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Torture Lite?

I dont like the sound of this. Will we be getting change or more of the same?

Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact
As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA's interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.

Yet he more recently voted for a White House-backed law to expand eavesdropping powers for the National Security Agency. Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision.

The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.



These are some of the top reasons I was not a fan of Obama from the beginning and while I'm excited to have him in office (instead of McCain/Palin) I will not pretend that our nation is headed in a whole new and better direction.

Add to this his rhetoric on Afghanistan and Pakistan versus the reality of the situation there and his foreign policy looks to be nearly as wrong-headed. The main difference, and it is a major one, is that he seems willing to use diplomacy much more than we have seen in the past 7+ years.

I hope as he gets involved more directly in these matters he will change his positions and do what is right as opposed to more war, more torture, more illegal spying and more immunity to law-breakers - especially the law-breakers currently in office.

How do rumors end up getting so specific? How many posts ago was it that Obama was closing Gitmo and rescinding every executive order?

I think we should hold off on being disappointed in Obama. We have 4 years to do that, why not enjoy the holiday season?

It's more a matter of putting him on notice, than being disappointed. I'm sure there will be many things I don't like about our new president, but neither will I forget that he is not John McCain

Enjoy the holiday season, I didn't know the two were mutually exclusive.

I 100% agree Norm. I guess I am just sick of the media taking anyone within a mile of the transition team aside for off the record potential leaks. Hard to tell what is real or not and I don't know how productive it is to put him on notice for the latest rumor floating by.

Let him put something in a press release, appoint an idiot, or officailly decide to keep Gates. Then we can hold him accountable.

I just think the left should trust him to do the right thing right up to the point where he officially fucks something up, which may very well be next week this time.

I get it, you want time to decompress. A week, you're more of a pessimist than I am.

I just want to be on his side until some hard evidence of a fuck up comes in.

I think whatever he fucks up next week will likely be a small something.

I am on a wait and see status. Everyone has something they want to see him do immediately.

Strangely enough, one thing that is high on my list (not that I'm saying it's more important than stopping torture, obviously, just it seems appropriate to what he's working on at this time) is to see him do something with Hillary. I think she is a very smart woman and I think she did right by him. On top of that, I think he has adapted some of her campaign's platform for his own and he is using a large part of the Clinton team. I know finding good people can take up the largest percentage of time and is 75% of the battle. He hasn't done anything for her yet that has been announced and, even if he doesn't for a while, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt - there might be reasons I am unaware of, but - it would make me think better of him.

Even then, I remember Bill Clinton disappointed me the whole first year of his first term. I expect more of Obama but, as Norm said I know he is better than McCain and I know he is better than Bush so - good start.

I'm with RedSeven. I don't see the evidence that Obama is anything but anti-torture.

The FISA bill is a totally different issue. Moreover, the key problem with that vote was that it had the immunity provision in it, whach gave immunity to companies that had broken the law in the past. It has little to do with future wiretapping policy. So suggesting that Obama is planning on "warrantless wiretapping lite" is dishonest.

"I will not pretend that our nation is headed in a whole new and better direction."

Be as skeptical as you want, but you're deluded if you think that Obama is going to be basically like Bush, by force of intertia or whatever. You could pick a random Republican and put him in office and we'd probably be headed in a "whole new and better direction". When's the last time we had an authentic foreign policy and domestic policy liberal in the WH? Try never. People may be disappointed by Obama but on most issues he will definitely not be more of the same.

I have decided to simmer down and wait a few weeks before resuming my anti-Obama talking points. It seems only fair we let him take office before we criticize his Presidency.

However, I think Nader is dead right: we must continue to pressure Obama, especially now that he has won. If we get lazy, if we start making excuses for Obama's bad decisions (like the neocons did for Bush circa '01-'05) we will be doomed to more "business as usual", and the word "change" will invoke cynicism and apathy for another generation.

This is off-topic, but a continuation of a discussion from a different post earlier this week...

I promised a comment from a buddy of mine that is a police officer in North Hollywood's Gang Division. re: gun laws. (I should probably mention that these are his views and do not represent LAPD in any way.)

He is also one of the nicest and most considerate guys I've ever met.


In my opinion it seems that there are just people out there who, for whatever reason, just don't like guns regardless of the crime statistics. Why, I do not know. Maybe they were too sheltered and spoiled and were never exposed to the realities of life so they could understand our consititutional right to bare arms. In this day and age it's obvious that they never had to rely on a firearm to provide their family with something to eat. I would also assume that they have never been the victim of a violent crime where the suspect didn't think twice about what he was doing because, "What are the odds that this law abiding citizen has the ability to carry a concealed firearm?" Look at the insane numbers of vehicle related deaths (DUI, FELONY EVADING, ACCIDENTS). Where is the public outcry to ban automobiles? The fact is, if a human being truly has the desire to kill someone, they will, and the possibilities for accomplishing it are endless.

