Torture

Top LGBT Magazine Invokes 'HerStory' Covering Gina Haspel's Swearing In and Gets Smacked Down

Many aren't willing to ignore her ties to torture just because of her sex.

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Gina Haspel was formally sworn in yesterday afternoon as the first female director of the CIA. The identity-laden cultural dynamic of "First Woman to Ever X" was severely undercut by Haspel's troubled history with and relationship to the CIA's torture of suspected terrorists during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the subsequent destruction of evidence.

It's awful that anybody involved in the CIA's torture tactics in any way ended up in charge, but it's sadly not surprising that President Donald Trump would embrace her (remember, Trump is pro-torture), and it's also not surprising that the Senate would fall in line behind an "establishment-approved" candidate. I'm glad we had at least another public debate about torture tactics before the vote and swearing in.

Most media coverage attempted to acknowledge that she's the first female director while not ignoring the controversy. But then there was the Advocate, once the most prominent national magazine serving the LGBT community, blithely going all in on the "YAAAASSSS! SLAY KWEEN!" approach to Haspel's swearing in. Here's what the publication tweeted out:

It gets weirder. The post at the Advocate is tagged "women" not "politics." It contains a short video obviously meant to be shared on social media with images of Haspel and some straightforward text, set to a disco beat for some baffling reason. It vaguely refers to the torture controversy as her "involvement" with the "detention system" used by the CIA under President George W. Bush. And that's it.

Gina Haspel
Mark Wilson/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Even weirder, the attached "story" consists of just three sentences. And it's only the last one that matters: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wis.), who is an out lesbian, voted against Haspel's nomination. Baldwin said she was troubled that Haspel would not say that the tactics the CIA used to try to extract information from detainees were immoral and agreed with Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.) that this was disqualifying behavior.

As a matter of fact, other than this one-sentence mention, there's no coverage of Baldwin's opposition to Haspel's nomination to be found at the Advocate. So the LGBT site weirdly downplayed the opposition of a lesbian senator in order to push the narrative of the history-making female leader.

There was a very interesting reaction that should be heartening for folks who worry that tribal identity is taking the place of principles and ethics. People who follow the Advocate on Twitter are absolutely repulsed by the tweet and the superficial manner in which the magazine covered Haspel's swearing in:

For the benefit of non-Twitter users (how I envy you!), there's a concept of the "ratio": If people are replying to your tweet in very high numbers, but they aren't clicking "like" or retweeting your tweet, that probably means they're mocking you and think your tweet is stupid or offensive.

As I blog this, the tweet from the Advocate has more than 900 tweeted responses, but only 42 retweets (one of which was me) and 95 "likes." Folks were not happy with the Advocate.

It's worth recognizing that sometimes the cultural conflict of "principles over principals"—where the identities or affiliations of a person are deemed more important than ethical or moral interests—is reflected more in media coverage than by the actions of a community itself.

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  1. set to a disco beat for some baffling reason

    It’s the Advocate.

  2. Would it be intolerantly sexist of me to refer to Twitter as Twat-her?

    1. If you’re a white cis-hetero male shitlord, you’re already intolerantly sexist, so who cares.

    2. The twits are the guys, the twats are the chicks

      1. And what then is a tweedle beetle battle?

    3. Not if you’re Rimmer or Lister.

  3. She and Schlossberg can be Homecoming King & Queen at the Pansies.

  4. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m disappointed in The Advocate. They should know “historic firsts” are only worth celebrating when the person in question is on the correct side politically.

    Oh well. Enjoy this minor victory, deplorables. The real glass ceiling will be shattered in 2020 when either Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Elizabeth Warren is elected the first woman President.

    1. Hillary will rerun in 2020 and win. And I’m sickened to see your lack of faith.

      1. I would like nothing more than the chance to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2020 like I did in 2016. However, my understanding is she won’t run again. Whatever she decides to do, I’m #StillWithHer.

        1. So, OBL is a huge NeoCon Warhawk? Like his idol Hillary?

          1. Straight Fascist, methinks

      2. Sorry, but Hillary is the master of the choke job.

        IF (very big if) she can get nominated by a Democratic Party that has lunched even more leftward since 2016, she will find a way to screw the pooch again in the general election.

        That is the only thing I have confidence in her being able to do consistently – lose.

      3. Hillary will rerun in 2020 and win. And I’m sickened to see your lack of faithI find your lack of faith disturbing.

    2. Dude, you are just doing “Democratic partisan” now. Time to pack it in and try something else.

    3. They should know “historic firsts” are only worth celebrating when the person in question is on the correct side politically.

