Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ted Rall is right.

Please.  Please read this piece by Ted Rall.  I've been gobsmacked for over a decade at the torture apologists.  This isn't who we're supposed to be as Americans.  Mr. Rall has written with an eloquence that my brain can't muster on this subject.

From, stolen in it's entirety.  This is brilliant and brutal and all of the things that swirl in my brain that I can't even come close to expressing in my own words.

People Who Think Torture is Okay Need to Die and Go Away

I am tolerant.
I have Republican friends.
When racists speak in my presence, I don’t smash them in the jaw. I try to change their minds.
Many of my close friends and relatives believe in God, which is wrong and therefore stupid, yet I don’t consider them stupid — just mistaken. America, I believe, must create and maintain the space where a multitude of points of view can thrive.
But there are limits. Not every opinion should be tolerated.
If you think torture is OK — under any circumstance, for any reason — you are dangerous.
Pro-torture? You should not be tolerated.
If you believe that “they” had torture coming because “they” attacked “us” on 9/11, or because “they” chop off “our” heads, you are psychotic and sociopathic and should not be free to walk the streets, much less sit on juries or vote or drive a car or hold a job that a perfectly sane unemployed person needs.
If you diminish the exquisite horror of torture — if you think sleep deprivation and blasting loud music into victims’ ears and solitary confinement and stress positions and mock executions and beatings are not “really” torture — I want you locked up, the key thrown away, never to be heard from again. You are not fit to be near children or animals.
If you saw the Abu Ghraib torture photos and then voted for George W. Bush in 2004 anyway, you are Charles Manson crazy and there is no place in society, in America, on this planet, where you ought to be allowed.
If you’re a politician, a reporter or a pundit, and you’ve ever said anything in favor of torture, you should be fired and never heard from in public again.
I did not feel this way before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on tortureunder the Bush Administration.
Over the last week, however, I have read thousands of pro-torture, right-wing loons post their monstrous ravings on Internet content boards. I have watched a parade of torture advocates go on television to defend CIA torturers, some with impressive-sounding titles, all treated respectfully by so-called journalists. I have seen Dick Cheney, Grand Inquisitor of the War Against Muslims, lie through his crooked teeth while scoffing at the most basic values of Western civ.
Now, already, I am watching torture fade from the headlines.
We have been too tolerant.
Anti-torture Americans ­— which is to say, sane, normal people — have been wayyyyyyy too polite over the past 12 years. We ought to have been rude. We should have shouted down the torturers and their supporters and apologists, ridiculed them, locked them away, fired them from their jobs, taken away their kids.
We debated torture; we didn’t reject it. Now torture is normalized — and so is the stupid meanness that goes with it.
A senior Supreme Court Justice not only thinks torture is OK, but gives credit to thethoroughly debunked “ticking time bomb” scenario.
In the mainstream media, the debate is not over whether torture is immoral or illegal, but whether it is effective.
We tolerate scum like ex-CIA director Michael Hayden, who justifies so-called “rectal feeding” — grinding a prisoner’s food into mush and shoving it up his ass — with rhetoric that is not only vile on its face, but insults our intelligence to the point that he ought to be banned from public life: “It’s a medical procedure is what it is,” Hayden told CNN. “I have learned that in some instances, one way that you can get nourishment into a person is through this procedure as opposed to intravenous feeding, which of course involves needles and a whole bunch of other dangerous things.”
Hayden is a liar. Victims of “rectal feeding” had not refused to eat normally.
Torture memo author John Yoo called them “aggressive interrogation methods that did not cause any long-term or permanent injury.”
Isn’t death permanent?
John Yoo ought to be in prison. Instead, he draws a six-figure salary teaching law (!) at UC Berkeley.
Jonah Goldberg is trying to pass himself off as a “reasonable conservative” by arguing for ambiguity: “One of the great problems with the word ‘torture’ is that it tolerates no ambiguity. It is a taboo word, like racism or incest. Once you call something torture, the conversation is supposed to end.”
In the West, civilized countries banned torture in the 18th century. In 1798, for example, Napoleon wrote that the “barbarous custom of whipping men suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this method of interrogation, by putting men to the torture, is useless. The wretches say whatever comes into their heads and whatever they think one wants to believe.”
“Before the 9/11 attacks, torture was almost always depicted in television and movies as something that bad guys did. That’s not true anymore. The Bush administration may be over, but Bush-era terrorist torture and assassination policies are growing more popular,” Amy Zegart wrote in a 2012 Foreign Policy piece titled “Torture Creep.”
You need only look at the trend line to see how Americans are becoming increasingly morally depraved: At the height of the war on terror in 2004, when Bush was reelected despite everything, 32% of Americans said torture was never justifiable. By 2011, two years after Obama claimed to have banned torture, only 24% said the same thing.
Here’s some American exceptionalism for you: 59% of people in other countries have zero tolerance for torture. Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, says: “The dominant view around the world is that terrorism does not warrant bending the rules against torture.”
This is not a discussion Americans should have any more.
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and cartoonist, is the author of the new critically-acclaimed book “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” Subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

