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The Los Angeles Times:
More than a year after it approved a report critical of the CIA's interrogation and detention policies, the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to make a portion of the document public. It's now up to President Obama to ensure that the agency doesn't mount a rear-guard attempt to censor or sanitize the committee's findings in the name of national security.

Thanks to news reports and a report by the CIA's inspector general, Americans long have been aware of both the broad outlines and some abhorrent details of the Bush administration's mistreatment of suspected terrorists after 9/11. [...] And we have read the memos in which Bush administration lawyers used contorted reasoning to justify torture.

But the Intelligence Committee's 6,200-word report, based on a review of millions of pages of documents, contains additional accounts of abuse, including (according to a Washington Post report) the alleged repeated dunking of a terrorism suspect in tanks of ice water at a site in Afghanistan. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Intelligence Committee chairwoman who aggressively has sought its declassification, said the report "exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation."

Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post:
Torture is immoral, illegal and irreconcilable with this nation’s most cherished values. If defenders of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program disagree, they should come out and say so. Instead, they blow smoke.

Sexist smoke, at that: Former CIA director Michael Hayden said Sunday that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is being “emotional” rather than “objective” as the Senate intelligence committee, which Feinstein heads, moves toward release of a comprehensive report on CIA detention and torture during the George W. Bush administration.Feinstein coolly responded that the report is indeed “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits. . . . The only direction I gave staff was to let the facts speak for themselves.”

Those facts, from what we know so far, are appalling.

More on the day's top stories below the fold.

On the subject of extending unemployment insurance, Wesley Lowry at The Washington Post examines House strategy:

Republican House leadership has repeatedly stated their opposition to the Senate-passed bill, noting that they do not want to bring any unemployment legislation to the floor for a vote unless it includes job-creation provisions. But Democratic House members and their aides insist they won't go down without a fight As the legislation now moves to the lower chamber, here's how Democrats plan to force the issue [...] The starting point for Democrats is re-enlisting the support of a group of moderate Republicans -- Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nevada), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). -- who in December signed a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner asking the Republican House leadership to consider a temporary extension to the unemployment benefits.
Rep. Gwen Moore:
"Now that I need help it's nowhere to be found..."

My constituent, Cassie Jones,* sits in her apartment, which she has rented since 1986, wondering how she will pay the rent next month. Since she lost her job of 18 years, she has been surviving on unemployment benefits and her savings account. Over 150 job applications later, her benefits are exhausted and her savings account is nearly dry. She needs help.**

Failing to extend unemployment benefits is nonsensical and callous. Yet, in the past three months, House Republicans have failed to consider an unemployment insurance extension eight times. Political affiliation should have no weight in determining whether to place food on the table of your constituents and lift them out of poverty.

Richard Hansen gives his a take on campaign financing:
While McCutcheon’s narrowing definition of corruption has gotten attention, a related change by the court majority in McCutcheon has been all but ignored: the virtual disappearance of the “appearance of corruption” as a basis for limiting campaign contributions. Its troubling disappearance demonstrates the extent to which the Supreme Court majority is willing to ignore political reality for the sake of its extreme free speech views. [...] In McCutcheon, the appearance of corruption interest all but disappears — collapsing into a concern about actual bribery. The court writes that “the Government’s interest in preventing the appearance of corruption is equally confined to the appearance of quid pro quo corruption, [and therefore] the Government may not seek to limit the appearance of mere influence or access.” Never mind that Buckley spoke not of an “appearance of quid pro quo corruption” but instead of the broader “appearance of improper influence.”
And Anne Kim writes about one angle of McCutcheon that hasn't really been highlighted before:
Some of the commentators who downplay the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC say the decision affects only a small universe of mega-donors who’ve bumped up against the federal limits on campaign donations, which the Court now says are unconstitutional.

But guess what?  The vast majority of those super-donors are men – who now have a chance to make the big megaphones they’re holding even bigger. [...] Women political donors already lag behind in their giving, and the Court’s decision in McCutcheon is only likely to worsen this disparity.

