Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 26th, 2014

Weakening security to give NSA more power

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NSA’s work to make cryptographic systems insecure is well-known—NIST specifically recommends against one encryption method that NSA weakened. And now the intelligence community (NSA) wants to weaken security social media, instant messaging, and chat services so that they are easier to wiretap. In our efforts to become more secure, we are becoming less secure.

Ellen Nakashima writes in the Washington Post:

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies want to be able to wiretap social media, instant message and chat services. But building in ways to wiretap these kinds of communication can lead to less secure systems, say technical experts, including former National Security Agency officials.

Some security experts suggest hacking as an alternative, but other experts – including FBI officials — say that method poses serious risks.

Right now, only phone companies, broadband providers and some Internet phone services are required by law to build in intercept capabilities, but the government wants to extend that requirement to online communication providers.

“From a purely technical perspective, when you add this sort of law enforcement access feature to a system, you weaken it,” said Steven M. Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University. “First, it creates an access point that previously didn’t exist. Second, you’ve added complexity to the system … and most security problems are due to buggy code.”

In 1994, the government passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which mandated that phone companies make their systems wiretap-ready.

Richard “Dickie” George, a former NSA technical director until he retired in September 2011, recalled how in the mid-1990s, “in the early days of CALEA,” the NSA tested several commercial phone systems with intercept capabilities and “we found problems in every one.” Making the systems hack-proof, he said, “is really, really hard.”

He said, however, that over the years, “We’ve come a long way.”

Susan Landau, a faculty member in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Department of Social Science and Policy Studies in Massachusetts, said that phone services are more complicated now — and so the switches are, too. “It’s highly doubtful,” she said, “that the new switches are secure.”

The United States, she said, “has a lot more to lose by building ways into communications networks than it has to gain, because those ways last for a very long time, and we enable others who couldn’t afford to build [backdoors] in themselves with ways to get into our communications systems.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 9:29 pm

“Repeal Prohibition. Again.”

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very strong editorial in the NY Times:

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. . .

Continue reading. It gets very specific.

And in the same issue:

Let States Decide on Marijuana, by David Firestone

The Public Lightens Up About Weed, by Juliet Lapidos

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Drug laws, NY Times

Why civilians who like to carry weapons are generally conservative

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I think this article does indeed explain it.

I actually blogged some time back that it seemed evident on the face of it that if you divide civilian adults into two groups, one group whose members carry weapons routinely and the other group those who don’t, those in the first group are clearly more fearful.

That evoked quite strong pushback. I think the term “threat sensitive” is more accurate: while the unarmed group can sort of see that there’s a threat, they are not sensitive to it. The other group, who carry weapons, are threat-sensitive.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Daily life, Guns

S/ant/and: The happy domain of those who use slant razors

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The name just occurred to me, so I thought I’d time-stamp it. I’m embarrassed (but not too much) to say I like it. 🙂

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Shaving

Heartwrending: Fathers and Sons in Gaza

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Waseem El Sarraj writes in the New Yorker:

Yasser Abu Jamei, the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (G.C.M.H.P.), was not with his extended family when, around dinnertime, an air strike leveled their three-story home in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Three stories might sound lavish for a single family, but more than two dozen relatives shared this house. Arrangements like this are typical in Gaza—usually one floor for each adult sibling’s family. A number of members of the extended Abu Jamei family had left for the southern Gaza Strip earlier that day. It was thought to be safer. From the rubble, the bodies of nineteen children and three pregnant women were pulled out. In total, twenty-eight of Yasser’s relatives had been killed, the most in a single air strike in this war so far.

I know Yasser Abu Jamei well because my father, Dr. Eyad Sarraj, was his manager, mentor, fellow-countryman, and friend. My father was the Gaza Strip’s first psychiatrist and the founder of the G.C.M.H.P. He passed away, earlier this year, after living with multiple myeloma for longer than his doctors expected. I worked alongside him between 2009 and 2014. During these years, he was at his worst, physically, but his optimism was irrepressible. Gaza attracts a broad spectrum of visitors, and my father’s reputation as an “independent” and largely accessible interlocutor led many to his home. Whether it was for breaking the siege with a fleet of boats from Cyprus, planting trees to beautify the Strip, organizing a cleanup of the beach, or providing a dinner and neutral zone for dignitaries to eat fish along with Gaza’s sidelined leaders, he was almost certainly on board. Gaza was his home, the beach his back garden. He wanted Gaza to be, well, nice.

