Archive for the ‘torture’ Category

Attending a Wingtard Convention: Inside the Belly of the Beast

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

You’ve gotta check out this article. It’s long, but it’s an excellent read: appalling, hilarious, infuriating, absurd…

The author, Leonard Pierce, infiltrated the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). He got in by posing as a lobbyist for the American Milk Solids Council. We know that two percent of America has gotten rich beyond belief in the past 7 years, and that 19% still think George W. Bush is doing a heckuva job.

Knowing those statistics is one thing, but just imagine being surrounded by thousands of these people. As Pierce describes it, “Here’s a description of Hell: a huge room full of all the people you hate most, and they’re all having a wonderful time.”

There’s a speech by Dick Cheney (of course). During his speech, the crowd starts cheering and yelling “Four More Years!” Cheney gives the usual soundbites about 9/11, telecom immunity and the wonders of torture. But the most telling thing about Cheney’s speech was the observation that: “His defense of torture gets a standing ovation, but his praising of our fighting men in uniform does not. It takes a man to fight, but it takes a train to waterboard.”

Next comes Mitt Romney’s famous speech where he says he entered the race because he loves his country and now he’s leaving (the race, not the country) for the same reason.

And there has to be a speech by Dumbya. Before Boozo the Clown even begins his speech, the crowd starts chanting “Four More Years!”

Bush’s speech itself had the predictable Bushisms: “Dick Cheney is the greatest vice president in the history of the United States.” The Bush Administration “didn’t seek the approval of editorialists…and we darned sure didn’t seek permission from groups like Code Pink and MoveOn before taking action.”

But check out Pierce’s description of Bush:

“In person, he looks a little haggard and tired: no legacy to speak of, no friends overseas (whither Pooty-Poot? a nation turns its starving eyes to you), and another boatload of corpses to go and frown at later today. He won’t last as long as his old man once he’s out of office: With no one to stand in the way of, with no one to infuriate, with no press hanging over his shoulder for him to mutter ‘fuck off’ at, he’ll wither away and disappear, just another burnout boomer with prostate cancer and no hobbies.”

The World Has Changed Forever

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

On September 12, 2001, George Bush stood atop a pile of rubble in New York and announced the world had changed forever. For the most part, it’s changed in ways few foresaw and without many rational, presumptive changes ever quite taking root, but it has changed, just as he promised.

For most of us, the biggest change has been in how little Dear LeaderTM cares for the individual freedoms he swore to defend and protect. For others - most notably families that lost someone that day - the world changed in a more fundamental and visceral way. Now, these seemingly different types of loss have converged.

El Jefe and the congress are once again at loggerheads over FISA laws. Since Day 1, the flaccid republican and democratic congresses have repeatedly given in to the President’s whims and then some. Congress has proposed a measly 15 day delay in considering a FISA renewal, but the Defender of His FateTM has threatened a veto. And as usually happens when he doesn’t get his way, he launched another fear bomb to justify it, “Terrorists are planning new attacks on our country … that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The Prez Who Cried Wolf
This terrorist threat is identical to dozens of other admonitions. Under that blanket excuse, he’s rolled back just about every civil liberty we once enjoyed, while the final word has never been validated by the courts. He admits he’s spied on US citizens in an apparent contravention of the Constitution. However, instead of an apology he simply demands more power, like Congress giving telecom companies protection from prosecution if they broke the law (which they already have).

His justification?

“If these companies are subjected to lawsuits that could cost them billions of dollars, they won’t participate. They won’t help us. They won’t help protect America.

Loyalty, At a Price
In other words, we must pay multinational phone companies to retain their loyalty, rather than being the upstanding, selfless citizens we expect ourselves to be. That sounds a lot like buying off an Afghan warlord to be our BFF (and likely with similar results). It’s the type of behavior we’ve come to expect from the administration and is directly linked to the dubious premise that prisoners can be held without trial and without adequate legal representation. That’s hardly a fairness exemplar for “emerging democracies” like Iraq.

