Torture Lawyer Berenson Fights The Power

Wuzzadem (good riddance to bad rubbish) is making a big deal over a recent exchange between Bob Woodward and Bradford Berenson, a former associate counsel to the president.


Basically, Woodward calls Berenson on the Bush Administration’s notorious, creepy secrecy about its decision-making process. Berenson replies by saying that it’s no different from what the media does when it uses unnamed sources, also dropping Richard Armitage’s name for the zing-factor.

Then Wuzzadem goes, “BWAHAHA! Pwn3d!” Then one of Pasty’s dogsbodies goes, “Woodward got his nads kicked in!” And on and on.

Listen, morons. The difference is that you can turn off the evening news. You can’t turn off your taxes.

Gavin adds: Head-‘splodey time for Wuzzadem:
Above: Party at Berenson’s pad, Harvard, 1990


Comments: 37


Its amazing they haven’t been grifted out their homes.


Ah, Harvey Gannt, an honourable man who lost to a piece of shit. Let’s hope he gets the chance to piss on Jesse Helms’ grave.


Hmm, what’s Bradford been up to lately? According to the bio at his law firm he’s represented a developer in a Clean Water Act lawsuit; defended pharmaceutical companies against health care fraud claims; defended a senior Enron executive; and, represented a bunch of other corrupt government officials and sleazy businesspeople. Nothing you wouldn’t expect based on his time at the White House.

But hey, everyone’s entitled to a defense, presumed innocent, blah, blah, blah. Oh, wait – that’s what I believe! Bradford thinks that people detained by our government shouldn’t “get to see lawyers who would tell them to stop talking to us and the like.” And tortured, of course.

Episode Kazillion in The Annals of Conservative Douchery.


The difference, to put it in words that might be more readily understood, is that the government is supposed to represent me and I pay for them to do that. My participation in their decision-making, to the greatest extent that I can participate, is essential to me making informed decisions the next time I go to vote. In a republic such as we have, the people need to have the maximum amount of information in order to make informed decisions. Furthermore, as I said, the people pay the freight, so we ought to be able to inspect the cargo. In fact, that is precisely what the law has always been regarding governmental decisions. Only items that genuinely require secrecy can be kept secret. Another aspect of this is that the greater the secrecy displayed by the government, the less trustful the people are of government. Distrust is bad for any government and any people.


… one of Pasty’s dogsbodies …

Aside from being an apt and unique description of ‘Mr. Collins’ (“and his ilk”)
it’s also fun to try to say it ‘three times fast.’

Do you think it would be fair to refer to Goldstein’s sycophants as “c – whipped?”


The difference is that the government has tanks, missiles, guns, planes, facilities for incarceration, and such. The news media does not.

If the people in charge of the government decide to ruin my life, they have the power to violate my rights, storm my house, take my children, throw me in jail, and drag my husband off to join the army.

If the people in charge of the news media decide to ruin my life, they can camp outside my house and tell nasty stories about me.

Can we see the difference in degree there, kids?


Can we see the difference in degree there, kids?


This has been another in a series of simple answers to stupid questions.

…And maybe if I do my part, Atrios’s schtick will die from overuse long before its time…tho’ I hope not.


Well sometimes the media can lead the country into war. Or at least, you know, lend a handjob…


Postscripto, Mr. Goto:

Not such a simple answer: Is that “no” predicated on idiocy, willful dishonesty, or just all-around douchery? Inquiring non-wingnuts want to know, as we are so addicted to nuance here…




The other difference is that, while a media story may keep a name confidential, a respectable media source has other people checking into the validity of the source and whatever he/she claims. They may not always do a good job of it (or even do it), but ideally, that’s what happens.

In Bush’s case, they have turned off the fact checking. WMD is the perfect example. They promoted intelligence that supported their views, regardless of whether it had been vetted. The implications for that are far more dangerous than the press’ use of anonymous sources.


To add to the pile, how many of media’s unnamed sources are in the government, trying to either preserve or evade Bushco information blocks?