How long have assault rifles been banned? I always ask myself this question when we recover one from a gang banger or any other criminal for that matter. The laws don't make it more difficult for these individuals to obtain those types of weapons, only the law abiding citizen. On almost every case, it is not the possession of an assault weapon that is the crime, but something else, ie... possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of a firearm with the serial number filed off, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, etc. The gun itself usually doesn't fall under the definition of an assault weapon as defined by the penal code. How often are they actually registered to the suspect? Ummmmmm, never.

So stricter gun laws, in my opinion only hurts the law abiding citizen.

What about home and business protection. You're supposed to rely on the response of police? We do our best, but come on. How are they even going to know something has happened until the suspects are gone and you can get to a phone.

What if one day we fall under dictatorship rule. If the american people are disarmed and totally reliant on the government, what then. There are very good reasons our forefathers provided us with this constitutional right. If people are using guns to commit crimes then we need to look at what has caused our society to become so violent. Could the entertainment industry be responsible? Is it bad parenting where kids are not disciplined and have been taught absolutely no moral values other than what they learn in school or in the media (reality shows especially). Parents now days want to be more of a friend to their child than a responsible disciplinary figure, cause god forbid their child gets mad at them.

I do believe that people need to be taught about firearms before just going out and buying them. A class on firearm safety would be nice. You don't get a hunting license without having completed the hunter safety course.


  1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED (meaning that you should treat every gun as if it is loaded, no matter what)




I'll comment on the North Hollywood shootout at a later time. That is a long discussion. You will have to forgive my ranting and numerous gramatical errors. I'm sure I could probably explain things better, but I am tired.

Hope to see you soon. Hope you and the family are all well. Please let me know if there is anything we can do for you guys.

That was very nice of him but...I disagree with so much, it's not worth going into. I'll just say - because I think you also mentioned autos - that autos ARE under attack all the time. You need licenses and if there are too many problems, it is taken away, you need insurance, they put in safety features - harness seat belts, air bags, safety glass, crumple bumpers - you can't talk on cellphones or text --- anything they can do to improve people's chances of avoiding and not being hurt in an accident is in demand and car's safety features are selling points - Volvo practically bases their whole campaigns on it. There are lawsuits when the safety is felt not to be carefully pursued enough. And that's for cars whose main purpose is transportation. Why is any attempt to make gun ownership safer regarded as suspect?

Well, 'gun ownership safety' isn't suspect. In fact I don't know any gun 'nuts' who wold argue otherwise.

'Gun ownership' IS under attack though, although most argue for it using their 'gut' instead of evidence. Knowing several anti-gun people, a common denominator is the feeling that we should not have things designed to hurt people just laying around.

It would be the same as people banning cars because teens drive badly and even with all attempts to increase safety, they are more deadly than guns. We keep cars and drive alone because we like freedom, not because it is the best way.

The core reason for protecting private ownership of guns is as simple as reading history. Our founding fathers were in favor of liberty, not government.

Wiki actually has it right:

"Codification of the right to keep and bear arms into the Bill of Rights was influenced by a fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia,[2] since history had shown taking away the people's arms and making it an offense for people to keep them was the way tyrants eliminated resistance to suppression of political opponents."

The second amendment:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

I think most agree that being well regulated (owners permits, testing, etc) is perfectly acceptable. One Good Move is famous for needing evidence to support our positions, would I be rude if I asked you to find evidence that banning guns makes law abiding citizens safer? Look at the banning of concealed carry in D.C. (now being reversed), in Australia, crime skyrocketed.

And this 55 seconds may even make you laugh. *8)

Thanks for your comments!

You are forgetting one very important thing: Cars are not designed with the intention of killing or hurting people. Guns are, which is why a lot of people (like me) dislike them. Just like I dislike switch-blades, swords, maces, what have you. They are made with destructive purposes in mind. Not constructive. And one may indeed argue that banning guns per se will not stop people killing one another (which is obviously true). It will, however, restrict the ways and potential ease with which they can do so.

I don't dislike gun-owners, however. Even if I could never understand the American infatuation with them. I simply dislike guns.

Hunting rifles aren't designed for killing people. Just killing in a generic sense. Sorta like a Ford Pinto.

Disliking something is fantastic, as long as you don't decide to ban it. *8)

I can think of many things people don't like and want to ban in this country. Gay Marriage, Catcher in the Rye, etc. What guidelines can we all agree on as a rule for banning or not banning something?

We must not forget, The freedom to discuss this matter was born and kept by use of arms.

Others have said it so, just briefly - if instead of transportation, all cars did was run things down, there would be a lot of people trying to get them off the road.

I don't have stats (all sources seem to have a pro or con agenda) but I would also say check out Canada - maybe the UK.

But - this is what I really want to say since your friend went on record about sheltered and spoiled people for gun control (no one is talking banning all guns). Why isn't the NRA taking a leadership role in safety. After a tragedy like Columbine or the 8 year old who recently shot his father, why do they stonewall and get defensive instead of saying "this is devastating. How can we ensure this doesn't happen again " and then offer ideas and compromise solutions. I know there are safety features available/possible for guns. We have child-proof medicine caps, there are laptops with fingerprint ID systems, removable faceplates on stereos, stereos that won't run once they're stolen. Why aren't the gun experts from the NRA leading the fight to keep guns out of the hands of incompetents, children and thieves.

