Aside from the legalities, the CIA does not believe outright torture produces reliable results and has never used it. Scaring prisoners with waterboarding is another matter. Waterboarding led to a takedown of key al-Qaida operatives when they were planning more attacks. If waterboarding really were torture, the military would not use it on its own special forces as part of their training in case they are waterboarded after being captured.
Many well-intentioned people, including Sen. John McCain, have described waterboarding as torture. But as defined by the dictionary, torture is infliction of pain. As used by the CIA, waterboarding entailed placing a cloth over the face of the subject and pouring water over the cloth. The technique creates the sensation of drowning and therefore fear, but it is painless. The individual awakes the next morning feeling just fine.
In fact, as we've noted, contrary to Kessler's claim that waterboarding victims are "just fine" afterwards, there is evidence that waterboarding does result in lasting physical or psychological damage.
Media Matters catches Brent Bozell peddling a false comparison of inauguration costs in his Jan. 21 column: "For the record, the 'lavish'  Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million." In fact, the Obama costs include security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments, while the Bush number does not.
As we noted, Bozell made the same false comparison in an appearance on "Fox & Friends."
Brennan Again Likens Obama to Nazis Topic: Newsmax
Prior to the election, Newsmax's Phil Brennan likened Barack Obama to Nazis (as we noted). Brennan does so again in his Jan. 20 Newsmax column.
After noting Obama's "highly touted scheme to put out-of-job Americans to work by rebuilding the infrastructure — billions upon billions for roads, bridges, tunnels, and buildings in need of refurbishing," Brennan adds: "To begin with, it's not a new idea. Adolf Hitler created a similar plan to put people to work."
Brennan also cited Obama's "reliance on giving tax reductions to vast numbers of people using so-called income tax rebates to people who don't pay a dime in federal income taxes." Brennan fails to note that even if some people do not pay federal income taxes, they do pay other federal taxes, such as federal excise taxes on gasoline and the FICA tax to find Medicare and Social Security.
CNS' Jeffrey Takes Obama Out of Context Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey takes cues from WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein by taking President Obama out of context in his Jan. 21 CNSNews.com column, claiming that Obama made a "declaration" in his inauguration speech that "We are a nation of … non-believers." Jeffrey also referred to "the 'non-believers' to whom Obama paid tribute in the heart of his speech."
Jeffrey fails to offer to his readers the full context of Obama's remark: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelivers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."
Like Klein, Jeffrey does not explain why he finds it offensive that Obama is acknowledging the simple, undeniable that there are people other than Christians who hold American citizenship.
NewsBusters Still Sneering At Obama Topic: NewsBusters
From an anonymous Jan. 21 NewsBusters post credited only to "NB Staff":
Possible talking point: Have all your problems gone away now that Obama is President?
Have your mortgage and monthly bills been mysteriously paid for? Did you wake up thinner, taller, fitter, healthier, and sexier? Did your boss give you a raise today completely out of the blue? Are your kids suddenly better behaved, and saying "Yes, sir/ma'am" to all your commands? Did your spouse give you an affectionate greeting this morning like you haven't received since your honeymoon?
Does the sky and the sun look brighter today? Were those strange noises in your car's engine suddenly gone when you drove to work this morning? Is there a new vigor in your step, and a sudden lust for life you've never felt before? Did your neighbors all wave to you as you drove down your street?
Please share with your fellow NBers how everything was better this morning as a result of yesterday's coron...er...inauguration. Inquiring minds want to know.
As if Newsmax's editorial denouncing the Bush legacy wasn't surprising enough, it follows up with part 2, which manages to be even harsher:
As Barack Obama assumes the mantle of the presidency and duties of the office, he has inherited from his predecessor a federal government that has a staggering national debt of over $10 trillion, a ballooning federal deficit this year estimated at $438 billion – and a government that recently assumed responsibility for some $5 trillion of the nation’s consumer debt.
The irony is that George W. Bush, who billed himself as a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan, leaves a legacy of profligate federal spending, record debt and an economy in shambles.
A broad range of conservative thinkers, surveying the political and economic fallout of the two Bush terms, are openly voicing their concerns that it may take years for the Republican party and the nation to repair the damage Bush policies have inflicted.
Wowser. Conservatives don't usually say this stuff in public about one of their own.
WND's Klein Trashes Obama's Inauguration Speech Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein oozed contempt for Barack Obama yet again in a Jan. 20 article on Obama's inauguration speech.
Attacking the inclusive language Obama used, Klein repeatedly took out of context a previous Obama comment that America is "no longer a Christian nation" to assert that Obama plans "to reorient the U.S. away from its traditional Judeo-Christian values." But Klein himself contradicts this claim later in the article by finally noting Obama's words in full context: "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
Klein does not explain why it's somehow offensive to him for Obama to acknowledge the simple, undeniable fact that there are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists who are also American citizens.
