Koch brother: I'm a social liberal – MSNBC

David Koch, billionaire donor to conservative causes, claimed once again that he is a “social liberal.” His own political contributions suggest otherwise.

“I’m basically a libertarian, and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch said in a forthcoming interview with Barbara Walters that was previewed on “This Week” Sunday. 

But he conceded that views on abortion and marriage equality doesn’t actually dictate his political activism or choice of candidates. “What I want these candidates to do is to support a balanced budget,” he said. “I’m very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly.”

This is not the first time David Koch has professed such views, though his brother Charles Koch has said less about his views on so-called social issues. For example, in 2012 David Koch told Politico, “I believe in gay marriage.” As a Libertarian party candidate in 1980, he supported legal abortion. 

Related: Koch group investigated

But money talks. The Huffington Post reported that the Kochs’ Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has since 2010 contributed nearly $24 million to straightforward social conservative groups. Much of that went to CitizenLink, a group launched by the anti-gay and anti-choice Focus on the Family. This is how that group describes its mission: “We provide resources that equip citizens to make their voices heard on critical social policy issues involving the sanctity of human life, the preservation of religious liberties and the well-being of the family as the building block of society.” Advocacy for a “balanced budget” – which generally entails massive cuts to social programs that also disproportionately affect women and people of color – didn’t make the cut. 

The Kochs have also funded anti-abortion and anti-feminist groups like Concerned Women for America and the Susan B. Anthony List. 

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Jeb Bush email release stokes 2016 talk – CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jeb Bush said Sunday he will release 250,000 emails from his time as Florida governor
  • He will also publish an eBook along with the emails outlining his governing philosophy
  • The announcements have fueled speculation he will run for president in 2016

Washington (CNN) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he will release 250,000 emails from his two terms in office and write an eBook outlining his governing philosophy during an interview aired Sunday. The moves have set the political sphere atwitter with speculation he’s closer than ever to deciding to run for president in 2016.

In what appears to be a move of classic political procedure — getting ahead of the opposition — Bush told WPLG-TV that his intention is to promote transparency.

“Part of serving or running both of them is about transparency,” he said. “I’ll let people make up their minds.”

READ: Jeb Bush ‘I’m thinking about running for president’

Further evidence a presidential run might be looming is a report in the Miami Herald that Bush recently lost 15 pounds, per an unnamed source.

Bush also admitted it’s been “kind of fun” to go back and look back at previous campaigns to remind himself that it’s possible to “move the needle” if you run with big ideas.

“That’s what you need right now in America,” said the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush.

By controlling the release of the emails and writing a book to accompany them, Bush has the opportunity to frame potential controversial subjects, like his support of the Common Core education policy and immigration reform.

Well aware he holds some positions out of step with the conservative wing of his party, Bush admits, “I am who I’ve been.”

An eBook, too, is noteworthy for Bush, who hasn’t ran for office since 2002 — before the invention of the iPhone. The release of a digital product might serve as a flag that the former governor prepared to build a modernized, digital campaign.

“I was digital before digital was cool I guess,” Bushed joked about emailing. “Now it’s commonplace.”

The book comes as Bush’s finances — including overseas investment and his work for venture capital firms — have come under scrutiny. The released emails could cast light on an already controversial narrative beginning to form or, more likely, serve as a timely distraction.

Bush says he is going to make up his mind about running in “short order,” and he plans to release the emails “sometime early next year.”

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Cheney Defends CIA Tactics in Counterattack on Senate Report on Torture – New York Times

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Dick Cheney denied that waterboarding and related interrogation tactics were torture.
By SCOTT SHANE
December 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — Dick Cheney, who as vice president was a powerful sponsor of the brutal interrogation tactics used on detainees suspected of being linked to Al Qaeda, on Sunday escalated his counterattack on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, which found that the Central Intelligence Agency‘s now-defunct program violated American values, was incompetently run and produced little useful intelligence that could not have been obtained in other ways.

“I would do it again in a minute,” Mr. Cheney said in a spirited, emotional appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He denied that waterboarding and related interrogation tactics were torture, noting that three of the past four attorneys general had agreed with his view.

“Torture is what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” Mr. Cheney said. “There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation.”