      Aside from her support of torturing human beings not charged with a crime and held indefinitely, the empty identity fetish craze rings more hollow by the day.

    4. Pretty sure it’s gonna be Stormy Daniels.

        1. There are pills for that. Or so I hear.

  5. Meh, if Hillary had become the first US president then it would be similar. Pretty much anyone who becomes president or CIA director is an unethical shitbag whether it’s just another man or the first woman in the position.

    1. And many of the same people who are grandstanding and voting against her voted to confirm John Brennen to the position even though Brennen bears much more responsibility for the torture policy such as it was than she ever did. Yet, Brennen gets a pass and she doesn’t. Sounds like sexism to me.

    2. This one is OUR shitbag!?

      1. No. . .there is another. . .Lietalker.

  6. Wonder though if it is “principles over principals” or whether it is the fact she was nominated by the most hated principal of the left. Just like how Libya invasion was ok because of Obama but Iraq was bad because of Bush.

    Call me when they criticize one of their own, namely because I was all for Obama’s foreign policy when he was against toppling dictators as a candidate but was extremely pissed when the left gave him a pass for this and the spying program (other things as well but the reason I voted for him was because I couldn’t vote for Bomb Um All McCain).

    1. Too many people forget the stark difference between Candidate Obama and President Obama. Including the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

      1. One was an empty suit to fill with constituents’ hopes, the other was an unexceptional dude with lots of shitty ideas.

        1. Seems about right 🙂

    2. You can tell by how many of these same people treat John Brennan, who to all appearances had more to do with the enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) policy than Hasper did. The fact that he is not similarly condemned tells you everything.

      Remember, if someone is Republican, conservative, or actually believes in libertarian principles, they cannot be part of a identity tribe, i.e., woman, black, or what have you. That privilege is for Democrats, and socialists/progressives only.

      1. Demoncraps, socialist/progressives, communists – same, same.

  7. Well, the BDSM community should be happy about it.

    1. That’s probably unfair to the BDSM community.

      Gina Haspel was working without a safe word.

      1. I am sure that Haspel had a safe word.

    2. Black sites do not conform to Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

      1. Don’t you mean African American sites?

        1. Dude, I believe the preferred nomenclature is ‘people of color sites’.

        2. I’d go with “Muthafuckin’ sites”.

  8. Is she the first female to oversee torture as a matter of official U.S. policy?

    1. Well, if people really want gender equality, women are going to have to get a lot more violent and nasty. Over 90% of violent criminals are men. As are most of the people who volunteer to kill, torture and destroy for the government. And people who do dangerous jobs in general. But for some reason you never hear much about that from the equality of outcome people.

  9. “First Woman to Ever X” was severely undercut

    It would be nice if that worked in every case.

    1. The whole “first woman to ever” exercise seems insensitive, too.

      Is Caitlyn Jenner now the first woman to win the Decathlon at the Olympics?

      If not, why not?

      What makes sex so much more important than gender, and how do we know who the first of any gender was to . . . whatever?

      There may have been other gender females to head the CIA. The truth is we don’t know.

      What was going on with J. Edgar Hoover? What gender was he? Was he the first female head of the FBI? Would he have opted for surgery if he could? Should we hold it against him just because that choice wasn’t available?

      First female ever to . . .

      They don’t know. They’re just a bunch of homophobes!

      1. If not, why not?

        Given my understanding of the complex world of TransGender Politics, no. Because at the time Jenner won those events, she was a man, full stop. Jenner became a woman when he announced to the press, “I’m a woman.”

        What was going on with J. Edgar Hoover? What gender was he?

        Male, there was never any evidence Hoover “dressed as a woman” despite the comical pop culture references. It is extremely likely, however, that he was homosexual.

        1. I am waiting for the day when a male college basketball player decides that the WNBA is at least a living playing basketball, declares himself a woman and sues under the California transgender law. I don’t see how he would not win. And understand that even an average Division I men’s player would be Wilt Chamberlain level dominant in the WNBA. It would destroy their entire league. Watching Progs puzzle over the choice of ending women’s sports or admitting transgenderism is bullshit will be quite entertaining.

          1. I’m a little astounded that a lower-level NFL draft pick hasn’t done so already. Pretty much any college-level receiver or defensive back that didn’t want to get his head pounded in for half a decade and walk away with a so-so pot of money could dominate the WNBA.

            Refuse to stand for the national anthem and xhe would be a fucking rock star. Make Dennis Rodman look like a chump.