Hearing the news about the Abu Jamei family brought me back to the constant dilemma, for families like ours, of whether to stay or go. If my father were alive today, he would stay put. This is in spite of . . .

Continue reading.

Accepting as true that Hammas uses human shields and hospitals, it is not required that Israel then shell and bomb and kill those human shields. Is that how Israel deals with hostage-takers? If an Israeli plane is hijacked, does the Israeli air force simply blast the plane from the sky? No? So that human shield is effective—no attack—but the Gazan civilian and child human shields are simply to be blasted to kingdom come? Is that how it works? It fails the test of equity.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Mideast Conflict

What is learned from a careful reading and discussion of the Declaration of Independence

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Gordon Wood writes at the NY Review of Books:

Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality
by Danielle Allen
Liveright, 315 pp., $27.95

This is a strange and remarkable book. There must be dozens of books on the Declaration of Independence written from every conceivable point of view—historical, political, theoretical, philosophical, and textual—but no one has ever written a book on the Declaration quite like this one. If we read the Declaration of Independence slowly and carefully, Danielle Allen believes, then the document can become a basic primer for our democracy. It can be something that all of us—not just scholars and educated elites but common ordinary people—can participate in, and should participate in if we want to be good democratic citizens.

Allen, who is a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, came to this extraordinary conclusion when she was teaching for a decade at the University of Chicago. But it was not the young bright-eyed undergraduates whom she taught by day who inspired her. Instead, it was the much older, life-tested adults whom she taught by night who created “the single most transformative experience” of her teaching career.

As she slowly worked her way through the 1,337 words of the Declaration of Independence with her night students, many of whom had no job or were working two jobs or were stuck in dead-end part-time jobs, Allen discovered that the document had meaning for them and that it was accessible to any reader or hearer of its words. By teaching the document to these adult students in the way that she did, she experienced “a personal metamorphosis.” For the first time in her life she came to realize that the Declaration makes a coherent philosophical argument about equality, an argument that could be made comprehensible to ordinary people who had no special training.

By reading and analyzing the words of the Declaration deliberately and with care, her night students

found themselves suddenly as political beings, with a consciousness that had previously eluded them. They built a foundation from which to assess the state of their political world. They gained a vocabulary and rhetorical techniques for arguing about it.

The entire experience with her students “re-gifted to me a text that should have been mine all along. They gave me again the Declaration’s ideals—equality and freedom—and the power of its language.”

Allen is most interested in the idea of equality, and rightly so. Equality has always been the most radical and potent idea in American history. Once released by the American Revolution, it has torn through American society and culture with awesome power. It became what Herman Melville in Moby-Dick labeled “the great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy!” This “Spirit of Equality,” said Melville, did not merely cull the “selectest champions from the kingly commons,” but it spread “one royal mantle of humanity” over all Americans and brought “democratic dignity” to even “the arm that wields a pick and drives a spike.”

Allen doesn’t cite Melville and doesn’t accept his emphasis on the overwhelming power of equality in American culture. In fact, she thinks that we Americans have tended to neglect the idea of equality. Between liberty and equality, “equality,” she says, “has always been the more frail twin,” and “it has now become particularly vulnerable.” She assumes that “libertarianism currently dominates our political imaginations.” Indeed, she contends that for the past half-century we Americans have emphasized liberty at the expense of equality. Are these judgments correct? Aren’t the movements for civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights all about equality? With politicians everywhere now talking about inequality, and President Obama even claiming that inequality is “the defining issue of our time,” ideas about equality seem alive and well.