Sheppard Laments Bush Derangement Syndrome, Oblivious to His Own Maladies Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard begins a Jan. 20 NewsBusters post by asking, "As we prepare to say goodbye to our 43rd President, an important question needs to be asked: will those suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome be cured on Inauguration Day?" Sheppard added: "Consider that Herbert Hoover left the White House in 1933, and he still gets eviscerated 75 years later."
But Sheppard didn't have to go back so far for evidence to support his theory. All he needed to do was examine whether his colleagues at the Media Research Center were cured of Clinton Derangement Syndrome when Bill Clinton left office.
Of course, that answer is an emphatic yes.
As we detailed at the time, MRC chief Brent Bozell was suffering from a full-blown case of CDS when Clinton left office in 2001, hosting a $125-a-plate dinner so his conservative buddies could heap abuse, claiming, "It's our way of celebrating the fumigation of Washington." Bozell also said of Hillary Clinton'selection assenator from New York: "We need fund-raising fodder. ... They left her behind for us."
When Hillary Clinton ran for president, CDS was back; Bozell and Tim Graham were right there with a book rehashing biased and misleading accounts of so-called Clinton scandals.
Sheppard himself is a CDS sufferer: He once theorized that a hostage crisis at a Hillary Clinton campaign office was "orchestrated" by Clinton "to make herself look battle-hardened."
But that's just one malady Sheppard suffers from. Not only does he have Global Warming Derangement Syndrome (as most recently evidenced by his embrace of a 9/11 truther published in Pravda simply for mouthing anti-global warming dogma) is also developing a full-blown case of Obama Derangement Syndrome. As we've noted, Sheppard was quick to blame Barack Obama's victory for a stock market drop immediately following the Nov. 4 election -- "there's no question this represented Wall Street's vote of no confidence in Obama's economic plans for the future" -- while failing to acknowledge that there was economic news that even the Fox Business Channel agrees played a decisive factor in the decline.
Sheppard does the same thing in another Jan. 20 post, suggesting the decline in stocks was related to Obama's inauguration. While Sheppard does note that "stocks normally do very poorly the first year of a new president's first term," he was also eager to point out "how the selloff accelerated after Obama finished his Inaugural address." At no point does Sheppard mention events in the financial world that actually drove the decline. As the Washington Post reported:
Disillusioned investors fled financial companies as fresh evidence mounted that the industry's problems are larger than previously understood, larger than the response so far mustered by the government and perhaps larger than the resources remaining in its rescue program.
Nevertheless, Sheppard pre-emptively bashed "the giddy Obama-loving media" for the possibility that they might not report it out of fear of "allow[ing] anything to dampen the celebration."
Fleshing out his earlier reference to Hoover, Sheppard also embarks on a strange revisionist defense of him:
Much like today's BDS, media hatred of Hoover conveniently ignores facts. Although the economy was in a recession in 1930, the Depression really didn't begin until 1931. This means that for all intents and purposes, Hoover only presided over two years of the Depression.
By contrast, as the GDP didn't surpass its 1929 output until 1941, and unemployment after peaking during Franklin D. Roosevelt's first year in office didn't return to more normal levels until 1942, Roosevelt presided over almost ten years of the Depression.
Regardless, to this day, Hoover gets all the blame for this horrible period in economic history, and Roosevelt gets all the credit for ending it even though the economy only improved once America entered World War II and went right back into a serious recession once the war ended.
Sounds like Sheppard has apparently caught a virus from the HeritageFoundation, resulting in this flare-up of an apparent lingering case of Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
The election ended months ago, yet WorldNetDally's Aaron Klein is still hurling guilt-by-association attacks at Barack Obama.
The latest is a Jan. 19 article in which he once again raises the specter of "anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi" and his alleged connections to Obama. Needless to say, Klein fails to mention that Khalidi has ties to prominent Republicans including Obama's former opponent, John McCain.
As we detailed, Klein avoided telling his readers about the Khalidi-McCain connection until someone else reported it, and then desperately tried to spin it away.
NewsBusters Readers Not As Classy As They Think Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 20 NewsBusters post, Rusty Weiss attacked commenters at the Huffington Post for a "propensity ... to delve into the vile and disgusting" regarding a news article on Dick Cheney and having "their ‘looney left' radar working overtime, developing conspiracy theories that would make Rosie O'Donnell blush." Weiss concludes: "But it's just more proof that the readers here at NewsBusters are a class above the competition."
