Monday, April 27, 2009


Torture for me is finding out how much our former administration has sullied the American image with their secrecy and "advanced interrogation techniques."
Actually America's image is the least of it. Real harm was caused to people who may actually be innocent. Are they innocent? At this point it may be too late to actually discover the truth. I think I would be tempted to join Al Qaeda if I had been waterboarded, even if I had no interest in the organization previously. That would make me guilty, wouldn't it?

And now there are declassified memos which show just how far we have sunk, how far people who should know better have betrayed their own humanity. John Woo, are you listening?

During the Bush administration, Dick Cheney (maybe we should call him "the Dick") was so close-mouthed you couldn't even get a "Good morning" out of him. Oh he might admit it was morning because the sun was shining on everyone, but he sure wouldn't say "good," because that would let you know what he was thinking.

That was when he was Vice-President.

Now, however, you can't get the guy to shut up (no matter how much you may want it.)
He is criticizing the Obama administration right and left, and recently called for the declassification of memos he says will show we actually got good info out of the torture we committed.
How many times did they waterboard Khalib Sheikh Muhammed? 183 in a month? At least 6 times a day? The first 182, nada, but the 183rd?—golden! Right. I really believe that.
So probably around, oh, 103, he actually said something that was more than falsely betraying his mother, father, sister, pet lamb and best friend as terrorists, just to try to stop the torture. What could it have been? Could it really have been something which was useful in any concrete way? The mention of a safehouse? A revelation of some plan still in the "hey, wouldn't it be a good idea" stage? I wanna know. And when I find out I will still say it wasn't worth it.
I'm doubting Thomas. You want me to believe torture works? Show me the nail holes and the spear wound in the side. Jesus convinced Thomas but I don't think Cheney is going to convince me, nor will he convince a lot of other people.
He's trying to protect his own sorry ass from prosecution. He is also just goddam sure he is right and the Constitution, International Law, and the opinion of Jesus Christ don't matter.
Now, I know some people who don't pay much attention to the opinion of JC, but they do believe in the Constitution and International Law (which, ironically, are informed by the preachings of the aforementioned JC).
Dick Cheney believes in the law of Dick Cheney.
It's not very Christian or forgiving of me, but I want to see that mthrfkr tried, convicted, jailed and humiliated. And I wouldn't mind seeing his puppet President in the cell along with him.

One of Obama's failings is that he is so concerned with moving forward that he feels that paying due attention to the past will be counterproductive. He's wrong. I don't really want to see our nation's former leaders in jail—what I wrote above is just raw anger unmitigated by reason—but I do want them to see that the majority of their fellow citizens condemn their philosophy and actions. I want to see an end to their "History will vindicate us" fantasy.

I would really like to see them on their knees begging for forgiveness, but I'm not thinking I'll be living that long.

Rachel Maddow had a Col. lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell for a period of time, on her program last week. He opined that Dick Cheney is a man who "frightens easily" "lives on fear, and he is a fearful man." Col. Wilkerson said that other countries have had to go thru proportionately worse incidences of terrorism than us, as bad as 9/11 was, and the level of fear in those countries was not as great as the level created by our own administration.

The Pentagon had been told that torture was not a reliable method to get good information, that what you get is someone who is just trying to stop the pain. The USA had prosecuted Japanese officials after World War II, who approved and used waterboarding, as being "torturers."

Excuse me, if those furriner slant-eyes do it it's torture, but if upstanding white Americans with "straight eyes" do it, it's a legal method of getting information?

Is there a bucket I can throw up in?

On that cheerful note I will end. I'll not mention the swine flu and the failure of our elected representatives to provide funding for pandemic preparation.
I don't want to drive anyone to drink. I can take care of that for you.
Just one of the services I provide.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beauty good, homely bad.

Everyone is agog lately over the Susan Boyle video on YouTube. This dowdy, unmade up, steel wool hairdo, 47 yr old in her (British equivalent of) Sears Roebuck dress comes out to a sneering audience and unbowed and unafraid knocks their socks off with her wonderful voice and singing talent (they don't always go together.)

The first link I saw was on my Macintosh forum and the post was entitled "A grown man cried." And I have heard over and over again at how emotional people got at seeing this nobody come out and show the world her stuff to such great acclaim.
The incredulity of the judges, the sneers of the audience, the seeming ridiculousness of her desire—all swept away with a sudden "Wow! This is great!" realization.
It is truly inspiring. Even your curmudgeon got a little damp around the eyeballs and had to put aside his natural cynicism while watching that video—for a while at least. No cynicism for Ms. Boyle—she has got the goods and can deliver. But I wonder at what our reactions show about us, about our inability to separate appearance from reality. I have questions.

Honestly now, if it had been that blond judge (I didn't get her name but if anybody knows her phone number…) who came out and sang like that, would we have reacted the same way? Sure we'd applaud talent, but would those great fuzzy warm feelings from seeing someone defy expectations successfully have been there?
And doesn't this all show how we are all in thrall to the idea of visual beauty and its inherent superiority to plainness? That we still expect frumpy to be frumpy to the core and have no redeeming values? Why did everyone in that audience have this "Oh, god now what?" reaction to her appearance and desire to be a professional singer? Now I didn't, but then I was forewarned by the post and the article it linked to before I saw the video, so I cannot claim any superiority of vision here (darn it). Would they have greeted the blond with that same skepticism?
The feeling I noticed in myself, which I find a little discomfiting, was that somehow the approval of the blond judge made it all seem so much better. There she was with her beauty, decolletage and shiny cheeks (flushed with excitement or perhaps a stray tear of joy?) smiling and surprised and approving. And I wonder, did it all make the whole thing seem so much cooler because the cool dame loved the uncool dame? Would the video (and it was well-constructed for maximum effect) have been as effective if that woman looked like, oh, Eleanor Roosevelt for instance? I'm speaking as a male, I mean. I won't speak for the females among my readership.