I heard somewhere that the press doesn’t “use anonymous sources” so much as anonymous sources use them. But that couldn’t be true.


The reason that you protect your need to keep the “how” and “why” and invite us just to read the story is because that it facilitates your ability to report and thereby protects the public interest…

In exactly the same way that the president keeping those kind of consultations confidential protects his ability to govern and thereby protects the public interest, as well.

heh. indeed. I mean, huh? wuh? Is he saying that if a secret presidential advisor’s identity were known, that advisor would suffer recriminations for his actions? Well, sure, if there’s a God in heaven they’ll eventuall all get what’s coming to them… but I don’t think that was what he meant.

Of course this is simple to put to the test, count the number of times Bob Woodward has lied to the American Public versus the number of times George Bush has lied. Now count the number of times each lie has resulted in some human suffering. That some analogy you got there.


Breaking News!

W00T W00T W00T!!!!!!!1!!!!

Must credit Gerrit D.

Real Journalist do real journalism on Hurriyah mosques.
AP confirms damage at three of four mosques, including burn damage at two.

AP to Malkin: “Suck it”.,,-6384327,00.html

Smiling Mortician

Nice catch, Gerrit. But you should be prepared for the Kevins of the world to throw themselves into a rousing chorus of “teh librul Guardian and its homoislamist agenda.”

And Brando? I think you’re being a bit too generous: They promoted intelligence that supported their views, regardless of whether it had been vetted. They vetted it, all right. They knew it was bogus and used it anyway. Downing Street Memo, anyone?


The use of anonymous sources, while a mostly dubious practice, was created to aid in the public’s right to know. In a perfect Bushian way, they turn that on its head, rape it, then say it was asking for it — all in the interests of the public NOT to know.

I hate these fuckers.

In a related matter Gerrit D. has a good link.


I unequivocally support the use of “anonymous sources.”


Yikes, I clicked on the Guardian link and the sidebar had the extremely unwelcome news that Molly Ivins has died of cancer at age 62. She was a heckuva woman.


Ok. Bob Woodward, Bradford Berenson, a great big german sheppard and an anonymous source walk into a bar. Woodward orders bourbon. Benenson orders a beer. The german sheppard asks if they serve food, and the anonymous source says he can only order off the record. The bartender pours the bourbon. While he is pulling the beer he tells the dog yes, they have food. The dog orders a naked Iraqi detainee on a bun. The bartender brings over Berenson’s beer and flings it down on the bar. The glass shatters and beer sprays all over everyone. Berenson splutters “you destroyed my beer!”. The bartender, who turns out to be confederate yankee, patiently explains that the beer is perfectly good, right there on the bar – and the floor, and the suits. The anonymous source shoots the dog…

Thats how it goes, right?



Requiem aeternam dona eis
et lux perpetua luceat eis


Oh, and Bradrocket? Give us the view from ground zero as Boston struggles back to normalcy after the viscious coordinated terror attacks by al Qartoon…



Oh, Aquagirl, I knew she was sick again, but was hoping for the best. We can ill afford to lose wonderful voices like Molly’s. So sad.


Molly Ivins was one spunky gal.


Oh, and Bradrocket? Give us the view from ground zero as Boston struggles back to normalcy after the viscious coordinated terror attacks by al Qartoon…

I clearly spend too much time in the lab. I had absolutely no idea that any of this was going on today. Cambridge is just so isolated. Or something…

Very sad about Molly Ivins.


Or, Mikey, even better… based on this website, I’ve been walking by one of those a couple of times a day for as long as they’ve been up. Funny.

I couldn’t even sense the danger…

Smiling Mortician

Y’know, I don’t often feel much when a public figure dies, or when anyone I don’t know personally dies, for that matter. Molly Ivins was a sheer pleasure to read and I always felt like I’d have a hell of a good time sharing a conversation over a meal or a drink (preferably both) with her.

Sixty-two. Shit.