          2. As far as I can tell, they think that no one would possibly have an interest in abusing that status, therefore they are not undermining women’s sports.

            Then there are some who refuse to admit that there are meaningful physiological differences between men and women that have effects on performance and don’t care if they destroy women’s sports. Those are the people who threw a fit when it was suggested Serena Williams would not rank in the Men’s Tennis division.

            1. Serena Williams would be destroyed by ranked men. It would be a slaughter.

        2. Given my understanding of the complex world of TransGender Politics, no. Because at the time Jenner won those events, she was a man, full stop. Jenner became a woman when he announced to the press, “I’m a woman.”

          I believe there is some significant difference of opinion on that. The various trans advocacy factions seem to have a lot of disagreements and inconsistencies.

          1. You’ll get no argument from me about inconsistencies in the political wing of the so-called Trans Politics movement.

            1. The funniest part to me is the contrast of “you can be whatever gender you want, even different ones throughout the day” and “trans people are really and permanently one gender and you can’t change that”. It’s funny because the latter is really contrary to the whole social construction view of gender. Yet social constructionism seems to remain quite popular among trans activists.

              1. That is because the whole thing is nonsense Zeb. If you believe trans people are born that way, okay where is the evidence of that? Moreover, what does that even mean? It seems to embrace a radical form of duality whereby people really are souls put in the wrong body.

                The social construct theory is even more bizarre. It is saying that our bodies and our hormones mean nothing and we are whatever we decide we are. If that is true, then why can’t you be an elephant or a Martian?

                That otherwise reasonable people can buy into this insanity is quite terrifying when you think o fit. If they will believe this, what won’t they believe?

                1. It seems to embrace a radical form of duality whereby people really are souls put in the wrong body.

                  I don’t think it has to be all that radical. Some people are born such that they are going to have serious depression, or other mental conditions. Some people are born so they are going to feel like they are the other sex, or should be the other sex, or whatever it is. I’m not certain about any of this, but it seems real enough in my limited experience.

                  1. Sure it is a real feeling but so is every other feeling. That does not make their explanation for it any less insane

  10. I’m a member of the WTF community.

    1. I’m a member of the community of people I know and interact with.

      I just hate the “X community” formulation. How does sharing one simple characteristic make a community?

  11. Careers are destroyed by accusations of sexual mis-behavior.
    Careers are barely tarnished, and it’s buffed right out, by actual torture.

    Demonstrated preference.
    smdh

    1. The definition of torture around here is laughable. If the commentariat ran the military and we were invaded, the US would be over in a week.

      1. If people are in your custody and do things where they can die from your actions, then you are committing torture.

        Geneva Convention which the USA is a signatory.
        Article 1.1 of the Convention defines torture as:
        For the purpose of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.

        1. I do think limiting torture to what could possibly kill you is a bit limiting. Rape won’t generally kill you. Forcibly removing all your teeth won’t generally kill you. Watching your child be mutilated won’t generally kill you.

          But all these are done for the purpose of torture. And there are some sadists who do this simply for their own pleasure in watching and causing pain.

        2. Under this definition, someone could claim that being locked up is severe mental suffering, intentionally inflicted.
          IOW, this is just bullshit.

  12. Nice redefinition of torture. C’mon leftists, screaming a word over and over again doesn’t make it true.

    1. So, are we to understand that you’re fundamentally opposed to torturing terrorists–by your definition then?

      You disagree with the definition of torture being used here, but, by your definition of torture, you’re against torturing terrorists–because torture is wrong.

      Is that what you’re saying?

      1. Calling waterboarding torture does not make it torture. Nice try

    2. Didn’t think so.

      I suspect you’re probably just full of shit.

      1. Better t just stay hands off and let our allies handle the heavy lifting on enhanced interrogation.

  13. There was a very interesting reaction that should be heartening for folks who worry that tribal identity is taking the place of principles and ethics.

    So, what you’re saying is, there are people out there who think that principles and ethics can survive in the absence of a tribal identity? I’m not sure I want these people to be heartened.

    1. I think you can have a cultural identity, which provides a moral and ethical framework, without it being a tribal identity. A tribal identity (as I think of it) is more exclusionary of out-group people. And encourages thinking of outsiders as less than fully human. And if we break into tribal identities along political or identity politics lines, that’s very bad.

      1. So the enlightened and noble have cultural identities and the bad people have tribal identities? Got it.

        Thanks for clarifying Zeb! /sarc

        I get what you’re trying to say but, even then, Scott’s statement still feels very much like something a member of an in-group would say to persuade members of his peer group.