On the topic of that disastrous Ryan budget, Chad Stone at US News explains why it's no path to prosperity:
The Congressional Budget Office projects significantly larger budget deficits over the next 10 years than it did a year ago, largely due to weaker economic growth projections. While some observers expected this to require Ryan to find deeper budget cuts, the chairman took another tack. He used different economic assumptions.

In particular, Ryan asked CBO to analyze how the paths of federal revenues and noninterest spending in his budget might affect the economy and how any resulting changes in the economy would feed back into projections of deficits and debt. There’s nothing wrong with such an exercise, but we should regard the results with caution. As I’ve discussed here before, such macroeconomic effects are uncertain, and the resulting budget estimates will inevitably be controversial and subject to political manipulation.

Turning to unemployment, Kathleen Geier reminds us of some stark numbers:
[T]here are good reasons to be extremely skeptical about the notion that an undereducated workforce is to blame for soaring economic inequality. Evidence that is supportive of that skepticism can be found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last month, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013.

According to the report, there are 260,000 worker’s with bachelor’s degrees and 200,000 workers with associate’s degrees who are making the minimum wage. As a reminder, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is a shockingly low $2.13 an hour. In some cities and states, the minimum wage is higher, but the BLS report defines only those making $7.25 an hour or less as “minimum wage workers.”

The New York Times looks at proposals to curb the use of plastic shopping bags:
Derelict bags flutter from tree branches and power lines; they float in the ocean; they foul beaches and roadsides. If they are not offending the eye they are endangering fish, clogging storm drains or, most likely, bulking up a landfill. Some find brief second lives through reuse, like picking up dog droppings,but those noble detours, too, are short and swift, and end most often in the trash.

The New York City Council has a bill to limit the use of plastic bags. It would charge people a dime for them at retail and grocery stores. The money would go directly to retailers, who would use it to stock paper and reusable bags. The idea is to get New Yorkers to cut back on the 5.2 billion plastic bags they go through each year.


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Comment Preferences

  •  I did a post last night on Robinson's column (15+ / 0-)

    with some additional quotations and some of my own commentary.

    Perhaps you might take a look at Eugene Robinson responds to the Senate Intelligence Report, and if you do, I urge you to read through the comment thread, since there are some superb observations there.


    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:50:51 AM PDT

  •  It's odd... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That Republicans bash the Dems saying they only get votes because they give people stuff and when the Repubs have a chance to do such a thing they refuse.  Either they're stubborn, wrong, or just idiots.

    by LazyActivism on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:52:19 AM PDT

    •  Actually, GOP also gets votes when they (10+ / 0-)

      Give people stuff. Except under their plan, the ones doing the giving are billionaires, and the ones doing the voting are in congress and the senate.

      Same idea, but with a far more limited and  targeted group. Democrats want everyone to benefit, while the GOP politicians only want to help themselves. Think of a hungry vulture at an all you can eat buffet. A Koch brothers sponsored buffet. That is the result of this hideous decision.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:58:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Theory of Two Santas (5+ / 0-)

      Historically the Democrats have been the ones who would give to the constituents.  The GOP decided 30 some odd years ago that they had to stop being the fiscal scolds while in office and only be the scolds while OUT of office.  Then once in office they would give tax breaks and spending to make the people happy.  That way they could bash the Dems into submission and force them to stop being Santa Claus while being one themselves (albeit with bullshit pathetically small tax breaks for everyone not in the 1% and HUGE tax breaks for the 1%).  The added benefit was that by the time they got out there would be such huge deficits from their largesse that the Dems would be FORCED to cut spending and raise taxes.  

      That was the game plan the minute Obama set foot in office. The GOP game plan was to deride him as a tax and spend liberal.  It was deficits deficits and deficits all the time with a huge heaping of austerity to make Obama look like the one who was making people suffer instead of him looking like Santa.  They hate Obamacare because it's a HUGE gift in Santa's bag.  So they made it seem like that gift was instead the opposite.  It was going to take away your healthcare, take your money, take away your doctor, take away your ability to make your own choice and even take your life (death panels).