But Allen’s book is not about equality in this conventional sense. She is not really interested in equalities of income or social status. Instead, she wants to focus on what she calls “equal political empowerment.” This involves an

egalitarianism of co-creation and co-ownership of a shared world, an expectation for inclusive participation that fosters in each citizen the self-understanding that she, too, he, too, helps to make, and is responsible for, this world in which we live together.

Allen assumes that there are five facets of her conception of equality embedded in the Declaration and that a slow and deliberate reading of it can bring them to the fore. First, the colonists asserted that their new states were equal to the other powers on the earth. Second, by declaring that “all men are created equal,” the Declaration affirms that each person is the judge of his or her own happiness. Third, the Declaration assumes that each person, however common, contributes to the collective knowledge of the community. Fourth is

the importance of reciprocity or mutual responsiveness to achieving the conditions of freedom. Securing conditions in which no one dominates anyone else requires a form of conversational interaction that rests on and embodies equality in the relationships among the participants.

Finally, the document contends that all of us have . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 12:14 pm

Interesting story on the very start of the Catholic church’s pedophile scandal

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From the first chapter of a four-chapter series published by Minnesota Public Radio and written by Madeleine Baran:

Lafayette, La. — The Diocese of Lafayette stretches from the city south to Vermilion Bay, whose waters lead to the Gulf of Mexico. Down among the bayous and sugar cane fields of southern Louisiana, Catholicism runs deep.

Many of the 300,000 Catholics who live here trace their history back to the late 1700s, when their French ancestors fled Canada to escape British rule. In this humid, undeveloped land, they discovered waters filled with shrimp, oysters and crawfish, and they built churches on patches of dry ground.

For generations, they believed the priest served as the living face of Jesus Christ. He forgave their sins, baptized the young and anointed the sick. In his purity, he gave the faithful a glimpse of what heaven would be like.

No one had ever heard of a priest raping a child.

So when the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe arrived in the 1970s and showed an interest in young boys, no one paid much attention.

The priest took boys on camping trips and invited them for sleepovers in the rectory. He claimed to hold practices for altar boys every day at 6 a.m. and encouraged parents to let their boys spend the night.

His sexual appetite was uncontrollable. He put bars on the windows of a rectory. He kept a gun by the side of his bed, and when children refused to submit he threatened to use it. At night, he raped the boys, forced them to perform sex acts on each other, and took photographs on his Polaroid camera.

It went on this way for more than a decade. Gauthe remained in ministry even when his bishop learned that he had abused one boy and licked the faces of two others. After the second complaint, the bishop transferred Gauthe to a small church in the isolated town of Henry, La. On Sundays, the priest stood at the altar and surveyed his victims.

Finally, in 1983, a boy told his father, Wayne Sagrera, and Sagrera reported it to the diocese. The bishop sent Gauthe away for psychological treatment and offered nine families confidential settlements of more than $4 million.

One family refused to settle and went public, and the community awoke to the horror of what the priest had been doing to its children.

The Gastal family sued the diocese for failing to protect their 10-year-old son, Scott, who had been abused by Gauthe for more than a year. When Scott was hospitalized for rectal bleeding caused by the abuse, Gauthe stopped by to give him a toy car. The boy later worried that Gauthe would break into his parents’ home and attack him. He would stay up all night checking the locks.

The boy testified graphically in court in 1986, struggling at times to find the words to describe what had happened. He said Gauthe had put his “pee-pee” inside him. The jury awarded $1 million.

The case made headlines around the country, especially after freelance reporter Jason Berry dug into the details and found a cover-up. As months passed, it became clear that Gauthe had been abusing children for decades. He later told a psychologist that he had abused more than 300 children. The scandal grew even after Gauthe pleaded guilty to 34 criminal counts and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

More parents threatened to come forward. Other priests were accused. Reporters began to wonder whether this was truly an isolated incident or an example of something that ran deeper and farther than a single diocese.

Their suspicions would prove correct. And the events unfolding in Louisiana would prove key to understanding a story that would play out decades later in Minnesota.