Such as it is.

One of the two of you.

This event has a lot for people to think about in terms of their expectations, world view and prejudices. I like that the good-looking judge said "It was the biggest wake-up call ever."
That was true, but it shouldn't have been needed, for all of us.
But for the moment, for her, there was revelation. I hope it lasts.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another idiotic week

Yes, this was tax week! America's own private Calvary.
It's even more fun when one is unemployed. Here's what it's like:
You're just barely surviving with the 150 slices of bread you get every week. Then something happens and you can't get it anymore. So the government comes and says "Aw, let us us help you. Here's 100 pieces of bread, even though it's not quite enough, it's what we can do. Oh, but wait, we're going to want to take 15 slices back later, so don't eat them. And if anyone else helps you make up the rest of the 150 slices, we'll want to take 15% of those too."

The best solution to this governmental idiocy is to get another job that pays at least as much as your previous one. Of course. Did I mention six hundred thousand more people lost their jobs last month? Good luck.

I'm not one of those anti-tax people. I am willing to do my part for the good of the country, even tho i think we spend too much on fancy submarines and jets and too little on streets and transportation and people in trouble. But just sit down and try to do your own taxes, especially if you have more than the basic income, like a side business, personal taxes associated with your other business etc. There really can't be a cogent reason for this complication.

Speaking of anti-tax people, the teabagging idiots were out this week. And making substantial fools of themselves, likening Obama to Hitler and his government to fascism. And not bothering to discover the scatological meaning of teabagging to see why people are laughing at them.
Where do they come from?
It's an argument against the concept of evolution that these wingnuts haven't already been bred out of the gene pool after these thousands of years.

In other news, an organization called the National Organization for Marriage has a false, mendacious and also risible ad out now to scare people out of supporting gay marriage. It's so patently phony, with it's storm clouds in the distance and talk of fear and rights being taken away. The people who wrote that should be arrested.

Massachusetts has had gay marriage for some years now, and guess what? (quote) NORMAL (end quote) people are still getting married. Yes! Incredible as it seem, heterosexual marriage has survived, and even seems to be thriving. And some of the ministers conducting these heterosexual marriages are married gay or lesbian ministers. They haven't taken away the right of the rest of us to get married. Can you believe it? Also, already-married heterosexuals are not flocking to the courts for divorces on the grounds that marriage doesn't mean anything anymore.
And, frankly, heterosexuals have not been longing for an excuse to cohabit without benefit of clergy. They've not needed any excuses.

Of course this is Massachusetts. We're notorious for our ultra-liberal ideas and practices. I mean, the Kennedys came from here. We're still electing that liberal Ted Kennedy to Congress. But then, even with a brain tumor he's more intelligent than most of the other senators.

Steven Colbert has a highly amusing take-off of that ad. It points out the ridiculousness of the attitude and claims. Not that that is all that hard to do.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Various grumbles

Republicans—what a bunch of idiots. Now they are sending teabags to Congress and the White House. They are urging everyone to "teabag" the White House. Apparently they don't know that "teabagging" is a sexual slang word for an activity which involves the only part of a man's physique which could be likened to a teabag. I won't say anything about the activity, except that you wouldn't want your partner to sneeze in the midst of it. One assumes these clowns don't know about the double entendre. One hopes so, because if they do know, then they are not only being stupid, but meretricious and disrespectful to the office of the presidency.

It was great fun watching Rachel Maddow report on this last night. She clearly knows what it means and it was all she could do to get through the report without breaking down in laughter.

But what else can you expect from this bunch of losers? The Repubes have not come up with a single viable idea to counter the force of the Obamarama. All they can do is hold up business and look petulant.
Speaking of looking petulant, have you looked hard at Sen. Mitch McConnell's face when he is talking? It's hard I know, but try. All the years of weaseling, compromise, putting the country second for the sake of his party and ideology, the corruption of his reasoning abilities—it is written on his face. It shows, it shows. It shows that deep inside he knows the Repubes are not behaving well, are in fact being hurtful to the country they profess to love.

All the lies, the dissembling. At least he is not a looney tunes like the Bachman woman from Minnesota. I'm not even going to get started on her. She's certifiable and one should be gentle with the mentally damaged.

In the meantime, Obama is going around the world, being a real statesman and not an embarrassment like someone else recently in his office. it's so nice to once again have a president I can stand to listen to.

And another 600,000 people showed up at your local state employment bureau office this month. These kinds of figures do not give one a lot of confidence in a job search. After a certain point one loses all concern, and the whole situaion becomes laughable. I'm going to take what little money I have and buy a lot of shipping crates, like for large appliances. I can see a need arising. People are going to need someplace to live, and I want in on the ground floor, so to speak.

Okay, I'm done.
Go do something useful.