Mr. Cheney was also pressed to answer questions on detainees who had faced lengthy incarceration before being found not culpable. The former vice president responded that, in his mind, the greater problem was “with the folks that we did release that end up back on the battlefield.”

Document | The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of TortureThe report says the agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

Asked again whether he was satisfied with a program that erroneously locked up detainees, he replied, “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.”

Mr. Cheney’s latest remarks were part of a barrage of commentary attempting to undercut the Senate’s blistering report on the C.I.A. program. Defenders of interrogation methods long considered torture, including waterboarding, outnumbered those criticizing such methods on Sunday morning’s round of television interview shows from Washington.

Also featured on the shows was Michael V. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director; Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former agency official who ran the program; and the top Republicans on the Congressional intelligence committees — Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan. All have stuck up for the C.I.A.’s methods and denounced the Senate report as a flawed and partisan work.

Most prominent of those supporting the Senate report’s findings and denouncing the C.I.A. methods was Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, whose remarks on CBS’s “Face the Nation” underscored how lonely his position has become in the Republican Party. Mr. McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese captors as a prisoner of war, an experience that left him with the deep conviction that the United States should never use such tactics.

Mr. McCain said some defenders of the C.I.A. program were engaging in “rewriting of history” and whitewashing torture.

“What we need to do is come clean, we move forward, and we vow never to do it again,” he said. “I urge everyone to just read the report — these are the communications within the C.I.A. as to what happened. You can’t claim that tying someone to the floor and having them freeze to death is not torture.”

Two Democrats also defended the Senate report, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as an independent, Angus King of Maine.

The Senate committee’s report, researched and written by Democratic staff members after Republicans dropped out of the project, is a 6,000-page study based on a review of more than six million pages of C.I.A. records. It is by far the most ambitious look at the program to date, and its damning conclusions are based strictly on what C.I.A. officers were themselves reporting at the time.

Graphic | A History of the C.I.A.’s Secret Interrogation ProgramThe Central Intelligence Agency used waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other techniques on dozens of the men it detained in secret prisons between 2002 and 2008.

The portrait it paints of a program that was not just brutal but also incompetent has drawn global comment and has been welcomed by the United Nations and human rights groups.

But the top C.I.A. officials who ran the agency in the years after 9/11, including Mr. Hayden and Mr. Rodriguez, for months have been working on a coordinated pushback against the Senate findings. Mr. Cheney has enthusiastically joined their effort.

In the latest of his multiple interviews attacking the report, Mr. Cheney was sticking up for the C.I.A.’s previous practice of grabbing suspects around the world, holding them in secret overseas prisons and using methods previously viewed as torture by the United States. But at 73, two years after a heart transplant, he was also defending his own legacy.

In the early months after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush delegated the detailed oversight of the campaign against Al Qaeda to his vice president, Mr. Cheney, who took it up with energy. He had long believed that restrictions placed on the intelligence agencies after scandals in the late 1970s were ill advised, and he relished the chance to take the restraints off the C.I.A.

Graphic | Does Torture Work? The C.I.A.’s Claims and What the Committee FoundThe report undercut the C.I.A.’s claims that its tactics thwarted plots and led to the capture of terrorists.

He could run some political risk in his latest round of interviews. For some viewers, Mr. Cheney’s gloves-off comments on “Meet the Press” may recall his many appearances on Sunday morning television interview shows in late 2002 and early 2003, in the months before the invasion of Iraq.

At that time, he repeatedly asserted that Saddam Hussein had dangerous weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, claims that turned out to be false. He made a famously inaccurate prediction on the same show, “Meet the Press,” on March 16, 2003, that American troops would be “greeted as liberators.”

Now, as then, Mr. Cheney was less concerned with factual details than with a visceral appeal to Americans’ emotions. He even declined to criticize a C.I.A. practice used on prisoners called “rectal feeding,” though he noted that “it was not one of the techniques approved” by the Justice Department.

In Mr. Bush’s second presidential term, against Mr. Cheney’s advice, the president scaled back the secret prison program and moved the accused 9/11 conspirators to an American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.

Waterboarding was not used, as least with official approval, after 2003. So Mr. Cheney is, in part, defending his own influence in the first Bush term against the retreat from the most aggressive methods in the second term.

