Trump Will Nominate ‘Torture Memo’ Lawyer To Transportation Post

WASHINGTON ? President Donald Trump will nominate a former George W. Bush administration official who authored legal memos authorizing interrogation techniques widely regarded as torture for a job in the Trump administration.

Steven G. Bradbury, the former acting head of the Justice Department?s Office of Legal Counsel, will be nominated general counsel to the Transportation Department, the White House said Monday night. He?s now a private lawyer at the Dechert LLP firm in Washington, specializing in regulatory enforcement, rulemaking and judicial review of agency actions, according to the White House. (He recently represented Verizon, which owns AOL, HuffPost?s parent company, before the Federal Communications Commission.)

?He has extensive experience with automotive safety and airline competition issues, including before the Department of Transportation,? the White House said in its announcement.

Bradbury, along with John Yoo and Jay Bybee, were the key authors of documents that came to be known as the ?torture memos? ? legal opinions that approved the use of so-called ?enhanced interrogation techniques.? 

Bradbury was coy about his job prospects in the Trump administration in March, when spotted at the White House. 

?I?m not able to confirm that I?m talking to the administration about anything,? Bradbury told HuffPost at the time. ?I?m not really in a position to comment about anything related to a position with the administration.?

Bradbury wrote four memos related to the CIA interrogation program. One memo he authored on May 10, 2005, authorized the use of 13 different techniques against high-value detainees: dietary manipulation, nudity, attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap or insult slap, abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, water dousing, sleep deprivation of more than 48 hours and waterboarding. 

Bradbury?s memo concluded that waterboarding did not cause ?severe physical suffering? because it would only be allowed for 40 seconds, and that any distress ?would not be expected to have the duration required to amount to severe physical suffering.? The ?panic brought on by the waterboard during the very limited time it is actually administered, combined with any residual fear that may be experienced over a somewhat longer period, could not be said to amount to the ?prolonged mental harm,?? he wrote.

A later review by the Justice Department?s ethics office found ?serious concerns? about some of Bradbury?s analysis, although the attorneys in the Office of Professional Responsibility did not conclude that the ?failings rose to the level of professional misconduct.?

Attorneys said there were indications that Bradbury?s memos ?were written with the goal of allowing the ongoing CIA program to continue? and reflected ?uncritical acceptance of the CIA?s representations regarding the method of implantation? of certain methods.

From the OPR report:

For example, in concluding that prolonged sleep deprivation, which involves shackling and diapering detainees, did not constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, Bradbury noted that the CIA asserted that the use of diapers was necessary because releasing detainees from shackles to relieve themselves ?would present a security problem and would interfere with the effectiveness of the technique? and that ?diapers are used solely for sanitary and health reasons and not in order to humiliate the detainee.?… However, the CIA?s 2002 list of proposed [enhanced interrogation techniques] described diapering as a separate [enhanced interrogation techniques], in which the detainee ?is forced to wear adult diapers and is denied access to toilet facilities for an extended period, in order to humiliate him.?

In one memo, Bradbury wrote approvingly of the diaper practice as long as the diaper ?is checked regularly and changed as necessary.?

Bradbury admitted he didn?t attempt to verify the information he was given about the effectiveness of ?enhanced interrogation technics,? saying it was ?not my role, really, to do a factual investigation of that.?

The ethics attorneys in OPR were not as critical of Bradbury as they were of the other torture memo authors, saying Bradbury qualified his conclusions, circulated drafts widely, and wrote his memos in a ?careful, thorough, lawyerly manner.? But they also said he should have ?cast a more critical eye? in his work.

?Mr. Bradbury fought the law, and the law won,? said Faiz Shakir, national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ?The torture regime he helped put in place has been a stain on our nation?s legal, moral, and ethical credibility. He shouldn?t be allowed near a government office for the rest of his life.?

Trump recently said he ?absolutely? believes waterboarding works. 

?When ISIS is doing things that no one has ever heard of, since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?? Trump said. ?As far as I?m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.?

During the campaign, he said the U.S. would have to do ?unthinkable? things in battling ISIS. ?When you look at what?s happening to us, when you look at what?s going on in this country and throughout the world and we don?t want, you know they?re allowed to cut off heads and they?re allowed to chop off heads, and we can?t waterboard,? Trump said.

Yoo is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and Bybee is a federal judge. 

S.V. Date contributed to this report.

 

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60 Unusual Baby Names Parents Gave Their Newborns In 2016

On May 12, the Social Security Administration released the official list of the most popular baby names of 2016 ? along with data showing all the names given to five or more infants born that year. 