        1. I don’t even know what he was trying to say there.

    2. I just don’t understand why Scott things this had anything to do with principles and ethics in the first place. When John Brennan is celebrated by the same clowns who denigrate Hasper, where are the principles and ethics? It all sounds more like a debate over who tribal affiliation, and which identity characteristics are more important.

  14. I’m almost convinced listening to shrill progs, CNN or MSNBC or Celine Dion or Beyonce on a loop constitutes a form of torture.

    STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT! I’ll tell you everything you need to know if you can just shut that idiot Oliver up!

    1. “Like, we have, you know, ways of making you talk. Hipster ways.”

  15. “It’s worth recognizing that sometimes the cultural conflict of “principles over principals”?where the identities or affiliations of a person are deemed more important than ethical or moral interests?is reflected more in media coverage than by the actions of a community itself.”

    OR…being part of the #Resistance trumps (so to speak) any praise for women getting high official positions.

    See Conzoleezza Rice (sp?)

  16. Someone is going to have to explain this ‘Slay Kween’ thing to me.

    1. Someone is going to have to explain this ‘Slay Kween’ thing to me.

      Twitter sucks at filtering out terrible memes.

  17. The Advocate doesn’t speak for LGBT individuals as a whole, just like no publication does for women, men, black people, whoever. The “identity” craze is perfectly exploitable by orgs and publications to pull in lots of money and get lots of ad revenue. At this point, the principle-vacant pandering is becoming cartoon-like.

  18. “YAAAASSSS! SLAY KWEEN!”

    The fuck is this shit? I must be getting old, I have no idea what “the kids” are saying on the twitters anymore.

  19. Well, I’m sure she’s an awful person or something. But it’s the goddamn CIA. What do you expect? The CIA exists to do shadowy, nasty stuff. The problem isn’t who heads the agency.

    1. #IMWITHZEB

      When these folks denounce Brennan I’ll start listening. For the time being they excuse his participation in the CIA torture program (or whatever term of art we’re now using) because he is a reliable, vocal, and public anti-Trumper. Please, keep your hand-wringing to yourselves.

    2. It sets the tone of the agency.

      CIA agents wont openly torture people if the Director can find out and fire them.

    3. The problem is when they let freaked-out fans of the TV show 24 decide interrogation methods instead of actual interrogation experts. If 9/11 didn’t make you lose faith in the CIA, that should have.

      1. Does it sound like I have faith in the CIA?

  20. Geez, Scott, how shallow can you get?

    This looks more like a case of one set of principals versus another set of principals rather than anything about principles. In other words, more a debate of tribal affiliation. Have you forgotten that Republicans, conservatives, and actual libertarians never tend to be considered part of these identitarian tribes?

    When John Brennan, who to all appearances had far more to do with both torture and tortured logic, is still celebrated by the same gang that disapproves of Haspel, it is hard to see anything of principle here.

  21. Wouldn’t this actually be “principals over principles”?

  22. Principles are ethical standards. Principals are individual actors.

  23. How about first qualified women for the this cabinet position.

    She is woman; however, she is not qualified as having violated the Constitution by torturing people under American control.

  24. Perhaps coincidentally, John Georges, new owner of the Advocate through his Georges Media Group, and who has run for high office twice in the past 11 years as an Independent, just switched his affiliation to Republican.

    http://theind.com/article-2503…..lican.html

  25. It contains a short video obviously meant to be shared on social media with images of Haspel and some straightforward text, set to a disco beat for some baffling reason.
    I would just like to mention that several rags do this; setting simple text superimposed on images to music. The music is meant to “set the mood”, with stories intended to give you the sads accompanied by downtempo music, and videos championing some project or political maneuver set to something energetic. And it is so, so, so annoying.

    I cannot count on both hands how many sites I have auto-muted at this point. If Reason ever starts loading up articles with auto-playing videos, I will die inside a little.

    Also fuck Gina Haspel; put her in the woodchipper.

  26. If you don’t like someone else’s article why don’t you write your own.

    Oh.

  27. Many aren’t willing to ignore her ties to torture just because of her sex.

    Let’s get it right:

    Many are willing to consider the facts of her background rather than simply point to her sex as a qualification only because she isn’t a left winger.

  28. “principles over principals”?where the identities or affiliations of a person are deemed more important than ethical or moral interests

    Sorry, that’s bass-ackwards.

    Principle = Ethical standard
    Principal = Person in a position of importance

  29. So what did the LGBT magazine for bottoms have to say?

  30. To think that the approval of Haspel as DIr. of the CIA is some sort of victory for women is appalling.

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