Really? Let's see what NewsBusters readers have to say about our new president here:
Sorry, but even though I have the time, I cannot attend. I am already nauseous and do not wish to go full bore emetic. I have already seen enough of The One's "historic" luxury train trip pretending to be Lincoln. Don't they understand: Lincoln was a Republican and the dumbocrats of the time hated him as much or more than GWB!
I've been forced to watch the inauguration on ABC, and this nutwork's coverage is so sickening that my stomach has done Olympic quality somersaults...It's as if the Democrats are rubbing it into the faces of us Republicans.
what would you as a parent do with a child's temper tantrum? this is the task at hand of we the responsible adults during this incredibly irresponsible presidency
I, and millions of Americans will not watch this travesty. To do so would be like watching an execution and enjoying it. I can't take having to talk back to the t.v. every five seconds. I can't take feeling sick every time I hear the ignorant talking heads and see the hords of screaming lambs as they go to slaughter. The America I once knew is gone , possibly forever. It is a dark day for this nation which has elected a child, simply because he is black. America will suffer greatly for this parody, trumpeted by a small but cunning, selfish, and dishonest group of hypocrites. Sad.
I live in an area where you really can't say anything negative about "The Messiah" without getting a dirty look from someone. Everyone here has an Obama shirt or button. My wife gets mad if I make fun of him. This morning she told me not to say anything and I simply told her I did forfeit my right to free speech.
Thank God I live in Ga! I am wearing a tshirt that says "Black Tuesday" on it. I plan on wearing it to the grocery store, later. I don't give a rat's rear what anyone else thinks.
I am urging all NewsBusters to boycott PepsiCo. The CEO of PepsiCo is a long time supporter of Obama and has even gone as far as to change the logo of Pepsi to more closely resemble Obama's logo for his run for the presidency. They are also running a campaign call "refresh America" with Obama in mind to "refresh America". They have even named a brand of spring water for Obama!
Barack Obama is a pathological narcissist and has a very weak sense of self.
Barack Obama compensates his devalued and injured self with pomposity and by projecting a false image of majesty and authority.
Barack Obama retreats into a bubble universe of fantasy, in which he is loved, respected and omnipotent.
All children create such a world. Narcissists like Barack Obama, simply don’t leave it.
Barack Obama has carried this world of pretense into his adulthood.
Barry O, Barry O! Who are you? What have you sacrificed? Barry O, Barry O! Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Gainor Misleads on Inauguration Rights Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 18 appearance on Fox News, the MRC Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor complained that HBO paid $5 million for the rights to broadcast the inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, calling it "pay for play." Gainor added: "If he's such a news-making rock star, and I think we all agree the media are treating him that way, well then, if he's a newsmaker, this is news, and that means shared video for a major event, not exclusive." A Jan. 19 NewsBusters post on Gainor's appearance by Matthew Philbin adds that HBO's rights deal "meant that only HBO subscribers and the 37 percent of cable customers that have digital cable could watch."
Both Gainor and Philbin appear to be wrong. As TPM has noted, HBO descrambled its channel during the presentation itself, so basic cable subscribers still got to see it. Further, the Presidential Inauguration Committee owns the rights to the concert; HBO merely owns the broadcast rights for six months.
Newsmax bade farewell to President Bush in surprising fashion -- by heavily criticizing him and his legacy. From a Jan. 19 "Newsmax.com Editorial":
Today, Bush’s legacy to his successor is two unresolved wars, a global image that is deeply tarnished, and the greatest economic crisis in modern times.
Conservatives who backed Bush in two successive elections have little to show for their efforts. Bush, in fact, has decimated the Republican brand.
Bush oversaw the greatest increase in discretionary social spending in history as the federal government usurped new powers in its war on terror. He placed the United States on a global interventionist path for the elusive goal of “democracy.” Ronald Reagan would not be able to recognize the party he knew, which espoused limited government, protection of personal liberty, and the idea that the U.S. should lead globally by example rather than by force.
The best that can be said of President Bush is that he kept America’s homeland safe. During his watch, we did not experience another terror attack on U.S. soil after Sept. 11.
It is a laudable fact, but one that came at enormous financial cost and an erosion of personal freedoms. Still, for all the talk about al-Qaida’s weakened state, Osama bin Laden remains at large despite Bush’s pledge to capture him “dead or alive.”
And if a major terror attack were to take place under the new Obama administration, his supporters will be quick to pin the blame on the Bush regime.
This is followed by a lengthy diatribe against Bush's "dreamy plan of creating a democracy in Iraq," his "refus[al] to offer a practical exit strategy"and for refusing to withdraw troops from Iraq to boost Republican political fortunes at home. The editorial concludes: 'The bottom line is that Bush’s overriding focus on Iraq — and his refusal to readjust course as circumstances and facts warranted – became the touchstone of an administration that, in so many areas, seemed unaccountable to principles or good sense."