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Abe wins mandate to continue but not all Japanese convinced – Financial Times

Shinzo Abe did not seem jubilant, or even terribly relieved.

Instead, when Japan’s prime minister spoke on television late on Sunday evening, a couple of hours after exit polls suggested that he had secured another four years at the helm of the world’s third-largest economy, his tone was subdued.

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“We have received an endorsement for the last two years of the Abe administration,” he said. “But we must not be conceited.”

A little humility was probably in order. When Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic party swept to power two years ago, it was with about 1.7m fewer votes in single-member districts than it had won in 2009, when it came up against a resurgent Democratic party. This time, the LDP won even less popular support than it had in 2012, as its voting share looked set to remain stable while turnout dropped to a new record low of about 52 per cent, from 59.3 per cent last time.

After all the rigmarole of a snap election likely to have cost about Y60bn ($505m), the LDP ended up about where it started, with 290 seats in the 475-seat lower house. Together with its coalition partner, Komeito, it has retained the two-thirds majority needed to override the upper house, where opposition parties are stronger.

“Mr Abe has passed a midterm examination,” said Harukata Takenaka, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “The final test is yet to come.”

The prime minister had billed the poll as a referendum on his sweeping economic programme, also known as “Abenomics”, which is aimed at ridding Japan of deflation.

Mr Abe is from a wealthy family so he has no idea that ordinary people are feeling bullied. Only big companies and people who own stocks have benefited from ‘Abenomics.’ It is unfair

– Yukio Kanno, 73

Yet even among the people who went out to vote on an unusually cold December day — Tokyo saw its first winter snowfall about three weeks earlier than average — there was broad ambivalence towards the big stimulus efforts. According to exit polls carried out by NHK, the national broadcaster, there was a fairly even split between people who said they valued “Abenomics” (52 per cent) and those who said they did not (46 per cent).

Despite a lot of talk from Mr Abe that his reflationary drive is “the only way” for Japan, large swaths of voters have yet to experience benefits through higher wages. For many, the most obvious effect remains the collapse in the yen, which has boosted companies’ profits but pushed up people’s cost of living — a squeeze exacerbated by April’s increase in the consumption tax from 5 per cent to 8 per cent.

“Mr Abe is from a wealthy family so he has no idea that ordinary people are feeling bullied,” said Yukio Kanno, a 73 year-old pensioner from the western Tokyo district of Matsudo, who cast a vote for the centre-right Japan Innovation Party, formed from a split of other minority groups just three months ago. “Only big companies and people who own stocks have benefited from ‘Abenomics.’ It is unfair.”

Meanwhile, many voters say they are worried that Mr Abe may use an extended mandate not to push for longer-term structural reforms to boost Japan’s competitiveness — the so-called “third arrow” of Abenomics — but to pursue matters closer to his heart, such as redrafting the country’s pacifist constitution.

Rie Yamanaka, a 32 year-old tax accountant who backed the JIP in her central-Tokyo district of Koto on Sunday morning, said that she welcomes Mr Abe’s basic ideas to perk up the economy, but is “scared” by his assertive foreign policy, which has strained Japan’s relations with China and South Korea.

“During the last election campaign, there was not much talk about revising the constitution,” she said, alluding to Mr Abe’s move earlier this year to loosen rules on how Japan’s self-defence forces can be deployed to support allies. “But once the LDP got an overwhelming number of seats, Mr Abe’s behaviour changed. It makes me wonder if the party is really OK.”

The prime minister gave a glimpse of these broader interests on Sunday evening, when he argued that the election had not been merely about Abenomics but was a vote on “which party should govern.”

Reworking Japan’s constitution was the LDP’s “long-held wish,” he said. Over the next few years, he would “work towards deepening public understanding on constitutional revision.”

Additional reporting by Kana Inagaki

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Rich-Poor Climate Divide Threatens Prospects for New Deal – Bloomberg

Two weeks of debate on how to limit carbon pollution across the globe ended with a deal that failed to resolve the toughest debate: how to narrow the divide between industrialized countries and poor ones that believe they need fossil fuels to help expand their economies.

