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As my colleague Ken Silverstein pointed out, Joe Lieberman made a joke about waterboarding at last night’s Alfalfa Club Dinner. This is an excellent example of “humor” revealing the mindset of the man who utters it. As Thinkprogress reminds us, Lieberman is linked to Dick Cheney and John Yoo and distinguished from his friend John McCain in that he doesn’t consider waterboarding to be torture. Here’s how he explained his stance to an incredulous Connecticut Post:
“It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological.”
The suggestion that the individuals are in no real danger wouldn’t likely be persuasive to the more than 160 individuals who died in detention, a substantial portion of them with injuries linked directly to the Bush Administration’s torture techniques. As the Bush Administration’s own Susan J. Crawford noted, torture is determined by the cumulative physical and psychological effect that the techniques applied have on the subject—which is why Lieberman, who holds a law degree, has things completely wrong.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”