This criticism is not entirely surprising -- Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy was editorializing in favor of a troop withdrawal from Iraq as early as 2005 -- but the strong tone of it is, given that Newsmax has historically been one of Bush's biggest supporters. It declared after 9/11 that "Real Americans support [Bush] 100 percent," and after Bush's 2004 re-election with a bare-majority 51 percent of the vote, Ruddy proclaimed, "Yesterday the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush."
And unlike Newsmax writer Ronald Kessler, which is still clinging to the idea that Bush "kept us safe" and whose criticism of Bush is much more tempered (unsurprising since he also brags that "I have written more positive material about Bush and the first lady than any other journalist"), there's no attempt to blame that dastardly liberal media for this situation.
That's a nice bit of evolution that other conservatives can learn from.
WND Still Hiding Border Agents' Cover-Up Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's not surprising that WorldNetDaily is elated that President Bush commuted the prison sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean -- after all, it devoted by its own count at least 228 news stories and 51 commentaries to it. It's also not surprising that WND is still whitewashing the facts of the case.
WND has framed the story of Ramos and Compean as one in which the agents were unfairly imprisoned for, as one WND article put it, "shooting and wounding, in the line of duty, a fleeing illegal alien drug smuggler trying to bring almost 800 pounds of marijuana into the U.S." and because "they didn't report the shooting as regulations required." That oversimplifies the case to the point of distortion.
As we'venoted, WND has long been reluctant to tell its readers the pertinent facts that the drug smuggler was unarmed and that Ramos and Compean fired 15 rounds at the smuggler, hitting him once. (When WND mentions that the smuggler was indeed shot, they are quick to add that it was "in the buttocks," as if that doesn't qualify as actually shooting someone.) Further, the agents didn't merely fail to "report the shooting as regulations required"; they actively covered it up by disposing of their shell casings. As prosecutor Johnny Sutton told WND's Jerome Corsi in January 2007:
The behavior is egregious. I think once people find out the facts that you have two agents who shot at an unarmed guy running away who they knew was unarmed, and lied, covered up the evidence, threw away the shell casings, and filed false reports – I think most people will say, "Yeah, that's outrageous. That needs to be prosecuted.
As far as WND's suggestions that Ramos and Compean were unfairly convicted, Sutton also told Corsi:
It's really important that the American people understand that the facts that they're hearing on some of these radio programs are just not true. There's so much more to it. Common sense will tell you that Border Patrol agents do not go to prison for doing their jobs; they only go to prison for committing crimes.
And juries, especially in El Paso, are very sympathetic to Border Patrol; they give them the benefit of the doubt time and time again, because they live in that community, they protect that community, and they are heroes in that community. And in every other case where Border Patrol have used their weapons, at least as long as I have been U.S. attorney, the Border Patrol have been cleared for using their weapons.
I'm trying to get that message out to Border Patrol. And I think the rank and file of Border Patrol when they learn the facts of this case, they will understand that this was a big problem and that these agents committed big crimes. That's all we can do and hopefully the truth will get out. And hopefully we'll get a chance to let the American public hear what the jury heard.
Joseph Farah unsurprisingly perpetuates the distortion in a Jan. 20 column asserting that "amos and Compean were actually incarcerated for the 2005 incident in which they fired on a drug smuggler who had brought a load of some 750 pounds of marijuana into Texas." Farah makes no mention of the cover-up, yet insisted: "The continued incarceration of these two men represented nothing less than a human rights abuse – a miscarriage of justice perpetrated at the highest levels of our government in broad daylight."
Newsmax followed in WND's footsteps; a Jan. 19 article by Dave Eberhart similarly framed the case as the agents "shooting and wounding a self -admitted illegal alien drug smuggler" and that they "fail[ed] to report the incident properly" without noting the agents' efforts to cover up the shooting. Eberhart did note, however, that "It is illegal for federal agents to fire upon fleeing felons or suspects." Meanwhile, a Jan. 19 AP article published by Newsmax notes what Eberhart didn't, stating that Ramos and Compean "tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings."
UPDATE: A Jan. 20 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas similarly leads off by claiming that Ramos and Compean were imprisoned for "shooting an illegal alien drug smuggler in the buttocks." While Lucas later notes that the smuggler "suffered a shattered urethra from the shooting" and that "the agents shot an unarmed man and did not realize he was carrying drugs at the time they shot him," he does not mention the fact that Ramos and Compean tried to cover up the shooting.