Diplomats at the United Nations talks in Peru agreed on the data they’ll provide in the first quarter to support emissions goals for a pact to be signed in Paris next December. The discussions that finished in early hours of Sunday ran more than 30 hours overtime as nations fought about how to differentiate between those who’ve become rich on the back of burning fossil fuels and those who say they need cheap energy to develop.

“The fact that it was so tough to deliver some modest procedural steps is a taste of how difficult a substantive deal will be next year,” Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said in an interview as the discussions finished in Lima. “It keeps us on track for Paris but signals a tough year ahead.”

Next year’s goal is to bring all nations, rich and poor alike, into a deal that will limit pollution everywhere for the first time. The meeting in Lima, which began with a sense of momentum after the U.S. and China jointly announced emission limits in November, failed to lock in binding requirements to make transparent the actions that countries such as India, the third largest polluter, will take to restrict fossil fuel use.

May vs Shall

The five-page decision only describes the elements nations “may” report to demonstrate their commitment to limit emissions. An earlier version of the text used the word “shall,” which suggested more bite to the rules.

The Lima decision also emphasized the “common, but differentiated responsibilities” of countries, a phrase that dates back to the 1992 convention that governs the talks. Nations such as China and India interpret it as placing the burden to act on the rich, while industrial countries say it’s being used by the developing ones as an excuse not to act.

“This is a good starting point for Paris,” Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in an interview as he left the closing meeting in Lima. “All have accommodated each other. This needs to be taken further. Differentiation has come.”

Efforts at Lima to install a system for reviewing those pledges and pushing for more ambitious cuts were stripped out of the final document. That opened new questions about whether the UN will be able use government agreements to reach climate goals that have been identified by scientists.

‘Show and Tell’

“This whole show-and-tell process that we’ve created here is still an optional arrangement,” Ian Fry, an envoy for the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, said in an interview. “Countries can just pick and choose what they want to report on.”

Tuvalu and other low-lying island nations want all the biggest polluters, developed and developing alike, to rapidly reduce emissions. They’re alarmed global warming will boost sea levels and swamp their atolls.

“The thing that we’re not seeing in here and that we’re not seeing at the highest levels of government is the commitment we saw mobilized when we wanted to save the global financial system,” Samantha Smith, who follows the talks for the environmental group WWF, said in Lima. “If we don’t get stronger actions, we will get very dangerous climate change.”

Paris Elements

The decision adopted in Lima also references a separate 37-page document that incorporates “elements” of a deal that will morph into the Paris agreement. They set themselves a deadline of May to produce a first draft of the Paris text. In a third paper dealing with finance, richer countries reiterated a goal to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020.

“Finance is absolutely critical,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the development charity Oxfam, said in an interview in Lima. “Without resources being committed to support developing countries to adapt to climate change and to move onto a low carbon path, there can be no agreement.”

The talks are part of a process begun three years ago to apply pollution limits on all nations, not just the industrial countries covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Since that treaty was signed in 1997, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest emitter, and India jumped to third. Both are classified as developing countries exempt from restrictions. Kyoto’s limits expire in 2020 and will be replaced by the Paris deal.

American View

“The idea you would shape the form and content of a new agreement based on who was in which boat in 1992 is completely indefensible,” Todd Stern, the U.S. envoy in Lima, told reporters after the meeting. “That has to change and what we did today was a good step, but this issue was contentious. It will need to be worked through all the way to Paris.”

Stern said he’s confident countries will come forward with enough detail to judge their promises, despite the compromises in the final agreement.

The Lima meeting came as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Peabody Energy Corp. and Glencore Plc have increasingly taken to portraying themselves as champions of the world’s poor. Billions of people in developing countries, they say, need access to cheap oil, natural gas and coal to pull themselves out of poverty and into the middle class.

Even so, “the major multinational oil companies will gradually continue to diversify in their rational response to increasingly stringent CO2 policies,” Robert Stavins, director of the environmental economics program at Harvard University, said in an e-mailed reply to questions. That includes rolling back pricier projects, pushing into renewables and further developing technology to capture emissions and pump them underground for permanent storage, he said.

EU Reaction

Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s climate and energy commissioner, agreed that the results weren’t what he was seeking, though he insisted the route to Paris is continuing.