The top names weren?t surprising, as Emma, Noah, Liam and Olivia continued to dominate. But there were some interesting choices at the bottom.

Examining the broader data, we looked at the names given to only five babies in 2016 and noticed some interesting choices ? from literary references to band names to adjectives in the English language.

Here are TK unusual names that appeared on just five American babies? birth certificates last year.

Boys

Wilco

Siegfried

Crusoe

Pippin

Berlin

Corny

Carbon

Salinger

Cheney

Drago

Yeltsin

Harvard

Algernon

Bravo

Mowgli

Neeson

Maui

Frost

Shady

Vegas

Paisley

Armor

Mercury

Goliath

Treasure

Marx

Infinity

Buchanan

Dionysus

Galaxy

 

Girls

Pennylane

Myrtle

Palin

Julep

Maryland

Sincerity

Alchemy

Flower

Brightly

Madge

Malibu

Petal

Rowdy

Earth

Pristine

Rhodes

Gift

Starling

Adorable 

Flourish

Whisper

Solstice

Bathsheba

Aviary

Bambi

Merely

Bleu

Versailles

Reality

Cameo

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Elizabeth Warren Might Get Her Very Own Action Figure

Calling all Elizabeth Warren fans: the Massachusetts state Senator could soon have her very own action figure and it looks pretty damn awesome. 

A Kickstarter campaign to fund an Elizabeth Warren action figure went live Tuesday afternoon featuring a six-inch Warren in a black and red pantsuit. The Kickstarter campaign has to raise $15,000 in order for the Warren action figure to go into production. 

The Kickstarter was created by the Brooklyn-based company FCTRY, which has funded and created other political action figures such as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Jason Feinberg, the CEO and Creative Director of FCTRY, told HuffPost they chose Warren as their next action figure because she is by far ?the most exciting character? to work on right now.

?The moment Mitch McConnell spoke the words, ?Nevertheless, she persisted,? we knew Liz had to be our next figure,? Feinberg told HuffPost. ?Elizabeth Warren is a relentless fighter and it reinvigorated us to see her go toe-to-toe with the Republicans at a time when we personally were still shell-shocked.?

Feinberg said his company was shocked when Trump won the U.S. presidency on Election Day. ?Going into making [Trump?s action figure], we thought it was going to be a harmless, short-term joke,? he said. ?Like everyone else, we got thrown for a loop on Election Day and it left us selling Trumps when we were supposed to be selling Hillaries, which was just a huge bummer.?

Most of the profit from FCTRY?s political action figures are donated to the ACLU or other progressive organizations. Feinberg said Warren?s action figure will be no different: All proceeds from Warren?s political action figure will go to Emily?s List, a non-profit with  mission is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. 

?We heard a number of stories around Election Day about what our Action Figures meant to young kids, especially young girls,? Feinberg added. ?We don?t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we?re hoping that seeing Warren, Obama, Hillary, and Bernie as accessible toy heroes will inspire kids during a time that must be awfully confusing for them.?

Scroll below to see a few pictures of Warren?s badass action figure.  

Head over to FCTRY?s Kickstarter to read more about their Elizabeth Warren action figure. 

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Jeffrey Lord Blames Ariana Grande For Manchester Attack

Professional troll Jeffrey Lord proved that he?ll stop at no lengths to defend Donald Trump, blaming Ariana Grande for the Manchester attack while attempting to explain the president?s recent digs at London?s mayor.

After Trump mocked London Mayor Sadiq Khan?s response to Saturday?s deadly terror attack as ?pathetic,? Lord told CNN?s Anderson Cooper that Khan was partly to blame for ?not taking care of the terrorism.? Cooper then asked Lord, ?what if [Trump] had tweeted against Ariana Grande for not providing enough security at her venue? Would that be fair too??

?Sure,? Lord responded. ?What you?re trying to illustrate is there is a serious problem here and we have collectively in this world not taken this serious enough and people are getting killed.?

Grande had been performing at a concert hall in Manchester, U.K. last month when a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including parents and children.

Later Cooper said, ?if the British prime minister had gone after the mayor of Orlando in the wake of Orlando killings, you would have been fine with it??

Lord responded, ?Sure.?

?If the PM of Pakistan had attacked Rudy Giuliani for not providing safety for the people of New York City, that would be fine with you?,? Cooper shot back. ?You think Rudy Giuliani is to blame??

?Yes,? Lord said. ?The buck stops here, as Harry Truman said.? 

