vice president cheney

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton,’ as vital as ever, opens in San Francisco (L.A. Times):

[…] But the deafening din crackled with the spirit of a communal rally. The musical’s full-throated affirmation of diversity, inclusion and tolerance has taken on new urgency now that these values have fallen under sharp attack. “Hamilton” has become part of the resistance.

Parts civics class, part hip-hop extravaganza, part town hall, the show celebrates in rapping flow the ideals our Founding Fathers battled to define and defend nearly 2½ centuries ago — ideals that are still being vociferously fought over today.

The never-ending project of forming a “more perfect Union,” as the Preamble to the Constitution puts it, is what separates “Hamilton” from the other 21st century Broadway juggernauts (“The Producers,” “Wicked,” “The Book of Mormon”) that have given theater a sugar rush of popularity.

Hamilton and Lafayette’s high-five moment on the battlefield acknowledging the contribution of immigrants to the cause of freedom (“We get the job done”) has been provoking thunderous applause since the show’s off-Broadway start at the Public Theater in 2015. But the cheers at the SHN Orpheum were tinged with the ironic recognition of President Trump’s immigrant-phobic policies and proposals. In loudly endorsing the sentiment of the characters, the audience seemed to be rooting on its own activism and dissent.

Similarly, the song “History Has Its Eyes on You” takes on an even more mournful resonance than before. The image of George Washington shouldering with grave dignity his responsibilities as leader of the burgeoning democracy stands in stark contrast to the partisan shenanigans going on in Washington today. History not only has its eyes on us but it also helps us to see how far we are falling short.

“Hamilton” simultaneously highlights some of very real strides that have been made in the struggle for liberty and equality. The musical’s multicultural cast, portraying seminal figures in the story of America’s founding, is part of the show’s progressive message.

I’ll have more to say about the virtuoso spell of Joshua Henry’s Aaron Burr, the swaggering vigor of Emmy Raver-Lampman’s Angelica Schuyler and the intelligent if somewhat muted presence of Michael Luwoye’s Hamilton when the production opens in L.A. But the kinetic charge of the show comes in large part from the teamwork of this diverse and dynamic ensemble.

“Hamilton” is a generational phenomenon, a box office sensation that has been critically hailed for its groundbreaking style. The only Broadway musical in the last 25 years that remotely compares to it in terms of cultural impact is “Rent,” but Miranda’s masterpiece has a wider reach. Not many shows can claim former Vice President Dick Cheney and Jay Z as fans.

The New York company’s controversial curtain call speech to then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who caught the show after the election, may have provoked twitter thunderbolts from Trump, but “Hamilton” is open to all who uphold bedrock democratic principles. No American musical understands better the ideological combat that goes into governing. Patriots from both sides of the aisle have sung the show’s praises. […]

Those in favor or torture should read Guantánamo Diary and imagine themselves in place of its author

According to a study by the Pew Research Center a few years back, only about 24% of all Americans think that the authorities should never engage in torture, no matter the circumstances. That means that three out of four people think that torture is sometimes allowable. Every Republican candidate has come out in favor of torture as part of their warmongering, except Ted Cruz who, while pretending to be adamantly against torture, defines these acts of brutality against fellow human beings in such a way as to permit an extraordinary number of procedures that virtually everyone else would consider to be torture.

Most legitimate research demonstrates that torture does not work in extracting information from enemy personnel, but as with climate change and the minimum wage, those who support torture have purchased their own research that purports to show that torture works.

But as Guantánamo Diary graphically and brutally shows, the issue of our essential morality trumps any concerns for national security that sadists and the uninformed might invoke as a cause for torture.  Guantánamo Diary is the memoir of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a highly educated Mauritanian who ended up being tortured for months on end at GITMO despite our intelligence services having not one iota of evidence that he ever engaged in terrorism or helped terrorist organizations.

At the age of 19, Slahi went to Afghanistan for a few months to help Islamic guerillas fight against the communist government that the United States also opposed at that time. He later lived and worked in Germany and Canada before returning to Mauritania. After the 9/11 attacks, the United States arranged for the Mauritanian government to detain Slahi and then render him to Jordan, where he was tortured, and then sent to GITMO for more torture. At Guantánamo Slahi was subjected to isolation, temperature extremes, beatings, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation. One time, his American captors—representing you, me and every other citizen of the United States—blindfolded him and took him out to sea for a mock execution. As long as he denied accusations that he recruited suicide bombers for Al Qaida, his captors ratcheted up the pain.  