Molly deserves a better thread. No offense or anything. Just saying. The woman was an inspiration- vicious, funny, sane. She gave Texas a good name. And how easy is that?


Molly Ivins is the perfect exemplar for that tired old proverb “The good die young”. If she had lived to be older than Strom Thurmond, it would not have been long enough — and losing her wit and probity at only 62 is just kinda the cherry on the bad news sundae.

And now we’ll never get to know what she would have made of the City of Boston spending three-quarters of a million dollars (according to the local 6pm news) to search out and destroy the grave terrorist threat of TBS’s latest Adult Swim promotion devices. One hysteria-primed passerby notices an unauthorized LCD — wires & batteries & lights & a vulgar gesture*!!! — and every cop, firefighter, paramedic & of course talking head in eastern Massachusetts spends their day hunting down the latest examples of viral advertising. Truly, we are all in Pants-Pisher Nation now. Wonder how many swiped Ads’O’Death will be posted on eBay by tomorrow morning?

*which was duly blurred on the local news but not on the NBC national edition. Because flipping the bird is just how Osama will announce his next attack on America soil?


I heard the first 911 call on the “suspicious devices” in Boston came from Ace.


I for one think The Suspicious Packages would be a fabulous name for a drag-king punk band.


Wuzz pussied out. I got to post a few semi-clean retorts to his inanity, then he banned me so he could get the ‘last word in’. Chickenshit. Anyone else, feel free to post this on that thread.

Here’s what he wouldn’t let me post, his remarks are in italics:

I tell you that’s not our position and you start talking about the administration’s position. Give me a break.

What the hell are you talking about? The title of the C-Span piece is “American Perspectives: Government and Secrecy”. You approvingly note that Berenson ‘rebuffed’ Woodward by saying the government’s need for secrecy is the same as Woodward’s need for anonymous sources. I would assume that, because you seem to agree with it, thereby making it your position.

To counter that argument, you write: Where exactly do you see anyone saying the President should be exempt from public oversight?

Well, Berenson for one, who said, that eventually the public will get to know who the Executive Branch met with and what they talked about, but not until ‘the short-term politics’ are out of the way. That’s one the most anti-democratic arguments I’ve ever heard an American make (short-term politics being what’s generally known as ‘debate’ over the known facts — and yes, it’s VERY important to know the facts in real time when making the debate.). In fact, he clarifies his pro-secrecy stance by essentially saying to Woodward that journalists get to keep their sources secret, why can’t we? That’s what you admire about this whole thing.

As a balance against this unchecked Executive power, you write:

Yes, as a taxpayer you have the right to ask “WTF” your president is up to, but the final decision about what you get to see is up to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government you pay for. If you don’t like the answer, you can do something about it.

But that’s ridiculous on its face. I point out many instances where Congress and the Courts (the Legislative and Judicial branches, in case you need a primer, champ) HAVE been rebuffed by the Executive branch (rendering us taxpayers who’d like to know what the hell is going on shit out of luck) — you, naturally, ignore Public Citzen’s documentation (mocking instead the name of its site), then say it’s not your position.

What the hell IS your position? Berenson, as a former counsel to the Executive Branch, has repeatedly argued that the Executive Branch should be allowed extraordinary exemption from any oversight (just like journalists — this is the argument he’s explicitly making and one that you think he crushed Woodward with), as contained in your pull quote: In exactly the same way that the president keeping those kind of consultations confidential protects his ability to govern and thereby protects the public interest, as well.

He’s saying that the Presidental secrecy protects the public interest — and you call ME illiterate?

You then end with this: NO ONE should automatically trust the government. We have checks and balances because power does indeed corrupt, and that’s true no matter which party is in power, or at least in the majority.

Which I agree with. But because the Bush Administration has actively snubbed these checks and balances repeatedly, which they expressly find to be a hindrance on the Executive Branch’s power (this is a statement the ADMINISTRATION would agree with), I have NO IDEA what you believe because it’s turned into intellectual mush on a single thread.


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