Review: Secrets, Politics and Torture vs. Zero Dark Thirty

Last night I watched the Frontline program Secrets, Politics and Torture: The secret history of the fight over the CIA’s controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture that I alerted readers to. The show, broadcast last night on PBS, looked at how the US government has indulged in the most brutal acts of torture and lied about it. For those who missed it, these programs are usually later available online for at least a brief time and may be shown again on PBS. [Update: Thanks to reader lanir, the link to see the 54-minutes documentary is here.]
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I’ll bet Ted Cruz never expected the Spanish Inquisition

Texas senator Ted Cruz, one of the many contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, is one of the most obnoxious people around. Even his colleagues in his own party seem disgusted with his arrogant, preening, headline-hogging antics. So that raises the question as to whether it would be ever possible for him to come off as a sympathetic figure in an exchange with anyone.
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This is a thing?

What is the matter with some people that they would think this is funny? Apparently this started out as a fake TV video that went viral and now female TV reporters as well as some male ones are routinely subjected to this as they try to broadcast live reports.

The reporter Shauna Hunt has to be credited for not backing off and directly confronting these awful people and showing them up for the creeps they are.

What’s wrong with adopting the Scandinavian model?

When Bernie Sanders appeared on ABC News yesterday, it became clear that the interviewer wanted to goad him into attacking Hillary Clinton directly and then get her to respond in kind because that will enable them to create the kind of narrative they are most familiar with, that of a mud-slinging race and the effect of those attacks on poll numbers. But Sanders is smart enough not to fall for that. Instead, by focusing his attacks on the billionaire class that dominates US politics, Clinton is affected only to the extent that she is part of that class. It will be interesting to see how she reacts.
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Geraldo Rivera and Fox News get an earful

An articulate young man tells Geraldo Rivera and the Fox News crew to get the hell out of Baltimore because they are never there to report on the awful conditions in that area or when there are peaceful protests and demonstrations to try and get things improved. They only come when there is upheaval and then just to deplore the violence and paint the residents when they are in a bad light.
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A once taboo word goes mainstream

I have long used the word oligarchy to describe America because I think it accurately captures the reality of the current state of politics where a small coterie of wealthy individuals and families control the country and make all the major decisions on economic and military issues. The so-called people’s elected representatives are merely the people in front of the curtain, there to entertain us and distract us from the fact that we really have no say except on a limited set of social issues that the oligarchy does not really care that much about as long as the stability they need to maintain their own lifestyles is maintained.
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Who cares about news when you’re with Jane Fonda?

If one wanted to see evidence of the shallowness of the US news media and its incestuous relationship with politicians and the way reporters (I use the term loosely) get gooey-eyed when they meet film and TV stars, you need look no further than the annual White House Correspondents Dinner that took place last Saturday. I am amazed that the event didn’t shrivel up and die after the brutal roasting it got in 2006 from Stephen Colbert when the organizers made the mistake of inviting him to give the keynote speech and instead of the usual pandering they expected to get, he took the opportunity to tell them to their faces that they were nothing better than star-struck stenographers who suck up to the powerful and famous. Incidentally, there is a new documentary titled Nerd Prom that gives an inside look at this event, if you have the stomach for it.
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