      The only problem is that once they got the majority in the House, they realized that the tea brained knuckle draggers they got elected were too fucking stupid to play along or too fucking racist to want to allow ANYTHING to be done under that black man in the White House.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:10:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  San Francisco (10+ / 0-)

    charges you .10 if you need a bag.  When I was visiting there last summer, I thought this was brilliant.  Most places give you credit for bringing your own reusable bags.  I think charging you for a bag is much more effective. America needs to adopt this strategy.

    If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:56:34 AM PDT

    •  I live across the bay in Berkeley (4+ / 0-)

      Where we get a 5 cent credit for bringing a bag and a 10 cent charge for needing a bag (paper only, no plastic). I am amazed at how much more likely I was to remember to bring a bag when I was charged for one, even though it was a relatively minor amount of money! Bringing my own bag is now a habit.

      A Khmer Rouge feminist, apparently.

      by Jabus on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:00:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ditto at a lot of stores in Massachusetts (0+ / 0-)

        You bring a reusable shopping bag, you get a few cents off.  

        My reason for still using plastic at least some of the time:  I have two cats and dispose of the litter in old garbage bags.  Suggestions for a non-plastic substitute would be GREATLY welcomed.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:32:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And in Portland (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Raggedy Ann

      Everyone carries reusable bags in the car, and if you forget all bags are paper.  Not true in the suburbs, where plastic still reigns.

    •  Deborah Saunders did a lament... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....over some local lame-brain who allowed his carry-all bag to get so filthy that he claimed to have gotten sick from it.

      The dumbass didn't get sick because he's a slob, but because those libruls took away clean paper bags.

  •  CIA's dark side? Did they ever have a light one? (7+ / 0-)
  •  Lerner 'may' have committed crimes...and the house (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    GOP 'are' idiots....

  •  Bette Midler began the Bag Snagging Program (7+ / 0-)

    which is a part of her nonprofit, New York Restoration Project



    How amazing the difference choices made by people of fame and fortune.  Here we see what Bette Midler has done and daily we read about what damage from the choices made by the Koch brothers.  ::sigh::

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:07:27 AM PDT

  •  There is no statute of limitations on war crimes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, salmo, tb mare

    the Senate Intelligence Committee's report needs to be made public in full, especially if it contains evidence further implicating Bush and Cheney.

  •  Re: Robinson's Post (10+ / 0-)
    This is an argument about worldviews, not about facts, and it ignores the heart of the matter. The reason to fully examine the CIA’s torture program isn’t that it was ineffective. It’s that it was immoral.
    And unlawful, or else why would it be hidden?
  •  9 times out of 10, you dont even need the bag. (5+ / 0-)

    I cant think of how may times ive into a drugstore chain for say, eye drops, and they give me a huge double plastic bag when I can put the thing in my pocket.

    Im pretty far from an environmentalist, but banning plastic bags seems like a no brainer. Most New Yorkers carry a bag of some sort anyway. Part of the cultue when most folks move about without a car.

  •  'Paper or Plastic?'...uh....Paper please...tankee. (5+ / 0-)
    •  I've almost forgotten about plastic bags (6+ / 0-)

      They have been banned in Portland for about a year now. Mostly I use my backpack which conveniently holds a hand basket worth of stuff. For bigger grocery shopping, we bring our own tote bags.

      Anyway, somehow against all warnings, life has continued here in Portland despite the ban.

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the roundup, Georgia! (6+ / 0-)

        It's heart-wrenching that thousands of people are unemployed through no fault of their own. They're hungry and will soon be homeless because they can't pay the rent.  Are they supposed to starve and die in the street?

        Meanwhile the worthless CEOs take home millions because they've fired half the workers and need no longer pay their salaries. Damn them all.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:43:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  For decades we have had canvas tote bags (0+ / 0-)

        from LL Bean.  They were expensive to buy, but are still in perfect shape, stand on their own--which pleases grocery store clerks, and can hold a lot of weight, if necessary.

    •  Canvas! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have a nice canvas shopping bag that holds almost an entire grocery run, plus advertises a locally owned market.  It's good stuff.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:36:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeers to Facebook (0+ / 0-)

    I'm always conflicted about whether to "like" sad news. Is it too much to ask Facebook to put an "empathize" selection? Maybe Zuckerberg has only a binary emotional depth: "Like" = 1, "indifference" = 0. Somebody should tell Zuckerberg to take a "2's complement" of his emotional range to give it wider depth....