I'm back. Dammit.

I just returned from the company Christmas party.  Not a holiday party.  A Christmas party.  Because I work for a Christian company.  The owners are lovely people, rife with sincere beliefs and the evangelical/fundamental flavor of religion.  It's their money and they can celebrate how they want to celebrate.  If Paris was worth a mass for Henry IV, steak dinner, entertainment and gifts are worth an amen for this heathen.  I do admire that they try to bring Christian principles into all facets of their lives.  In many ways they do strive to be good.  They just espouse so many ideas that I cannot abide.  It would be fine if these ideas would only apply to them.  I don't have a problem with them voicing these ideas.  However, these ideas have found their way into the political discourse of this country and are swung like a cudgel by the powerful to harm a great many of my fellow 'Murkuns.  White, heterosexual, Christian, property-owning males would hold dominion over all of us unworthy lesser persons if the things they believe hold sway.

I refuse to remove the Obama '08 magnet from the back of my car.  It's a nice reminder to everyone I work with that there is a dirty, librul, muslin, socialist, fascist, communist among them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

corrupt s.o.b. retires to k-street money pile


Jerkoff To Retire From Congress

by Ken Layne 3:59 pm January 12, 2012 Fuck you.
Indefensible lifelong asshole Jerry Lewis, Republican crook from California’s “Inland Empire,” will finally retire from the House because his district is no longer a geometric abomination carved out by his GOP cronies. Lewis, a hateful clown in a white fright wig, has spent his career being a complete asshole while lavishing pork projects on his district as long as they were named for “Representative Jerry Lewis.”

A Democrat will easily win the new district, the lines of which were drawn up by a committee of voters, so they reflect the actual population in the region (heavily Latino) of poor and working-class Californians. Jerry Lewis will spend the last years of his miserable life greasing palms on Capitol Hill for some lobbying firm or another. He sucks. [LA Times/Huffington Post]
When both Rolling Stone AND Andrew Breitbart claim you're the most corrupt congress critter ever, you know you've taken the grand champion prize.

the old gray lady has alzheimers


'Times' Poll: Should or Should We Not Print Lies?

By Choire Sicha | January 12, 2012

Everyone is pretty aghast and/or in stitches over today's weird and kinda embarrassing escapade by the New York Times public editor, Arthur Brisbane: "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." Not just when; whether! A list of people currently making fun of this runs from editors of city papers to New Yorker correspondents to totally random unemployed people to... well, the Times staffers are all sitting on their hands right now. GOSH, HOW THAT MUST BURN.

How does this argument even go, anyway? PRO: Sure! Let the record reflect whatever people say, that way we have a record of it. CON: No, definitely not! The newspaper should report all lies unchallenged!

(Also, oh yes, let's have readers—aka BLOG COMMENTERS—provide the "input" on these issues. Er, no offense, some of my best friends are blog commenters.) Anyway, haven't seen Twitter make so much fun of one person since, hmm... a SuperBowl half-time show, or maybe that time that ESPN became the LeBron network? Hey, only 18 months till Arthur Brisbane's term is up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

lolling around

gop rep proposes treason - film at 11

I really enjoy Bob Cesca.  He has a way of distilling the absurd down into bite-sized bits.

A Word from the Crazy Caucus

A member of Congress recommended a military insurrection.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who doesn’t make much of an effort to hide his extremism, argued on a right-wing radio show this week U.S. military leaders should consider ignoring the orders of their commander-in-chief. He wasn’t kidding.
Say it with me now — if Allen West was a Democrat and the president was a Republican, Allen West would have to go on a nationwide apology tour after Congress passed a resolution scolding him.
Remember when you couldn't even question why we were in a war of choice with a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks?  I do.  Funny how that all gets flipped on its pointed little head now.