Vatican ‘feared a domino effect’

The news from Louisiana soon reached the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., where the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a young canon lawyer and fast-rising star in the church hierarchy, became alarmed. He wondered: How many other priests had abused children? And how many bishops had covered it up?

Doyle quickly concluded that the scandal of priests sexually abusing children – and the failure of the church hierarchy to stop it – could destroy the Catholic Church in the United States. The Vatican “feared a domino effect,” he recalled in a recent interview. “The risk was the loss of prestige, the loss of power, the loss of respect,” and the loss of money.

There was also the spiritual risk of scandal, a word that has a different meaning in the Catholic Church. Scandal threatens to separate believers from God. It could send people to hell. [OTOH, Jesus reportedly praised knowing the truth because the truth would set one free. But the Catholic church is much more wary of the truth than was Jesus. – LG]

As the crisis unfolded in 1985, Doyle teamed up with Ray Mouton, Gauthe’s criminal defense attorney, and the Rev. Michael Peterson, who ran a treatment center in Maryland for priests with sexual disorders. They wrote a confidential report called “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy.” It warned that hundreds of priests might be abusing children and that lawsuits and settlements could cost the U.S. Catholic Church $1 billion in 10 years.

No one listened.

“They literally laughed that off,” Doyle said. “You know, they were the Catholic Church, much too big and powerful to ever fall prey to these lawyers and these people.”

He watched as Lafayette Bishop Gerard Frey, then 71, failed to repair the scandal. “There was no playbook at that time. Nobody knew how to do it,” Doyle said.

Frey had offered prayers, policies and promises, but he couldn’t undo his failure years earlier to act on the complaints about Gauthe. A local newspaper called for his resignation. In an interview, Frey said Gauthe had tricked him into thinking he was cured.

Frey wouldn’t directly admit that he had been wrong to keep Gauthe in ministry. “Unfortunately, circumstances have proven that my subjective evaluation was in error,” he said.

Doyle read the news reports with dismay. He suggested that the pope send a new bishop to Lafayette to serve alongside Frey for the next three years and then replace him when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

He recommended a parish priest named Harry Flynn. . .

Continue reading. It’s an amazing story, and full of “the ends justify any means” thinking by the Catholic church. And apparently it occurred to no one that the Church should obey the law, rendering unto Caesar, etc.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 11:31 am

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

What happened when the US shot down a passenger airliner: Lies, denials, and obfuscations…

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Just like Russia and the Separatists (sounds like rock band, eh?). When the US shot down an Iranian airliner, the US military’s response was to lie repeatedly, and the US government refused to apologize, in the words of George H.W. Bush, ““I will never apologize for the United States—I don’t care what the facts are.” (The GOP has a long history of not caring about facts, obviously.)

Read Fred Kaplan’s article in Slate for more. From the article:

. . . As the Boston Globe’s defense correspondent at the time, I reported on the Vincennes shoot-down, and I have gone back over my clips, chronicling the official lies and misstatements as they unraveled. Here’s the truly dismaying part of the story. On Aug. 19, 1988, nearly seven weeks after the event, the Pentagon issued a 53-page report on the incident. Though the text didn’t say so directly, it found that nearly all the initial details about the shoot-down—the “facts” that senior officials cited to put all the blame on Iran Air’s pilot—were wrong. And yet the August report still concluded that the captain and all the other Vincennes officers acted properly.

For example, on July 3, at the first Pentagon press conference on the incident, Adm. William Crowe, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Iranian plane had been flying at 9,000 feet and descending at a “high speed” of 450 knots, “headed directly” for the Vincennes. In fact, however, the Aug. 19 report—written by Rear Adm. William Fogarty of U.S. Central Command—concluded (from computer tapes found inside the ship’s combat information center) that the plane was “ascending through 12,000 feet” at the much slower speed of 380 knots. “At no time” did the Airbus “actually descend in altitude,” the report stated.

When I pointed out this discrepancy at the press conference where the report was handed out, Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci waved me away and said, “It’s really questionable whether a different reading would have affected the judgment” to shoot down the plane. (I still find this astonishing.)