After torturers used beatings and a forced diet of water to keep him awake for weeks, during which time he was interrogated and suffered other tortures on a daily basis, he finally confessed to crimes he did not commit and for which there was no shred of supporting evidence, circumstantial or otherwise. Prosecutors later refused to prosecute Slahi in 2003 because the government’s case depended solely on his false confessions, which were inadmissible under both U.S and international law because they had come under torture.  In 2010, a federal judge ordered Slahi released, but an appeals court overruled and Slahi is still held at GITMO, although no longer being tortured.

Slahi’s descriptions of what his captors did to him are not for the light of heart. His words bring to life the excruciating pain that torture produces in a more evocative, immediate way than any movie or TV depiction of torture I have seen. His descriptions are so grievously harrowing, perhaps because I knew what Slahi suffered was real and that the torture inflicted on Arnold or Bruce Willis in movies is fake. Page after page describes hour after hour of beatings, sexual degradation, marathon interrogations and exposure to extreme cold or heat. Because we experience these physical torments through the eyes of an individual who is both a fine writer and legitimately religious, we also suffer the mental anguish felt by someone who is innocent of all charges.

Before allowing publication, the U.S. government blanked out much of Guantánamo Diary. Eight full pages in a row are blanked out at the height of the GITMO torture regime. Looking at page after page of thick black lines running horizontally from one edge of the paper to the other filled me with panic and fear, as my imagination provided all the punches, kicks, slaps, nakedness, ice cubes, blaring music, Billy clubs and excrement that the redaction concealed.

The basic argument of Guantánamo Diary is that “evil is as evil does.” Slahi’s experience in the U.S. torture gulag has caused him to consider the United States a force for evil, and not a bastion of freedom.  Reading the memoir filled me with the shame of someone who has committed mortal sins that she-he knows are wrong. I didn’t commit the sins, but I felt the guilt, because it was my country. It’s no wonder that our use of torture embarrassed the country in front of the world and sent a lot of young idealistic Muslims into the arms of ISIS.

Slahi’s story exemplifies why torture doesn’t work. People get so confused and so fearful of additional torment that they begin to lie and admit to acts they didn’t really commit. It also shows that it takes a certain brutal and barbaric turn of mind to engage in torture. It makes me wonder if Dick Cheney ever witnessed the infliction of waterboarding or beatings on an individual or if his sadism is only symbolic, consisting of words and images in his mind. Or did he—or his less intellectual president—believe the sanitized versions of torture we see in our violent entertainments? Senator John McCain did not, but then again he went through the real deal in Vietnam.

It is unfortunate that the Obama Administration decided to sweep our torture history under the rug, saying that no one would be prosecuted for planning or implementing the torture regime that took hold of GITMO, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and dozens of other U.S. military facilities across the globe. Of course, prosecution would have meant sending President George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney and a few dozen other government officials to jail for breaking U.S. and international laws.

Word to Ted Cruz: Read Guantánamo Diary.

Word to Donald Trump: Read Guantánamo Diary.

Word to anyone who thinks we should have the right to inflict agonizing pan on others: Read Guantánamo Diary.

If after reading this poignant but depressing memoir, you still believe in torture, then consider yourself outside the human race.

anonymous asked:

Does the Secret Service have the authority to make the president do something if it's for his safety/ they think he is in danger?

If the President is in danger, the Secret Service will literally pick him up and drag or carry him to where he needs to go. On 9/11, that’s what happened with Vice President Cheney, who was in his White House office when the White House was evacuated because one of the planes was heading towards Washington, D.C. Cheney, and a few of his close aides were being taken into the PEOC bunker underneath the White House. They found out that this was happening when Secret Service agents burst into Cheney’s office and, without saying much of anything, grabbed the Vice President and carried him away. Cheney later said that his feet “might have touched the ground” a few times on the way to the bunker.