As some of the Guantanamo “disappeared” start preparing for trial, it’s obvious that “trials” in Bushspeak mean something very different than what most of us expect under the law. In Dubya’s steely legal mind, “trial” means take away anything good for the defendant and allow the prosecution to do anything they damn well please. This seems curious behavior for an administration that claims to have mountains of evidence condemning the detainees, yet can’t allow the defense to see any of it, even under strict secrecy provisions. It suggests the World’s Sole Remaining SuperpowerTM” might have some intelligence that doesn’t stand up in a legitimate court of law - which brings us to the families victimized by September 11.

(more…)

Witch Trials

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Many years ago the Catholic Church began to worry about evil. At the time the Catholic Church reasoned that Satan was an angel created by God. Satan had originally been called Lucifer, and he was a favorite of God’s many angels. One interesting thing was that the Catholic Church never questioned the idea that God might actually play favorites and actually have a favorite angel. The story tells us that Lucifer turned his back on God because of his personal pride and fought a war against the angels that chose to stick with God. In the end Lucifer was banished from Heaven.

Well, Lucifer was not happy being banished from Heaven so he decided that he would tempt God’s latest creation - man. Tempting man in the form of Eve was literally “child’s play.” And, God was upset with Lucifer’s triumph in the mortal realm. So, God told Lucifer that he could no longer influence man directly. This was somehow meant to reassure us that we didn’t need to fear Lucifer around every corner tempting us.

The Catholic Church, however, had a problem. They observed the fact that there was certainly evil in the world. And, they knew that Satan had been banned from directly tempting man, from this story. So, how was Lucifer tempting evil in this world? They finally realized that man was being tempted by witches. Witches were human beings that could get around God’s ban on Lucifer’s dealing in the mortal realm. Witches certainly must be tempting man as a proxy for Satan. And, the obvious conclusion is to put the witches to death and secure a world free from evil.

Suddenly this story seems very familiar to me. If it doesn’t sound familiar to you then I’ll offer a little more.

The Catholic Church became so worried about how the witches were operating in the mortal realm that they set out to round up the witches. They looked for people that appeared suspicious. They might be people that didn’t act like a “normal” person. They arrested those who were suspicious and took them to a detention center.

Obviously a witch was evil by the very definition. And an evil one would certainly attempt to cover up their affairs by lying. And therefore anyone who would deny that they were a witch would certainly fall into the category of what a typical witch might do. However, with a massive amount of pain a witch might finally be forced to admit that they were a witch in a moment of weakness. And once an inquisitor would have a confession they could put the witch to death and purify the world. Such a noble goal - Don’t you think?

The premise here is pretty straightforward. Good will triumph over evil! Those hunting witch were certainly good. And, witch by definition are those who spread evil and therefore must be evil. How could any problem arise out of such a black and white situation? Good purifies the world by eliminating evil.

There are a couple of things that the Catholic Church never considered. The first and most terrifying thought is that we are all evil. We have all committed evil and we are all capable of committing more evil. In fact, the very nature of the idea that killing off evil people would purify the world is an evil idea. Murder is an evil act in itself, and any one who believes that they are worthy to carry out the act is suffering from the addition evil of pride. Pride of course was the same evil that brought down Lucifer himself.

The thought that purifying the world of evil is worth the lives of the innocents that might be caught up in this action is an additional evil that plagues the very proposal. But, pride overwhelms the people who have this idea repeatedly throughout history. Genocide is another fruit of this horrible mindset. People who are different are accused of being evil and torture is used to prove the validity of the claim. If a small amount of pain won’t bring the confession, then more pain will surely provide it. The cycle can only be stopped if the pride in knowing the truth can be broken. And, the truth is that this rarely happens. The Holocaust of six million Jews, The Spanish Inquisition, Rwanda and even the torture of suspected 9/11 terrorists are all examples of pride gone wrong. And today, February 11, 2008 our government announced that there will be still more witch trials. Pride has no limit - especially in this administration.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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