Archive Page 2

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

Advertisements
20
May
09

Pelosi Schmelosi

Normally, I don’t speak on behalf of all liberals. But, today I’m going to. Because I feel like it.

Throwing Pelosi in front of the bus won’t help Republicans, but they can enjoy using her as a punching bag as long as the media thinks there’s a story in it. Whatevah. Liberals really couldn’t give a shit.

We’re not huge fans of hers in any case, numero uno. Numero dos, I’m a proponent of term limits, so anything that can knock congresspeople who have been at their post over 8 years, I’m in favor of. I feel the same way about Harry Reid.

And, in reality, the Repubs like Pelosi right where she is – with the big crosshairs on her forehead. The Right thinks attacking her boosts their numbers. And they may be right in the short term. Ergo, forcing Nancy out is not in the game plan, gnawing on her slowly decaying remains, however, is.

And, with this whole “Did she know about the occuring torture?” is such a red herring, it’s laughable.

We will not stop discussing who tortured, who ordered it and whether or not it produced actionable intelligence and who knew about it – Righties and Lefties alike. We will not stop trying to assess whether Cheney and his beasties ordered the torture of an Iraqi in an effort to prove a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, with which to sell the Iraqi War. The discussion will not go away. This is part of our heritage and our history and these determinations will have great effect on our future.

Furthermore, we want all relevant memos released as well – we’re generally for transparency in government. All this keeping shit secret for the safety of the country is bullshit. When the government is hiding something, it’s to benefit themselves, not the people. The best decisions and opinions are made with an overabundance of information, not underabundance.

Remember Patrick Henry’s 1775 call: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death saying? Liberty means transparency. It means the government not spying on you. It means the government abiding by the law, no matter the identity of the person with whom they are dealing. When you do not protect the freedoms and rights of another, it will be your rights the government will come after next.

Right Wing: Go throw sand and Nancy all you want – it doesn’t matter to me. But when your little schoolyard fight is through, we’ll still be marching our call for solid answers on the questions of torture.

And, for the record, the CIA does lie at times. Especially under the Bush administration, who used the organization for politically motivated purposes. That’s reality. If the Right wants to rave their hands like asylum inmates in defense of the CIA and insist that speaking of the organization in realistic terms to shade the discussion, fine. This is a topic of conversation, not a strategy. And no one said the CIA lies “all the time” or “systematically,” Giuliani, or said they were not doing their job or that they did not do a phenomenal job. But the CIA has fudged the truth in a number of instances and if certain Righties cannot tell the truth about the topic, if they cannot acknowledge reality (for political purposes), they are an irrelevant participant in the discussion and a hinderer of progress.

In other words, grow the fuck up.

15
May
09

News You Should Know 05.15.09

This Friday afternoon, there were a number of news stories that caught my attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write an entire, fleshed out blog on each of them.

  1. Pulitzer Prize winners. I know this is from last month, but I recently took a look at this year’s Pulitzer winners and found many quite worth the squiz:
    1. Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun on higher death rates among construction workers on the Strip due to lax regulation enforcement.
    2. David Barstow of The NYT on the utilization of generals by the Pentagon to sell the Iraq War. (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
    3. Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune reveal how a popular (and over-zealous) sheriff’s focus on illegal immigration resulted in the endangerment of investications of violent crimes and other areas of public safety. I still see that sheriff all over TV.
    4. St. Petersburg Times for Politifact (they completely deserve this one).
    5. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post for his coverage of the 2008 election. This surprise me. Dont’ get me wrong, I love Eugene, but I’m not quite sure how his comentary was better than, say, E.J. Dionne’s. Eugene still rocks and congratulations to him.
    6. Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune for his editorial cartooning. Example:
    7. Damon Winter of The NYT for his photography of Obama’s presidential campaign. A great series and really worth the look.
  2. Texas and other states charging victims for rape kits. This is appalling – it reduces the number of women willing to pursue the arrest and conviction of their perpetrator. If a murder victim’s family had to pay for the evidence to be collected at the murder scene, the country would be in an uproar. Remember when I say there are areas where the U.S. needs improving? This is one of them.
  3. THIS IS BIG. The ACLU is suing to challenge a patent Myriad Genetics on two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers.“Knowledge about our own bodies and the ability to make decisions about our health care are some of our most personal and fundamental rights,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to who we are as our genes.”
  4. The Texas Senate passed a bill weakening eminenet domain laws and forcing the government to operate much more transparently when attempting to seize private property. Yee-Haw!! Now, get with it, House, and let’s get this signed into law! I hope eminent domain reform is progressing in other states as well.
14
May
09

Conventional Warfare – A Misnomer

This week, in their defense of Dick Cheney’s naked parade, his minions have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation methods” by saying they were a response to the unconventional warfare posed by Islamic terrorists. (well, they don’t say Islamic terrorists, because that is no longer PC – but that’s who they are referring to).