There were other equally disturbing discrepancies between Crowe’s July 3 press conference (which struck me as suspicious even at the time) and Fogarty’s Aug. 19 report. Crowe had said the plane was flying “outside the prescribed commercial air route”; the report said it was flying “within the established air route.” Crowe had said the plane’s transponder was “squawking” a code over the “Mode 2” military channel; the report stated that it was squawking over the “Mode 3” civilian channel. Crowe had said the Vincennes issued several warnings; the report confirmed this, but noted, “Due to heavy pilot workload during take-off and climb-out, and the requirement to communicate with” two air traffic control centers, the pilot “probably was not monitoring” the international air-distress channel.

Adm. George B. Crist, head of U.S. Central Command, issued a “non-punitive letter of censure” to the ship’s anti–air warfare officer, but Secretary of Defense Carlucci withdrew the letter. Not only that, but two years later, Capt. Rogers was issued the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service” as the Vincennes’ commander “from April 1987 to May 1989.” [Yes: the US awards military decorations to a man who shot down passenger airliners. Why? Because shooting down a passenger airliner is not that big a deal if the US does it. (That’s the unavoidable take-away message.) And yet the Iranians don’t like the US. Why, if they had shot down one of our airliners and refused to apologize, we’d be perfectly okay with that. – LG]

One more shocking bit, which I didn’t know until just now: In 1992, four years after the event (and shortly after I moved on to a different beat), Adm. Crowe admitted on ABC’s Nightline that the Vincennes was in Iranian waters at the time it shot down the plane. Back in 1988, he and others had said that the ship was in international waters. It also came out that some other Navy officers had regarded Rogers as “aggressive” and found it strange that he was moving his Aegis cruiser into those waters to pursue Iranian patrol boats—overkill at best, asking for trouble in any case. The distractions of the chase, possibly combined with the fact that the Aegis radar-guided missile system was new at the time, may have led to his fatal misjudgment. . . .

Yet the US is puzzled by the hostility expressed toward it by some governments, and assumes that the reason for the hostility is “our freedoms.”

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 10:51 am

Posted in Military

How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota

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A very interesting (and somewhat lengthy) article on the turbulent changes in North Dakota from the boom.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 10:39 am

Heritage Foundation economist defends Sam Brownback, attacks Paul Krugman, but then … oops

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Yael Abouhalkah writes in the Kansas City Star:

Poor Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Even when he gets some high-profile love, things can go wrong.

The tax-cutting efforts of the embattled Brownback were praised in a recent opinion column by Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, a well-known conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

However, my research shows Moore used outdated and inaccurate job growth information at a key point in his article in early July. It appeared in slightly different versions in The Star, The Wichita Eagle, and on websites such as the Heritage Foundation’s.

The wrong data undermined one of Moore’s arguments — that low-tax states have shown tremendous job gains and that employment often doesn’t grow as strongly in high-tax states.

Moore is a supporter of the low-tax mantra of Arthur Laffer, an economist who led Brownback and Kansas into the tax-cut wasteland and the subsequent decimation of state revenues in 2014.

In part of his article, Moore pointedly criticized a column written by Paul Krugman of The New York Times, who had lambasted the Kansas tax cut strategy and wondered “how did the charlatans and cranks end up dictating policy in Kansas…?”

Moore responded that states following “Krugman’s (and President Obama’s) economic strategy to a tee are getting clobbered by tax-cutting states.”

Revved up, Moore then added:

“No-income-tax Texas gained 1 million jobs over the last five years; California, with its 13 percent tax rate, managed to lose jobs. Oops. Florida gained hundreds of thousands of jobs while New York lost jobs. Oops.”

I reread Moore’s column a few days ago, after I had finished research for an editorial on the anemic job growth rate in Kansas under Brownback’s time in office.

Here are the four problems I subsequently found in that single paragraph written by Moore, which led to a corrected version of his column being posted on The Star’s website. Moore approved the correction in an email exchange with The Star.

No. 1: When Moore wrote about job creation “over the last five years,” he told The Star that he had measured from December 2007 to December 2012, using federal Bureau of Labor Statistics information.