  •  Emotional?! WTF is wrong with being emotional (3+ / 0-)

    over gross abuse of American values? I'd get pretty fxcking emotional, too.

    I understand the implicit sexism, but anyone who can remain calm and intellectual about the kinds of torture our govt. is running on mostly Muslim, supposed terrorists or maybe just people who have information is simply wrong and being pissed, angry and, yes, emotional probably has something very wrong with her/him.

    Hayden needs to go and a human being appointed as director of the CIA.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

    by TerryDarc on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:39:53 AM PDT

  •  Torture (5+ / 0-)

    Institutionalized, government approved torture, almost broke me emotionally. These are NOT the the values of a country that holds itself up as the last, best hope of mankind.

    Reading Eugene Robinson's article expresses perfectly my disgust at this immoral policy.

    Reading the comments by right-wingers under Robinson's article breaks my heart all over again. Do these people even realize that they are giving credibility to the Spanish Inquisition? To Al Qaeda?

    Sad, sick and cowardly.

    •  Key word..."values" (0+ / 0-)

      These monsters parade that word every chance they get.

      Somehow, someway they think they and their cohorts are the only living souls with "values." Especially the ever so popular "family values."
      Yeah right, whenever there is talk of torture being done in the name of this country I am always reminded of "family values."

      Your comment is perfect because it hits on the main points on why torture is so wrong. The mere fact that it is immoral is enough, we have to be stupid too and give fuel to Al Qaeda when we commit these atrocities.

      Sad, sick and cowardly needs to be shouted to their faces.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:11:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just giving fuel to them (5+ / 0-)

        And that's the worst part! Forget the fuel; forget any and all "practical" matters.

        If WE can torture to save American lives!!!!!! (which it didn't even do), then why couldn't the Church torture to protect its divine gospel and hold fast to its view of ultimate salvation?

        Then why can't the Taliban torture US servicemen captured in country? Aren't they justified, by the same logic, since they'd be torturing to save Afghan (Taliban) lives?

        Then why aren't police departments allowed to torture suspected criminals? (By the way, if you've ever watched "Hawaii Five-0," you will see that they regularly do this, as a matter of good-guy is utterly disgusting.

        Isn't any attempt to justify torture BY DEFINITION a justification of torture being used against us?

        If your tactics are the same as those of the bad guys, pretending you're the good guys is self-delusion. There is no gray area here...there is not even a worthwhile debate about the efficacy of torture.

        There are, in the end, two kinds of people in the world: those who DON'T torture...and criminals.

        /rant off

      •  Their values are corrupt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wxorknot, j rock

        They believe in robbing the poor of their money, yanking food from the mouths of children, dumping the sick onto the street, and tormenting the imprisoned.  

        This is not how my family raised me.  

        This is not how my country should be.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:39:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not American, not at all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RASalvatore, j rock

      It doesn't even work - the interrogators at the end of World War II got much more intelligence, and better quality intelligence, from Nazi and Japanese prisoners by treating them well than the CIA ever did by waterboarding someone.  Torture is the way of the sadist.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:38:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As is often the case, Jon Stewart covered what (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, Ellid, Stude Dude, FogCityJohn

    Hanson says most coverage ignored: the appearance of corruption aspect of McCutcheon.

  •  I've been wondering.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..what's been driving the recent media appearances by members of the Bush administration criminal syndicate, that is, aside from those on display for public consumption, (a movie, the arts.) And there it was, right in front of me! I mean, who would ever dream that a gentle painter of oils could decree that torture, to include sundry brutalities ever take place? How could a nincompoop like Rumsfeld ever be held to account for that which he does not understand? I think this "Bush the Painter" act is just that, an act. Just like his entire presidency, just like his "ranch". I might even guess that the recent noise coming out of Jeb's corner might be a part of big brother's act as well, not to mention a bit of cover for Dearth Cheney.

    CBS: It's the new Fox!

    by JWR on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:19:59 AM PDT

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