Giuliani has received scrutiny for years for mistakes made when he was mayor in the lead-up to 9/11, including putting the city?s emergency command center in WTC7, a site that had been considered vulnerable to terrorism. The late investigative journalist Wayne Barrett even wrote a book about it. But it?s unclear what role Grande would have played in managing the security situation for her concert: The venue, not the artist, typically decides how much and what kind of security to provide.

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REM Sleep Cells Linked To Brain Disorders

Where do dreams come from? Researchers now say they know: A specific group of cells in the brain stem is responsible for controlling dreaming sleep, also called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, a new study says.

The study also showed that damage to those cells could lead to a sleeping disorder called REM Behavior Disorder (RBD), which makes a person act out violent dreams.

The findings have far broader implications than pinpointing the neurological source of dreams, though, said the study?s principal investigator, John Peever, a professor of cell and systems biology at the University of Toronto. Because previous studies have shown that 80 percent of people with RBD develop incurable brain diseases, the new research could give drug companies a specific group of cells to target for therapies that slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. [7 Mind-Bending Facts About Dreams]

?For some reason, the cells in the REM sleep area are the first to be sickened, and then the neurodegenerative disease spreads up into the brain and affects the other areas that cause disorders like Parkinson?s disease,? Peever told Live Science.

Peever presented his team?s results May 29 at the 2017 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting in Montreal. The findings have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

During a healthy night?s sleep, a person cycles through light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep several times. During REM sleep, the neurons in the brain stem send signals to the brain?s cerebral cortex ? perhaps drawing the details for the dream from the parts of the brain responsible for learning, thinking and moving ? as well as to the body?s spinal cord, to prevent muscles from moving, Peever said.

During healthy REM sleep, most people do not move around much, although some do twitch or talk. And although some people are known to walk in their sleep, sleepwalking is not a part of REM sleep, but a part of the deep-sleep cycle, when dreaming doesn?t occur.

In contrast, people who have RBD frequently have violent dreams and act them out during their REM sleep, injuring themselves and anyone who might be sleeping next them. 

The disorder was first described by Dr. Mark Mahowald and Dr. Carlos Schenck, of the University of Minnesota. In their book, ?In Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine,? published in 1985, the two doctors presented case histories of people with the disorder, including a 77-year-old minister, who behaved violently in his sleep, sometimes injuring his wife; a 60-year-old surgeon, who reported the feeling of being attacked, and who would jump out of bed during nightmares; and a 57-year old retired school principal, who mistakenly punched and kicked his wife while having nightmares.

Peever said that studies done since then have showed that the vast majority of people who have RBD develop one of three progressive brain diseases. One is Parkinson?s disease, which is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that afflicts the motor system. The second is dementia with Lewy bodies, which causes forgetfulness, fluctuations in alertness, visual hallucinations and trouble walking. The third is a disorder called multiple system atrophy, which affects the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary movement as well as involuntary movements, including blood pressure and digestion.

?REM Behavior Disorder is in fact the best-known predictor of the onset of Parkinson?s disease,? Peever said. [5 Surprising Sleep Discoveries]

The brain diseases like Parkinson?s and dementia with Lewy bodies typically occur six to 15 years after a RBD diagnosis.

Until now, the link between RBD and these neurological diseases has been anecdotal, though, Peever said. Researchers who studied the brains of cadavers from people who suffered from both RBD and a brain disease found damage to the neurons in the brain stem. But that didn?t mean the damage had caused RBD.

?There was a correlation, but no causality,? Peever said. ?What our study has done is taken away the correlation and show causality.?

In the new study, Peever and his colleagues first identified which cells were responsible for healthy REM sleep. They used mice with cells in the brain stem that had been genetically modified to be sensitive to light. When they shined a light onto these cells, it activated the REM sleep in the mice. When they deactivated those cells, the mice did not have REM sleep.

Once the researchers had the cluster of neurons pinpointed, they used a genetically engineered virus to deliver a disease-causing protein ? the same one that causes Parkinson?s disease ? into the REM-generating brain cells. The protein caused the cells to become sick and the mice started to exhibit behaviors indicative of people with REM Behavior Disorder, moving around much more during REM sleep.

?We?re saying REM sleep cells get sick, and then you develop REM sleep behavior disorder,? Peever said.

The long-term strategy of this research is to develop a drug therapy that could treat patients who have been diagnosed with RBD. Such a therapy would likely not cure the patient of RBD, since the brain cells that cause that disorder would have already been damaged, but it could prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the brain, Peever said.

?You may have RBD, which is still unfortunate, but you won?t develop one of those other brain disorders, which are far more disabling,? he said.

Originally published on Live Science.

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