“Although the EU wanted a more ambitious outcome from Lima, we believe we are on track to agree a global deal in Paris next year,” Canete said after the Lima decision was reached.

While Kyoto’s limits were legally binding, it now covers just 15 percent of the global total.

Temperatures are on track to rise 3.6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to the International Energy Agency. A shift of that magnitude would be faster than the one that ended the last ice age and scientists say it will melt glaciers, trigger more violent storms and raise sea levels.

‘More Games’

“We can’t afford more games next year as leaders are going to show what side of history they want to be on,” Jake Schmidt, director of climate policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in Lima.

The current UN goal is to keep temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. One option suggested in Lima: zero out fossil-fuel emissions by 2100, or reduce them 50 percent by 2050.

Climate scientists last month estimated the world can burn oil, coal and natural gas at current rates for no more than two decades before they risk causing irreparable planetary damage.

“There is a growing consensus that Paris has to have a long-term goal of reducing if not eliminating fossil-fuel emissions,” said Alden Meyer, who has been attending the talks for more than two decades for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “That is a real difference from a year ago.”

Climate Losses

Also included in the Lima text was a reference to a loss and damage mechanism created last year to help the most vulnerable nations cope with the effects of climate change. Islands nations, including the Philippines after its battering by a typhoon last week, want that provision to turn into another funding stream.

Richer nations are concerned about writing a blank check for disasters abroad and say any notion of compensation is a “red line” in the negotiations.

Thorny issues up for debate next year include how legally binding the new agreement will be and how developed countries can reassure poorer ones that finance will be provided to help them cut emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. The toughest issue of all, he said, will be breaking down the so-called firewall between industrialized and developing nations.

“That’s where the battle will be in Paris,” he said. “It’s what the history of climate change negotiations has bequeathed to us.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in Lima at amorales2@bloomberg.net; Alex Nussbaum in Lima at anussbaum1@bloomberg.net; Ewa Krukowska in Lima at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net Reed Landberg

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Jeb Bush email release stokes 2016 talk Jeb Bush's new hints about 2016 – CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jeb Bush said Sunday he will release 250,000 emails from his time as Florida governor
  • He will also publish an eBook along with the emails outlining his governing philosophy
  • The announcements have fueled speculation he will run for president in 2016

Washington (CNN) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he will release 250,000 emails from his two terms in office and write an eBook outlining his governing philosophy during an interview aired Sunday. The moves have set the political sphere atwitter with speculation he’s closer than ever to deciding to run for president in 2016.

In what appears to be a move of classic political procedure — getting ahead of the opposition — Bush told WPLG-TV that his intention is to promote transparency.

“Part of serving or running both of them is about transparency,” he said. “I’ll let people make up their minds.”

READ: Jeb Bush ‘I’m thinking about running for president’

Bush also admitted it’s been “kind of fun” to go back and look back at previous campaigns to remind himself that it’s possible to “move the needle” if you run with big ideas.

“That’s what you need right now in America,” said the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush.

By controlling the release of the emails and writing a book to accompany them, Bush has the opportunity to frame potential controversial subjects, like his support of the Common Core education policy and immigration reform.

Well aware he holds some positions out of step with the conservative wing of his party, Bush admits, “I am who I’ve been.”

An eBook too, is noteworthy for Bush, who hasn’t ran for office since 2002 — before the invention of the iPhone. The release of a digital product might serve as a flag that the former governor prepared to build a modernized, digital campaign.

“I was digital before digital was cool I guess,” Bushed joked about emailing. “Now it’s commonplace.”

The book comes as Bush’s finances — including overseas investment and his work for venture capital firms — have come under scrutiny. The released emails could cast light on an already controversial narrative beginning to form or, more likely, serve as a timely distraction.

Bush says he is going to make up his mind about running in “short order,” and he plans to release the emails “sometime early next year.”

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Cheney on CIA interrogations: 'I'd do it again in a minute' – Los Angeles Times

Senior Bush administration officials Sunday slammed the Senate study on the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation tactics and defended the techniques as necessary to get information from senior Al Qaeda operatives who had stopped talking to interrogators.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It absolutely did work.”

The report released last week by the Democrat-led Senate intelligence committee has revived a decade-old debate about whether the U.S. should use coercive interrogation techniques to get information from terrorists and if such methods produce accurate and useful information.