Our short-memoried society considers “conventional warfare” battles in which all sides wear uniforms designating their loyalty, avoid injuring civilians as much as possible, behave gentlemanly during negotiations, have clear delineations between good and evil, and are only fought because one baddie decided to invade one goodie.

I’m simplifying, I realize, but only in an effort to illustrate the naiveté of isolated Americans regarding warfare. Our idea of military combat is as far from the norm – bastardized by erroneous and fantastical historical tales, the refusal of the government to provide honest details of war to keep the public’s distaste to a minimum, and the perpetuation of the myth that the U.S. government always makes good decisions for the benefit of the American public. The blatant lack of honesty of everyone from storytellers and revisionist historians to the executive administrations past and present have whitewashed Americans’ view of war. To the detriment of all involved.

How Americans Think of War

What We Americans Consider Conventional Warfare

War is ugly and gruesome and what we consider unconventional is actually much more typical combat.

The vast majority of war over the last 40,000 years has included various levels of torture, rape, the killing of women and children, the enslavement of the losing side by the victors, and no uniforms of which to speak.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers found it quite difficult to tell which “gook” was with us and which was against. That we would find warfare any different in Afghanistan or Iraq is appallingly uninformed.

Most warfare has been fought by any means necessary, yet the utilization of suicide bombers or twin engine jets surprises Americans. These tactics are much more along the norms of warfare than our Disney notions of WWI and WWII. The claiming of the U.S. territory by whites from Native Americans included genocide, rape and arbitrary killing. In “conventional war,” crops, land, and homes are put to flame and waterways poisoned. Horses and livestock are slaughtered. And on, and on, and on.

The desire to increase power is the largest motivator of war. Throughout history, chiefs and leaders of state wanted to expand their territory, causing them to take what isn’t theirs. However, to be content with what is yours and nothing else is to lay in wait for the greedy eyes of an enemy.

Now that the statehood of most territory on Earth, save for Antarctica, has been decided, war is largely launched because of irrational actors and thirst for power and results in the subjugation of weak people or a brazen offensive against a perceived enemy. Al Qaeda wants a theocratic, Muslim world and how better to achieve this result than attacking the most powerful defender of the free world? George W. Bush saw what he perceived as his father’s failings at the end of the first Iraq War, as well as the opportunity to spread democracy in the Middle East, and launched an offensive he was not prepared for and did not fully understand. In Sierre Leone, during battles for the control of diamond minds, thousands upon thousands of women and children had their arms cut off at the elbow and boys high on cocaine killed their familes and raped women with the ends of their guns.

Realities of Conventional War

Realities of Conventional War

WWI and WWII were horrific in their own right, but were as unconventional as warfare gets. During WWI, occurrences of opposing sides playing soccer games between trenches  are well-documented. WWII had a clear, easily identifiable leader with atrocious strategies and ambitions. The fact that we consider these two events “normal” clearly reveals our lack of understanding of military history. Perhaps if we grow up and can realign our perceptions closer to reality, we can have a more substantial and successful discussion of what we consider acceptable behaviors in wartime.

If Americans understood the realities of war, if they could see into the future the results of the invasion of Iraq, they would never have permitted these men – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, men who have never been battle-tested (a few draft-dodgers in there), never known what it felt like to kill another person or see the enemy face-to-face – to launch us into this misquided and ill-considered war.

I understand the outcry against torture, and support much of it. But the fact that the American people can be so outraged over actions against a few and then remain silent while our bombardments in Af-Pak result in the deaths of scores of civilians – mothers, babies, schoolchildren – is media-driven and reprehensible.

13
May
09

Dick Cheney: Opinion Compilation

My opinion for Dick Cheney really needs no description. He is a vile, megalomaniacal, right-wing zealot with no capability of reasonable contemplation or consideration for any other strategy than full-throttle, “Either join me or get outta my way!” This country is infinitesimally better off now that the old man is sidelined.

That said, how wonderful it is that the black-pace-makered, sinister posterboy pokes his head above the muck and mire long enough to remind everyone why Obama won on Nov. 4 before returning to his panic room to watch Fox until he perceives yet another indignity that needs addressing.

The left is like a kid in a candy store when Dick’s thin lips part to reveal his jutted lower jaw and antediluvian, borderline-schizo views. We sit aglow in front of our television screens asking, Does it get any better than this? It could, I suppose, but it most likely will not. Only Bush on his knees in tears, arms stretched to the sky, crying, “Why, oh why, Baby Jesus, am I so hated when all I did is what you tole me to do?” That would be awesome.