I worked in the videogame industry - often pointed at (rightly?) as an impetus for violence. The videogame guys got together and started a ratings board like movies have. Now, these guys are in business, they were moving one step ahead of the government was a good faith, compromise gesture that was, at least, a step. As an environmentalist and knowing a lot of NRA guys are also, I don't have anything against them but I think the NRA's bullying tactics, ridiculous posturing (pry it from my dead cold fingers) and over-the-top reaction to any suggested change is a disservice to everyone on both sides. (And makes the Republicans very happy. They need to keep voters emotional so they vote against their own financial and quality of life self-interest.)

Jill, I think we have a lot in common. I work for that industry and my boss helped start the ratings board. *8)

I very much agree with you about safety features. I also agree with you about the 'cold dead hands' posturing (or most any kind of posturing, for that matter).

I would say that a tragedy like Columbine, or an 8 year old with a pistol are not the statistical majority. I've been in the room when babies died this year. We put together a blood drive for Children's Hospital and helped get an almost $1 million donation to them. Lots of things can happen to kids (they could be taught about gay marriage! ;) ), but we must use logic to govern, not emotion.

We are very lucky here, and most people do not see the side of life my police officer friends do. Nor do they see what my military friends do. Freedom is earned and kept through constant vigilance. that sounds like a bad post card, but if you study history, or even the last 8 years of US history, you see how fast things can turn because of only 3000 dead in the WTC.

Look at that figure and ask how many died on Iwo Jima alone? How easily we give up our hard earned liberties to feel 'safe'.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

Thanks again for your thoughtful reply(ies). I really enjoy the discussions here!

Robinson - That's funny - I probably have heard of your boss then but that's not where I worked in LA - I was living in the Bay Area when I worked in videogames.

I would say that a tragedy like Columbine, or an 8 year old with a pistol are not the statistical majority.

That is really an unsatisfactory remark. First - the New York Times said - the last year recorded (2004) on average, 81 people died daily from gunfire. But, let's say it was rare. The Tylenol scare - seven people died - but they immediately worked to improve the safety of the product so why not guns?

Why aren't they pushing thumbprint operated guns? Laptops are doing that. Why don't they try something like removable faceplates? Stereos have them. Combination locks? Cars have them. If people would demand it, they would do it. There will always be problems but the industry should be answering with solutions. People pay a LOT of money for guns and the firearms industry has lots of money - they pour a lot into the NRA - they might as well also use some to fund safety R&D.

And, saying it's to keep us safe yes, is a cliche and yes, it's a cop out. Other countries are free for Democracy and they don't have our gun-related death rate. Try Japan for one. And you feel very safe coming home alone late at night.

But again - I am not against citizens having guns. I am not against police or the military having guns (I'm not sure why you brought them up.) And, I still can't believe the police don't want certain guns off the street even though your friend doesn't. Why is a request for gun safety an assault on gun ownership and keeping the world safe for democracy and un-American and everything else. It doesn't have to be 0 or 60 - there is a lot of room in the middle.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here although I appreciate hearing your argument. :)

Oh, I agree fully on the 'adding safety devices to guns' issue. Could get tricky to add though. It's like adding safety to a hammer. *8)

Brought up the military friends because they have seen countries are less than free and many Americans take our freedoms for granted.


Oh, I agree fully on the 'adding safety devices to guns' issue. Could get tricky to add though. It's like adding safety to a hammer. *8)

Brought up the military friends because they have seen countries are less than free and many Americans take our freedoms for granted.



The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.

This article is as informative as all the garbage i've seen about how Obama could be satan himself.

I agree we need to keep pressure on him to make sure the important promises he made are followed through, but I agree with Red, this is pure speculation.

Then, on the Off-Topic: Robinson, a quick tip about Wikipedia, Don't use it as a reference for any controversial subject.


Proposed Amendment rough draft by Madison

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person

I've heard several people also say that the "overthrow the government" arguement is not what the founding fathers intended by gun ownership. Which is also why we are a representative republic, rather than a true democracy; the founding fathers had distrust for the unwashed masses.

I don't know which side has more validity, but I know it's not a settled arguement.

On the car analogy: you cannot drive a sherman tank on the roads. The potential for disaster is so great, it is banned outright. The same theory goes for guns, right? No matter how many licenses and years of tank-driving you have, it's simply not allowed, even if you can use that tank to defend yourself from the government.

Most of this post isn't serious. Both sides have valid points about gun ownership, just the "wikipedia has it right" made me giggle.

Robinson - I didn't find the 55 seconds of a picture of a plane particularly amusing.

Also - have you sen Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine"? The comparison he makes between the USA and Canada is worth thinking about.

Sorry -- "have you seen"

Er, it was an audio clip. Would you prefer a picture of a white cow in a snowy field?



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