CIA cables written at the time show that detainees had provided key information before the harsh tactics, such as waterboarding, confinement in small spaces and beatings, had been used. The study concluded that the use of torture was not effective and did not produce actionable intelligence about an imminent attack.

Cheney called the report “a cheap-shot piece of political business,” and criticized the Senate investigation for not interviewing CIA personnel. “The report is seriously flawed,” Cheney said. “They didn’t talk to anybody who knew anything about the program. They didn’t talk to anyone who was in the program.”

The Senate staff said they reviewed the transcripts of interviews with CIA staff conducted by the CIA’s inspector general.

Later on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the Democratic staff of the committee reviewed 6 million pages of documents. “There are a mountain of contradictions,” he said.

“Facts aren’t partisan,” Wyden said, adding that the Department of Justice should review the new facts in the report and reconsider the department’s decision not to prosecute those involved in the CIA’s program.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Jose Rodriguez, who helped design the detention and interrogation program as head of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, defended his controversial decision in 2005 to destroy tapes depicting hours of CIA interrogation sessions.

“I knew the tapes would leak some day,” Rodriguez said. He destroyed the tapes out of concern for the safety of the CIA officers whose faces appeared in the footage, he said. He was afraid that if the tapes were made public Al Qaeda would “go after them and their families.”

“I was concerned for their safety,” he said.

“This is one of the most highly reviewed covert action programs in the history of the agency,” Rodriguez said. “In the end no prosecutable offenses were found — no one tortured anyone else,” Rodriguez said.

Karl Rove, who was a senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, said on “Fox News Sunday” that all of the interrogation techniques were “carefully designed” and approved by administration lawyers.

The Senate study details multiple instances where interrogators appeared to act outside of their legal authorities and used techniques that were not approved.

Rove denied this. He said the detainees that received “rectal rehydration” and “rectal feeding” were on hunger strikes. But medical experts have said that neither technique is a legitimate medical procedure.

When it came to the use of waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning that was used on at least three senior Al Qaeda operatives, Rove said the style of waterboarding used by Japanese soldiers on prisoners during World War II was different from the technique used by the CIA.

Unlike the Japanese method, Rove said, when the CIA waterboarded detainees, the “feet were elevated” to prevent the lungs from filling up with water. “Very careful standards were put in place,” Rove said.

The Senate study documents a program that was poorly managed, lost track of detainees, and created an environment in which some interrogators beat detainees, chained them to walls for days at a time and locked them into coffin-like boxes. There is no record of President Bush being formally briefed by CIA officials about the program until 2006, the study states.

But Cheney said Bush was well aware of the program. Cheney was in briefings nearly six days a week with Bush and the director of the CIA, George Tenet at the time, he said. Bush “knew what we were doing, he authorized it,” Cheney said.

The Bush administration was “very careful to stop short of torture,” Cheney said.

“Torture to me,” Cheney said, “is an American citizen on his cellphone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death” on the top floors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said

Pressed on the fact that 26 of the 119 detainees in the CIA’s custody were held in error, Cheney said he’s more concerned about the U.S. releasing “bad guys” from custody. Many former detainees that have been released have returned to the battlefield. Like Abu Bakr Baghdadi, for example, who now leads the Islamic State and was once held by the U.S. military in Iraq.

One CIA detainee mistakenly held was named Gul Rahman. Rahman froze to death while chained to the floor of a CIA “black site” in Afghanistan.

“I am more concerned with bad guys who were let out and released than a few that were innocent,” Cheney said. “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective” to prevent a future attack, Cheney said.

CIA Director John O. Brennan said Thursday during an unprecedented televised speech and press conference at CIA headquarters, that there were management failures during the program and that some of the methods used were “abhorrent.” The question of whether the specific “enhanced” interrogation techniques prodded detainees into giving up unique information is “unknowable,” Brennan said, but the CIA’s detention program as a whole was effective and helped save lives.

For more reporting on national security, follow me on Twitter @ByBrianBennett.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Dick Cheney Would Torture Again – Huffington Post

Dick Cheney gave an unflinching defense of he CIA’s post-9/11 torture program on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, dismissing criticisms of the program’s forced rectal feedings, waterboarding and deaths.

“It worked. It absolutely did work,” said Cheney, a driving force behind the George W. Bush administration’s use of harsh tactics in response to the 9/11 attacks.

The Senate report on the interrogation program details forced rectal feedings that were medically unnecessary. But on Sunday, Cheney said the feedings were done for “medical reasons.” The former vice president showed little remorse for the dozens of prisoners who were found to have been wrongfully detained, for the man who died in the program, or for people like Khaled El-Masri — a German citizen who was shipped off to Afghanistan and sodomized in a case of mistaken identity.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” said Cheney. He also spoke repeatedly of how the program was justified to get the “bastards” who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

Cheney said he was more disturbed by the detainees released from Guantanamo and prisons in Iraq — many under his own administration — who have returned to the battlefield. He cited in particular the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was released from a U.S. prison in Iraq in 2004.

“I’m more concerned with bad guys,” said Cheney.

About the program’s serious errors — and the abuses that CIA Director John Brennan described as “abhorrent” on Thursday — Cheney said, “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.”

The Senate report has led to new calls for former Bush administration or CIA officials to be prosecuted for the torture program they oversaw, but Cheney on Sunday dismissed an appeal from Ben Emmerson, the UN Special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, to reopen inquires.

“I have little respect for the United Nations, or for this individual, who doesn’t have a clue,” said Cheney.

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Jeb Bush hinting presidential run? Will release 250K emails to 'let people make … – Fox News Latino

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) –  Jeb Bush’s big donors and allies are tantalized by his promise to decide “in short order” whether to run for president.

But supporters are struggling to understand what his actions mean and whether they can predict his political intentions.

Bush is scheduled to give the commencement address Monday at the University of South Carolina during his second visit in recent months to the state that’s set to host the South’s first presidential primary.

On the eve of the appearance, he said he plans to release an electronic book early next year along with roughly 250,000 thousands of emails from his time as governor.

Surely, that’s a sign the former Florida governor is in.

Bush also is expanding his private equity business, and advisers insist he’s not courting a political staff Iowa and New Hampshire, even as other would-be candidates assemble their 2016 campaign teams in the early voting states.

Surely, that’s a sign he’s out.

About all anyone can say for certain is that, as Bush himself has said, he’s still thinking about it.

“He’s begun the journey. How long it will take him, I don’t know,” said Al Cardenas, a longtime Bush friend and former chairman of the American Conservative Union. “People are interpreting activity to conclude that he’s closer to running. I’m not of that school.

“I hope he runs, but I believe the activity is based on getting serious.”

Bush has said he expects to make a decision by the end of the month.

As the son of one president and brother of another, he has the power to transform the 2016 contest like no other Republican. He can tap into his family’s vast political network, and his campaign would attract strong support from major donors and widespread media attention.

Bush spent much of the recent midterm campaign out of the public eye. But the address at South Carolina will be his fourth high-profile speech in recent weeks. That includes an appearance before corporate executives in Washington, where he called for his party to embrace an immigration overhaul and to focus on governing. He also said would make the call on running for president “not that far out in the future.”

In an interview with ABC’s Miami affiliate WPLG-TV, Bush said he was in the process of writing an e-book about his time as governor and that it would come out in the spring. At about the same time, he will make public about 250,000 emails from his time in office, in an effort to promote transparency and to “let people make up their mind.”

Bush said going through the material has reminded him that “if you run with big ideas and then you’re true to those ideas, and get a chance to serve and implement them and do it with passion and conviction, you can move the needle. … And that’s what we need right now in America,” he said in the interview set to air Sunday.

Slater Bayliss, a longtime Florida-based Bush aide who helps lead a political action committee founded by Bush’s sons, met with strategists in Iowa during a late November trip to his native state.

Former Iowa Republican Party Chairman Chuck Larson was among those who discussed with Bayliss the state’s political trends, policy issues and how the state might react to a Bush campaign.

“If Jeb Bush decides to run for president, I believe he will be incredibly well received by conservatives in Iowa,” Larson said.

Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, like other advisers, said the meetings were unauthorized and unrelated to his decision-making.

She said Bush “has not yet made a decision on whether he will pursue a run in 2016, and has certainly not dispatched anyone to meet with Iowa leaders,” Campbell said.

The same week Bayliss met with Iowa Republicans, Bush was named chairman and manager of a new private equity fund, BH Global Aviation. As first reported by Bloomberg, the offshore fund raised $61 million in September.

Bush’s team described the investment as an expansion of an existing, and previously reported, private business, which he would review should he run. Most recent presidential candidates, including private equity investor Mitt Romney, formally cut ties with their business interests years before running.

Bush “is very proud of his investment work to grow companies,” Campbell said, adding that there is no part of his business interests “that would hinder a run for president if that is the decision he makes.”

There is no shortage of pressure on Bush to get into the race, including from members of his family. His older brother, former President George W. Bush, has encouraged his brother to enter the 2016 contest.

“He knows I want him to run,” Bush told CNN recently. “If I need to reiterate it, I will: ‘Run, Jeb.’ I think he’d be a great president.”

Still, associates say that the family support and a growing public profile should not necessarily be taken as a sign of anything.

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Climate deal eked out in Lima advances talks as diplomats eye global pact next … – Washington Post

By ,

Efforts to forge a comprehensive climate treaty advanced early Sunday as diplomats eked out an agreement that commits all countries to addressing the causes of climate change but leaves many of the particulars unresolved.

Negotiators who gathered in Lima, Peru, announced an accord at 1 :30 a.m., after 11 days of often rancorous talks that ran more than 24 hours into overtime. The agreement builds on recent momentum for a global treaty, to be finalized in Paris late next year. And in a key breakthrough, it requires action from developing countries as well as the industrialized world.

“The road to Paris has begun in Lima,” Felipe Calderón, former president of Mexico and chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, said after the agreement was gaveled through in a large tent packed with weary delegates. “There is still considerable work to be done. But I am encouraged that countries, all around the world, are beginning to see that it is in their economic interest to take action now.”

The gains were modest — the requirements to be borne by individual countries were repeatedly watered down to ensure buy-in from more than 190 countries, ranging from established industrial powers of the West, to rising powerhouses such as China and India, to tiny island states such as Samoa and Nauru.

Under the agreement, each country will have to submit early next year a detailed plan for addressing carbon emissions. But a series of compromises Friday and Saturday stripped away specific requirements for cutting pollution and left no provisions for outside verification to ensure that the plans are carried out. The softened language was denounced by environmental groups as unacceptably weak.

“The foot-dragging in Lima is out of step with the urgent signs of climate change that are already apparent,” said Nathaniel Keohane, vice president for international climate at the Environment Defense Fund.

Western participants in the talks and independent experts said the compromises were necessary to keep the negotiations on track for next year in Paris. They noted that major industrial countries that produce most of the world’s greenhouse gases — including the United States, the nations of the European Union and China — already have committed to substantial curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, cuts that will be probably be incorporated into any pact that is approved in Paris.

The Obama administration promised last month to reduce U.S. emissions by 2025 to a level 26 to 28 percent below where they were in 2005.

“The major virtue of this agreement is that it applies to both developed and developing nations, outlines the commitment terms and keeps everyone at the table,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate adviser. “But the pressure ahead of Paris will be profound because all the thorniest issues have been left unresolved.”

The Lima meeting, which began on Dec. 1, offered an opportunity to settle technical issues underpinning next year’s global agreement, including how costs and obligations will be divided among poorer and wealthier countries. In the past, developing countries, including major emitters such as China and India, were exempted from mandatory cuts in greenhouse-gas pollution.

The talks went into overtime Saturday as delegations clashed over demands by developing countries for compensation from industrialized countries for damage from climate change as well as demands for more financial assistance to pay for a transition to climate-friendly energy sources.

The slow progress prompted U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry to fly to Lima on Thursday to urge negotiators along.

“If we continue down the same path we are on today, the world as we know it will profoundly change, and it will change dramatically for the worse,” Kerry told a gathering of diplomats at the talks, which were sponsored by the United Nations.

Pope Francis also intervened, warning diplomats in a statement that “the time to find global solutions is running out.”

“We can find solutions only if we act together and agree,” the pontiff said in a message sent to environment minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal, the Peruvian official chairing the talks.

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