and just simply explain to me how shortening the light made it safer….or was I endangering his kickback. Asshole. My government can lick my sweaty nut sack.

    37. #37 |  Stephen | 

      “I will laugh at you the next time I hear ANYONE in the government get all self-righteous over our captured soldiers being tortured.”

      I think anyone getting self-righteous about our guys getting tortured is an idiot. Of course our guys are going to be tortured. What war have we fought where that wasn’t the case?

      Don’t laugh at me, laugh at the idiots spouting that nonsense. War is hell and no amount of posturing will change that. (I have been to war by the way)

    38. #38 |  Aresen | 

      ZappaCrappa | March 4th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      Suggestion…stop watching so many episodes of “24″…Jack Bauer is a fictional role played by an actor….it will not work out that way for you…seriously…it won’t.

      As I mentioned on another thread, I hate the recurring storyline in movies and TV where the supposed “good guy” KNOWS he can get the information he needs to stop the horrible criminal if he just breaks the law/violates someone’s rights. Invariably, he does break the law/violate someone’s rights and stops the evil criminal just seconds before the criminal/terrorist kills someone or blows something up.

      Just once, I’d like to see it happen that the ‘good guy’ tortures the wrong person and doesn’t get the information and the whole thing goes for shit because he was ignoring the evidence in front of his face.

    39. #39 |  GreginOz | 

      you can extrapolate that U.S. torture victims number in the thousands.

      I think I’ll go puke now

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