Three commentators offered their opinions regarding the latest Dick Cheney tomfoolery and I couldn’t have put it any better than they did:

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic:

I don’t know how else to interpret his obviously self-destructive grandstanding this weekend. But think of the long view for a moment. Here is a former vice-president, who enjoyed unprecedented power for eight long, long years. No veep ever wielded power like he did in the long history of American government. In the months after 9/11, he swept all Congressional resistance away, exerted total executive power, wielded a military and paramilitary apparatus far mightier than all its rivals combined and mightier than any power in history, tapped any phone he wanted, claimed the right to torture any suspect he wanted (and followed through with thousands, from Bagram to Abu Ghraib) and was able to print and borrow money with impunity to finance all of it without a worry in the world. But even after all that, he cannot tolerate a few months of someone else, duly elected, having a chance to govern the country with a decent interval of grace.

Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post:

This is the crux of Cheney’s “argument,” and I put the word in quotation marks because it isn’t really a valid argument at all. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration approved programs and methods that previously would have been considered illegal or unacceptable: arbitrary and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, waterboarding and other abusive interrogation methods, secret CIA prisons, unprecedented electronic surveillance. Since 2001, there have been no new attacks on what the Bush administration creepily called the “homeland.” Therefore, everything that was done in the name of preventing new attacks was justified.

The fallacy lies in the fact that it is impossible for Cheney to prove that anti-terrorism methods within the bounds of U.S. law and tradition would have failed to prevent new attacks. Nor, for that matter, can Cheney demonstrate that torture and other abuses were particularly effective.

[…]

Given a choice between a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state who has given to his nation a lifetime of exemplary public service or an entertainer who brags about how much money he makes from bombast and bluster, Cheney would go with the gasbag. This is advice that’s supposed to help the Republican Party?

Maureen Dowd from The New York Times:

In 2002, when Bush Junior was ramping up to his war against Saddam, Al Gore made a speech trying to slow down that war resolution, pointing out that pivoting from Osama to Saddam for no reason, initiating “pre-emptive” war, and blowing off our allies would undermine the war on terror. Charles Krauthammer called Gore’s speech “a disgrace.” Michael Kelly, his fellow Washington Post columnist, called it “vile” and “contemptible.” Newt Gingrich said that the former vice president asserting that W. was making America less safe was “well outside the mark of an appropriate debate.”

[…]

The man who never talked is now the man who won’t shut up. The man who wouldn’t list his office in the federal jobs directory, who had the vice president’s residence blocked on Google Earth, who went to the Supreme Court to keep from revealing which energy executives helped him write the nation’s energy policy, is now endlessly yelping about how President Obama is holding back documents that should be made public.

Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.

[…]

He has no coherent foreign policy viewpoint. He still doesn’t fathom that his brutish invasion of Iraq unbalanced that part of the world, empowered Iran and was a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America. He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here — and they’re on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable — Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable.

W.’s dark surrogate father is trying to pull the G.O.P. into a black hole of zealotry, just as the sensible brother who lost his future to the scamp brother is trying to get his career back on track.

When Cheney was in the first Bush administration, he was odd man out. Poppy, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell corralled Cheney’s “Genghis Khan” side, as it was known, and his “rough streak.” Cheney didn’t care for Powell even then.

Keep it coming, Dick Cheney; this is gold, I tell ya, GOLD!!

12
May
09

Miss California – A Perfect Christian Specimen

I haven’t wanted to post about the Miss California scandal because I haven’t thought it newsworthy. There are so many issues much more deserving of the spotlight – the Congressional deal regarding credit industry legislation, rape victims across the country have to pay for their own rape kits, Sen. Vitter was holding up Obama’s FEMA appointee until some effective opposition advertising ahead of his 2010 reelection attempt, and more.

Miss Cali Pre-Boob Job

Furthermore,the vast majority of Americans couldn’t care less about beauty pageants until a topless photo of one of the contestants emerges. And now we want to have an opinion over whether this girl should keep her crown? It’s ridiculous.

Sure, she’s hypocritical. Most (ahem, all. okay, not all) Christians are. It’s okay for them to be “imperfect,” yet they want the rest of us to abide by specific biblical doctrine of their choosing. The Bible says not to alter your body, yet Miss California convinced the Miss California Pageant organization to pay for her chest “enhancement.”

And that’s what Christians have to understand. Our boisterous opposition to them has less to do with their belief system and much more with their ubiquitous hypocrisy. Show me a Christian and I’ll show you a person who does not fully abide by Biblical tenants. They pick and choose. And good for them – it’s a ridiculous book impossible to follow. But, most Christians don’t allow for the rest of us to disavow it’s tenants as well. It’s a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do.”