You can also see this type of reaction when President Reagan was shot. As soon as gunshots began to ring out, Reagan’s Secret Service agents shoved him and pushed him into the limousine. I’m guessing that they didn’t bother to say, “Watch your head!” At one point in time, the Secret Service might have been more hesitant or respectful of protocol and said, “Mr. President, we’d like you to get in the limousine”, but that all changed on November 22, 1963. On that day, JFK requested that his Secret Service agents leave the bubble top of his limousine open and didn’t want agents standing on the running boards of his limo that day so that the crowds could see him better. They weren’t able to react quickly enough once Lee Harvey Oswald began shooting to get to JFK’s limo in time to protect him. The Secret Service has been haunted by that ever since then (as you might imagine), so now they don’t worry about pissing the President off if it might mean saving his life. 

How I Got An Autographed Keanu Reeves Rookie Card

A few years ago I happened to walk into a book store (those things people used to own in romantic comedies) that sold packs of those old trading cards they used to put out along with movies and TV shows.

You know the ones!

I bought all kinds of cool trading card sets for all kind of cool old media like Alf, The Simpsons, American Gladiators and strangely the actual American Military Operation “Desert Storm” (the first of the pending Iraq War Trilogy.) 

Side Note —The Desert Storm set had a pristine card featuring then Secretary of Defense and future Vice President DICK CHENEY. 

If you’re asking yourself “wow, that must be worth a ton of money” — you’re right, if you consider $1.75 a ton of money.

As it happened I worked on a TV show at the time and Keanu Reeves was going to be the guest the next night. SO I decided to buy the last remaining pack of Bill and Ted trading cards to get him to sign one! 

Choosing a card for him to sign was a difficult task, as the bright paint pens we had around the office did not adhere to the surface of the cards so it HAD to be a sharpie, meaning I had to find a card the featured both Keanu’s character and enough light space for a sharpie signature. These details are boring, but then again, this is a story about Keanu Reeves.

I unfortunately had to pick a card from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, the inexplicably insane sequel to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

For reference the plot featured Pokémon-like aliens Bill and Ted met in heaven who combine themselves into 1 alien, then with the help of Death himself build good robot versions of Bill and Ted from department store merchandise to fight off the evil robot versions of them who were sent from a gym teacher in the future to murder their medieval princess girlfriends and win the battle of the bands (yes that all actually happened.) It’s as if the drug cocaine decided it didn’t need humans anymore and just wrote a movie by itself. 

And here it is! 

For anyone wondering, yes Keanu Reeves still looks amazing, smells amazing, and sounds amazing — even when he’s politely asking you to stop sniffing him.

And to answer your other question, yes he thought it was weird AF but was nice enough to sign it anyway.

On another note, I think he wrote “Jesse” on it so I wouldn’t sell it on eBay but jokes on him, according to Facebook 15,000 people like Bill and Ted and of those at least one is named Jesse. Retirement money, here I come!  

Anyway, that’s my story, Happy Birthday Keanu! If anyone knows Alex Winters please tell him I want him to complete this treasure and maybe talk to me about Freaked for an hour or so. K bye. 

— Jesse

yahoo.com
Inside the White House on 9/11: Never before seen photos
Photos of Vice President Cheney on September 11, 2001 including meetings in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) and Vice President Cheney traveling to Camp David.

Read: White House on 9/11: Newly released photos show George W. Bush, Dick Cheney in wake of terror attacks by Michael Walsh

From the beginning, Cheney had what former Vice President Dan Quayle called a different understanding with Bush. When the presidential election landed in the courts in 2000, Cheney did not wait for a high court decision. Working out of his house, he organized the transition. And once the team was installed
in office, Cheney assumed the role of chief operating officer for a president who disdained details. Bush was the decider, but Cheney, by limiting options and sometimes suppressing information, often framed the decision.

Washington Post reporter Bart Gellman, author of Angler, an extraordinary book on the Cheney vice presidency, reports that Cheney was a sponge for details and a skilled bureaucratic infighter. And, at least in the first term, he drove policy on the issues he cared about. In the second term, with a more experienced and wary President Bush, Cheney’s influence waned but hardly ceased.

— 

Cheney: A VP With Unprecedented Power : NPR

What I’m terrified will happen with Trump’s VP pick. 

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING (The Borowitz Report)—Former Vice-President Dick Cheney broke his silence about the crisis in Iraq on Tuesday, telling reporters, “My thoughts and prayers are with the Iraqi oil wells.”

Continue reading: http://nyr.kr/U6qz8d

Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty.