Gina Haspel, President Trump’s controversial nominee to become the next Director of the CIA, stumbled badly when asked about the morality of torture. Two Democratic Senators asked her whether or not she believed waterboarding and torturing prisoners was moral.
Haspel, who oversaw the waterboarding programs as head of a secret CIA prison in Thailand after 9/11, responded repeatedly with answers focusing on the legality of the acts – which many have noted were not legal. She appeared to disagree.
Waterboarding is considered torture and thus illegal under U.S. and international law.
When Democratic U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked Haspel about the moral aspects of torture, she appeared confused.
“We should hold ourselves to a stricter moral standards, and I would never allow CIA to be involved in coercive interrogations,” she replied when pressed.
“Where was that moral compass at the time?” Heinrich asked, referring to the torture she oversaw after 9/11.
“I know you believe it was legal,” Heinrich responded. “I want to see, I want to feel, I want to trust you have the moral compass that you said you have. You’re giving very legalistic answers to very fundamentally moral questions.”
Haspel, 61, concluded by deferring to her performance evaluations and ended by saying, “My parents raised me right. I know the difference between right and wrong.”
Gina Haspel: “We should hold ourselves to a stricter moral standards, and I would never allow CIA to be involved in coercive interrogations.”
— ABC News (@ABC) May 9, 2018
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LGBTQ Student Says He’s Being Blocked From Running for Class President After Suspension Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Protest
A 17-year-old gay Florida high school student who was suspended after organizing a highly-successful statewide protest against Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law now says school officials are blocking him from running for class president.
Jack Petocz was suspended for four days, he and school administrators say, for handing out several hundred small LGBTQ Pride flags just before the walkout that drew hundreds of his classmates at Flagler Palm Coast High School and thousands of students across the Sunshine State. The walkout he organized was approved by school administrators although reports at the time say barely hours before it began he was told to cancel it. That order allegedly came one day after a school board member who has opposed Petocz in the past toured his school.
Now Petocz wants to run for senior class president.
In a letter he posted to Twitter he says school officials told him there would be no additional disciplinary action against him after his suspension but, he says, one month later they “broke this verbal agreement and placed a level 3 referral on my record. Now, due to this high level of discipline, I am being prevented from running for senior class president. I am continuing to be punished for standing up for my identity and against widespread hatred. I’ve emailed administration and the principal numerous times, they’re simply ignoring me.”
If you want to help me fight, click the link below to send an email to administrators and the superintendent of my district. It’s ridiculous queer kids have to be punished while fighting for our rights. https://t.co/oBOKZDLavb
— Jack Petocz (@Jack_Petocz) May 17, 2022
NBC News reports “school district spokesman Jason Wheeler said Flagler Schools was not permitted to speak about individual students’ disciplinary records. Requirements for individual on-campus clubs or organizations are set by the schools or clubs themselves, he said.”
Literary and human rights organization PEN America is honoring Petocz this month, the Associated Press reported.
“Jack Petocz is leading his generation in fighting back against book bans and legislative efforts to police how individual identities can be discussed in schools,” CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.
Jack Petocz (@Jack_Petocz) is PEN America’s 2022 PEN/Benenson Courage Award recipient. He will receive the award at the PEN America Literary Gala in New York City on May 23. Learn more: https://t.co/eEXpNPqGW3 pic.twitter.com/IJwXSZOaLM
— PEN America (@PENamerica) May 17, 2022
This week he picked up support from U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Florida’s former governor who is running again to be governor.
Leadership is when you stand up when others won’t.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 19, 2022
Donald Trump Took a Direct Role in Developing a Legal Strategy to Overturn Election Loss Says Coup Memo Author Eastman
John Eastman revealed Friday in a court filing that he routinely communicated with Donald Trump either directly or through “six conduits” in the weeks ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The right-wing attorney asked a federal judge to maintain attorney-client privilege over his work for the former president, and the late-night filing gave the clearest view yet of the communications between Trump and the battalion of attorneys and allies helping his effort to remain in power despite losing the election, reported Politico.
The filing shows Trump took a direct role in those efforts, describing “two hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation,” which Eastman is looking to shield, and the attorney also said he spoke directly to the former president about legal challenges in states he lost.
Eastman wants to prevent the House select committee from obtaining 600 emails related to his so-called “coup memo,” which sought to enlist Mike Pence and GOP-led state legislatures to overturn the 2020 election outcome, and he also asked U.S. District Court Judge David Carter of California to shield his contacts with state legislators to discuss appointing pro-Trump electors in state Joe Biden had won.
The filing does not identify the White House officials and attorneys he communicated with during that period, but some of those attorneys — including Kurt Olsen and Bruce Marks — filed declarations supporting Eastman’s claims about his work for Trump.
Eastman also reveals that he exchanged a dozen emails with Fox News host Mark Levin, whom he doesn’t identify by name but whom he describes as “an individual who, in addition to his role as a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board Chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.”
Matt Gaetz Thinks Families Using Gov’t. Assistance to Buy Baby Formula Should Take a Back Seat to ‘Hard-Working’ Americans
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said this week babies born into low-income families should not have the same access to food as those born into wealth – or even moderate means – and voted against a bill because, he suggested, it would help them take food away from their more affluent peers.
The Republican Party for weeks has been falsely hammering the Biden administration and Democrats in general about the very real baby formula shortage, baselessly trying to pin the blame on the President and his officials. But when the Democrats put two bills on the House to help ease the crisis, many Republicans refused to vote to help families.
More than half the baby formula sold in the U.S. is purchased through government assistance programs like WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
Congressman Gaetz says those families accessing government assistance should take a back seat to “hard-working” Americans when it comes to buying baby formula. Equating wealth with being hard-working is a fallacy, as is saying those who are low-income do not work hard.
WIC narrows and controls the amount of baby formula that families using it can buy, but it also specifies the brands and even stores they can use.
H.R.7791, the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022, would temporarily reduce those constraints.
Gaetz opposes making baby formula more accessible to people because they are poor, or, as he suggests, not “hard-working.”
“H.R. 7791 would make baby formula shortages worse for most Americans,” the Florida Republican Congressman tweeted. “It will allow WIC to utilize a far greater portion of the baby formula market, crowding out many hard-working American families.”
Gaetz was one of nine Republicans to vote against the bill. It passed the House, and even Republicans in the Senate saw it as so non-controversial that they allowed it to pass by unanimous consent, meaning they didn’t require a vote on the bill. It will now head to President Biden to become law.
Gaetz was blasted on social media. A few responses:
Many military families receive WIC checks. I’m in his district and it is heavily military. Huge bases. Don’t let this slip by. He knows this too. Do NOT let him off the hook on this one.
— kim schade (@Gatorpharmer_ks) May 19, 2022
Define “hard working”. A lot of us took WIC benefits back when I was a young active-duty airman in the USAF many years ago. I feel like we worked pretty hard. We didn’t all grow up with a daddy who could get us out of multiple DUIs.
— Kevin Slane (@KSlane74) May 19, 2022
So only parents with money should be able to buy formula and feed their children? That actually tracks for you guys.
— 🌻🌻 CSpencer 🌻🌻 (@CrisSpencer13) May 19, 2022
This is true. I worked two jobs as a single mom and without WIC, there is no way I could have afforded formula. It was, and I’m sure still is, incredibly high.
— Misty Maroon (@MistyCloud72) May 19, 2022
So poor babies aren’t entitled to food?
— Ann Marie Peterson (@AMLPeterson) May 19, 2022
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