I love you Jeezus!!

We’re not telling Christians to stop going to church and stop praying. And there are plenty of religious inclusions in government that violate church and state doctrine that we might disagree with, but don’t hugely protest. We’re not telling them how to live their lives. We’re simply telling them to get out of ours.

Miss California has every right to speak her mind without some pageant judge acting as though his testicles were in a vice. He shouldn’t have asked the question if he wasn’t prepared to witness an answer he doesn’t like with grace. This is the Miss USA Pageant, not The Birdcage.

I support Miss Cali keeping her crown – just as I support her getting titty implants or lip injections or fake tans  and posing topless and being as false and unchristlike as she wants. She’s a great example of a typical Christian. Perfect spokesperson for the group. Let her do her thing.

But let us do ours.

And, for the record, I thought I’d let everyone know that Miss USA is Kristen Dalton from North Carolina. Uh…Congrats.

11
May
09

Elizabeth Edwards No Innocent Bystander

I cannot get enough of the Edwards saga – and, lucky for me, this will be a story that keeps on giving. While John’s career is pretty much toast, the media will continue to minitor for noteworthy developments in their lives and each one will again propell this jaw-dropping scandal to the public forefront.

Events that will bring the story back from faded obscurity: results of a paternity test of Rielle Hunter’s child, a decision by Rielle Hunter to capitalize on her infamy with a book or Lifetime movie, and any slightest deterioriation in Elizabeth Edward’s health. Little does John know – or maybe he does – that any progress he might accomplish in the rehabilitation of his reputation will immediately be snuffed upon the death of Elizabeth. When her life is finally extinguished and public sympathy for her reaches maximum peak, no mind will be distracted from John’s infedelities as the story is replayed over and over between commercial breaks. John’s misdeeds will have earned him an upteenth, inescapable tar and feathering. I bet he often thinks, If I could only undo the past….

Elizabeth’s interview on Oprah last week was heartbreaking, I have to say. Her desciption and defense of the life she built was captivating, to say the least. That one hussy, combined with her husband’s ginormous ego could tear it all apart was gut-wrenching.

But, she does not deserve all my sympathy. First of all, I was never a John Edwards fan. There is a blatant inauthenticity to him, that slippery-eel lawyer quality, that made my husband and I blanch at the the fact he was chosen by John Kerry as his 2004 running mate. Afterward, John’s championing of the poor was such an overtly strategic political move, with no heart behind it, I found it galling that so many were duped by the accent and the smile. Even the Bush administration referred to him as the Breck girl (ref. Dead Certain, by Robert Draper). It was so clearly fake, I had a hard time watching him. And reports of his split personality emerged during the campaign – on-camera John was friendly and warm, whereas off-camera John was cold and snobby – seemed to square with my gut reactions to his appearances.

It did not suprise me in the least that he had cheated on his wife. The jeopardy, however, in which he placed the 2008 election – the most important of my generation – was and is unforgivable. He would never have obtained the nomination, but the possibility dangles in our hindsight as a frightening reminder that politicians are a tricky bunch.

Elizabeth Edwards says to pull out of the race would have been to create an unnecessary drama, so they opted to stay in after she knew of his philandering. She deserves outrage for allowing this potentially nuclear charade to continue. Shame on her. She aided and abetted this lying, this performance at a time when we desperately needed responsible real deals. The sham they paraded was politically criminal. That they would put the interests of themselves – or even their wealthy family – over those of the country is dispicable, even now. Elizabeth Edwards told Oprah women should support each other. How was she supporting our half of the population by helping her husband possibly torpedo the election and allow McCain (no on domestic violence bill, no on equal bay bill) to win?  She doesn’t care about the rest of us girls at all. It is a shame she has cancer, but she was not an innocent bystander, she was a willing participant and perpetuator and I wouldn’t purchase a book of hers regardless of the level of juicy details she seeks to peddle.

She said on Today this morning that John made one mistake. One mistake. Bullshit. Utter nonsense. His boning of the ugly lady was a mistake, his political chicanery was far worse. He won’t even stand up and be a proper father to the child he helped create.

And until both Edwardses admit and take responsibility for their culpability to their supporters and the American people, no tell-alls, no speeches about poverty, no Larry King interviews will put them back in the good graces of the millions of us to whom this unforgettable lapse in judgment mattered in the first place.




Scarlet Letter of Atheism

a

Bloggers' Rights at EFF

Blog Stats

  • 95,676 hits
WordPress Political Blogger

Top Clicks

  • None