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Dick Cheney seems to think America’s moral standards are set by al-Qaeda

It’s going to take a long time before the unflattering image of Dick Cheney shown above fails to enter my mind’s eye at the mere mention of his name. I never liked the man much when he was vice president, but only recently have I come to regard him as a moral leper. Consider, for example, Cheney’s attitude toward torture, which Conor Friedersdorf aptly characterizes HERE. Once 9/11 happened, Dick Cheney ceased to believe that the CIA should be subject to the U.S. Constitution, statutes passed by Congress, international...

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If you think voting is a waste of time and effort, you’re only fooling yourself

It has long been my opinion that the height of civic laziness and political ignorance are both embodied in the widespread notion among Americans, especially young Americans, that the act of voting is a useless exercise. I was reminded of this subject yesterday when New York Times columnist Charles Blow WROTE that  he was taken aback recently by some of the cynical responses to a speech he made at a graduate school: I couldn’t help noticing a disturbing sentiment echoed in a few of the questions about the value of voting. One gentleman even...

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Most Americans say global warming is happening, and half say humans are causing it

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post says Democrats would do well to talk more about the issue of climate change. He bases that advice on a new Associated Press POLL that was funded by Yale University: The key findings are that Americans believe by 56-20 that global warming is happening; 72 percent are very or moderately worried about it; and 50 percent say human activity is a key cause. (Snip) Americans say by 61-34 that the “United States should be a leader on global warming, even if meant taking action when others do not.” Republicans like...

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CIA director defends torture, but he can’t say for sure that it does any good

CIA Director John Brennan took to the airwaves yesterday to defend his agency against the implications of a Senate committee report on torture. But amid Brennan’s flurry of double-talk, there was a flat-out admission that he doesn’t know if Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (a euphemism for torture) ever produced any useful information: I have already stated that our reviews indicate that the detention and interrogation program produced useful intelligence that helped the United States thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and...

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Bad bipartisanship: Obama and Boehner team-up to push a terrible piece of legislation

At long last, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have found common ground. Unfortunately, however, it’s not good news. Arm-twisting by Obama and Boehner resulted last night in House passage by a narrow margin of a spending bill opposed by sizable numbers of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The New York Times ITEMIZES several of the bill’s awful features: One rider would allow a huge increase in the size of checks that deep-pocketed donors can write to win inner-sanctum clout with the major political parties. A...

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Some conservatives who should know better legitimize racist attacks on Obama

Like most Americans, I was encouraged about race relations in America when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. At first, I wasn’t especially surprised at the racist invective that emanated from some quarters at the specter of a black man in the White House. A certain amount of that kind of thing was predictable, I told myself. But, as time has passed, I’ve been shocked and disappointed at the extent to which presumably respectable conservatives have responded with silence, if not actual assent, to the racial bigotry aimed...

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Drat it all! I missed a Fox News discussion of how “ridiculous things get stuck in our heads”

If you really think about it, there are certain similarities between the satire offered on Comedy Central from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the stuff you’ll see on Fox News Channel every morning. The one big difference is that the “Fox & Friends” show is an unintentional parody of itself. Consider THIS, for example....

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If CIA torture was morally defensible, why was it kept a secret from President Bush?

George W. Bush is not entirely faultless in the CIA torture scandal, but neither is he as culpable as other officials in his administration. More to the point, Bush and the American public in general have a right to ask in retrospect why the CIA torture regimen was kept a secret from him. If there was nothing immoral or illegal about the program, why wasn’t the commander-in-chief told about it? THIS was the situation: President George W. Bush was never briefed by the Central Intelligence Agency on the details of harsh interrogation...

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Suddenly, it’s time to revisit our collection of priceless Bushisms

The release of the Senate committee report on torture has brought the presidency of George W. Bush back into the national spotlight. To mark the occasion, I’ve dredged up a few of the man’s more memorable comments: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” “Our most abundant energy source is coal. We have enough coal to last for 250 years, yet coal also prevents an environmental challenge.”...

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Defenders of CIA torture have broken faith with America’s Founding Fathers

Conservatives who say they have no problem with the CIA interrogation techniques described in a Senate committee report released Tuesday clearly are not as dedicated to American constitutional principles as they so often claim. As Juan Cole explains HERE, “most of the members of the Constitutional Convention…would have been completely appalled at [the torture report’s] contents.” The Bill of Rights of the US Constitution is full of prohibitions on torture, as part of a general 18th century Enlightment turn against the...

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ACLU chief: Obama should pardon Bush and others involved in illegal torture

Whether conservatives like it or not, certain brutal methods of interrogation by U.S. intelligence operatives are violations of American law and could result in criminal prosecutions. With that in mind, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, SAYS President Obama should issue pardons to George W. Bush and others who might be liable for involvement in illegal acts of torture: Before President George W. Bush left office, a group of conservatives lobbied the White House to grant pardons to the officials who...

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This guy argues that Democrats shouldn’t give up on the South

The conventional political wisdom these days is that “the Solid South,” as it was called for decades when Democrats dominated the region, has become irreversibly Republican. But Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com BEGS TO DIFFER: There are a few problems with the argument that “the South is lost.” Democrats are arguably doing their best in at least 20 years in three of the five most populous southern states. President Obama won Florida two consecutive times. In 2008, Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win in...

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