That was an odd and ultimately misleading decision for readers. The bureau’s data is updated monthly, so “the last five years” easily could and should have been from mid-2009 to mid-2014. That would have provided more up-to-date figures, not 18-month-old data.

No. 2: Texas did not gain 1 million jobs in that 2007-2012 period. The correct figure was a gain of 497,400 jobs.

No. 3: Florida did not add hundreds of thousands of jobs in that span. It lost 461,500 jobs.

No. 4: New York, which has one of the highest income tax rates, did not lose jobs during that time. It gained 75,900 jobs.

As someone who has pored over the Bureau of Labor Statistics sheets for many months, I know figures can be skewed and cherry-picked by people on both sides of this tax-cut debate.

(For example, California since December 2012 — when Moore stopped measuring employment growth — has added 541,000 jobs, which is more than Texas’ 523,400. So, high taxes are good?) . . .

Continue reading.

The GOP accepts lying as a way of winning: the goal is to win, and anything that helps is acceptable.

UPDATE: Paul Krugman also responds.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 10:27 am

Posted in Daily life

George Tenet desperate to censor report on CIA torture program

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George Tenet, one-time director of the CIA who famously declared it was a “slam dunk” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (meaning actual weapons of mass destruction, not merely hand grenades), is now furiously at work to keep details of the US torture program from coming out. This NY Times article by Mark Mazzetti describes some of his machinations. From the article:

The April meeting at C.I.A. headquarters highlighted how much of the agency is still seeded with officers who participated in the detention and interrogation program, which Mr. Obama officially ended during his first week in office in 2009.

At one point during the meeting, the current head of the counterterrorism center, an officer with the first name Mike, told Mr. Brennan that roughly 200 people under his leadership had at some point participated in the interrogation program. They wanted to know, he said, how Mr. Brennan planned to defend them in public against accusations that the C.I.A. engaged in systematic torture and lied about its efficacy.

Mr. Tenet flashed his anger at these accusations in 2007, when he was asked about the interrogation program during an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

Wagging a finger at the correspondent, Scott Pelley, Mr. Tenet said over and over, “We don’t torture people.”

“No, listen to me. No, listen to me. I want you to listen to me,” he went on. “Everybody forgets one central context of what we lived through: The palpable fear that we felt on the basis of that fact that there was so much we did not know. I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots.”

First, of course, it is well known that the CIA did indeed torture people, sometimes to death. That is documented. (The CIA destroyed all videotaped evidence, of course, but word was already out.)

Second, Mr. Tenet simply denies that the CIA tortured people, but then in his rebuttal explains why the CIA tortured people: denial, and then justification.

It’s a lawyer’s defense. “We didn’t do it—and the reasons we did do it are very good.”

Contemptible—and Obama apparently is fine with Tenet riding herd on the investigation and its report. But that helps clarify the degree to which intelligence services control the White House and the government.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 9:21 am

Great shave, new soap: Grandstaff

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SOTD 26 July 2014

Extremely nice shave this morning. My R&B brush was its usual excellent self, and I got a very nice lather from the new Grandstaff shaving soap. The label is poorly designed, however, with colored lettering overprinted on colored images, and I simply could not read it. Presumably they do not want customers to be able to read it, which does raise some concerns, but it did make a good lather. I would love to know the ingredients and the fragrance, though, and the website is of little help. I think that I got “Holy Smokes” in the “Butterface: 4xButter” variation.

Ingredients: Stearic Acid, H20, Kokum Butter, Castor Oil, Illipe Butter, Mango Butter, Cocoa Butter, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Lanolin, Vegetable Glycerin, Avocado Butter.

Holy Smokes’. – A pungent blend of Tobacco, Almond, Vanilla, and Clove. I found that while curing this soap, the scent lingered around my cook space for days on end.

Worth a try, but I hope they do something about making their labels easier to read.

My Walbusch humpbacked slant did a fine job—BBS result—and a good splash of Woods starts my Saturday.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2014 at 9:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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