An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Torture and lies

AR sent me this link to a segment from Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC, who as AR wrote: "shoots down the Bush Administration leftovers who are trying to take credit for killing Bin Laden. "

The one politician in Washington who actually has experienced torture, John McCain, spoke on the Senate floor (as well wrote an OpEd piece in the Washington Post) denouncing torture. But this has not stopped the liars from trying to link torturing detainees to the discovery of Bin Laden's location

Leon Pannetta, the current Head of the CIA, wrote a letter to McCain, which is now public, very specifically and emphatically disconnecting any link between the lie that tortured detainees gave up Bin Laden's location (or information leading to its discovery). But Pannetta debunking the lie in no uncertain terms has not stopped the liars from trying to link torturing detainees to the discovery of Bin Laden's location.

The O'Donnell segment goes into more detail and is well worth a viewing. In particular, I want to draw attention to this part of his closing:

As hard as it was for Navy Seal team 6 to kill Bin Laden it is even harder to kill political lies. Political lies can not be killed simply by the truth. Political lies will be told as long as there is a politician near a microphone with an incentive to tell that lie. And so the lie about torture leading to Bin Laden will be with us for a few more decades. It will no doubt grow quiet in its old age and then it will die. And it will finally be buried not by politicians but by historians.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No President Schwarzenegger

Those who feared an amendment to the Constitution followed by "President Schwarzenegger" can breath easy now. He has taken the Bill Clinton path. I read this morning that he fathered a child with "a member of his household staff." He had sex with the maid? Did I hear that right? Could his life be more like a movie cliche? Or a porno movie.

My favorite part is the following quote from the former Governator:

"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time,"


This will teach me to read more before posting. The child was born before he took office as Governor. So I guess the lesson here is not whether voters should judge a politician's behavior in personal life as part of his qualifications for office but that a rich powerful man can get away with whatever he likes as long as he doesn't get caught.

More to the point, all the talk of "family values" means nothing. It's just a stick or stone to throw in a fight.

And all this only generates political theater anyway. The differences between Democrat and a Republican have grown fewer and fewer over the years. This news, however amusing, only serves to distract. We are in a depression, the wealthy do not need ordinary American anymore, and we're fighting Seven Wars. That a rich movie star can buy and act his way into the California Governor's mansion while he can't resist cheating on his wife then gets away with the same behavior that resulted in the impeachment of a President unpopular with right-wing zealots is only a symptom. The disease remains untreated.

The latest info on how Arnold managed to do the needed damage control to stave of the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican "family values" voter. His behavior, as noted above, totally jumped the rails so badly that not even the most obtuse right-wing Republican could ignore it. What do you do when the wreckage piles up so high that the tabloid have endless fodder to work with?

Easy. Buy them. See The Last Word segment below for how a movie star with a bachelors degree in physical fitness from the University of Wisconsin can buy political office.

Maybe we should just auction off public offices. That would likely obtain the same result while reducing the deficit.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osama Sleeps with the Fishes

Editorial --- Editorial --- Editorial

There once was this organized crime family that had a sweet operation. It owned the Caribbean and Central America. Then it moved into South America. Later, when lots of money started coming out of the ground in the Middle East and parts of Africa, the family moved in there too.

Everywhere the family went, they knew how to grease the local wheels. Organized crime can't exist without the help of supposedly upstanding citizens.

But then the Family had a huge gang war with another big gang. During that time they had to hire a lot of local talent. One of the locals, a really ruthless hitman, looked really promising. So the family trained him - they trained him really well. Then after the family won its war lots of the local talent who used to work for the family went into business for themselves. You know what happens then. Inevitably the small operations grow big enough to compete with the family's operations. This guy tried to muscle the family out of one of its territories - he wants to be a Don himself. Then it's war again.

The family tried put out a hit on their old hired help but he kept one step ahead of them. He knew their tricks - they taught him well. He kept hitting their operation. And not just dropping a few bodies here and there but really spectacular stuff. Pretty much screaming "catch me if you can" with big explosions. The family killed some of their old hitman's new gang plus lots of taxpayers caught in the crossfire. Their former go to guy hit back with more of the same.

One day the family promoted a favorite son as head of the whole operation. Out of respect to an old and venerated Don the capos agreed to have his son put in charge. No one really took the son seriously nor expected him to have to do any heavy lifting - the operation was pretty much running itself by that time. Everyone treated him like a figurehead. But then one day the upstart yelled "Catch me if you can" with an explosion so big that no one could pretend he was just another wannabe. The family still couldn't find him and to be blunt the "favorite son" couldn't find his own sofa in his living room - but that's another story - so the family lashed out against anyone who they thought even might have known something about the big job.

The family goes on a tear for ten years and blows up tons of stuff trying to act like badasses and make up for being made to look like chumps. The favorite son wears out his welcome everywhere he goes, talks tough but can't ever find the Wannabe much less put a bullet in his head. Some of the guys the family gets its hands on turn up really badly worked over - and they're the ones found alive. Others treated to the family's hospitality are not so fortunate. The favorite son arranged some really sloppy and badly planned hits, killing lots of bystanders in the process. He did order a few successful hits on some pretty nasty competitors, but never the one guy he really wants. By the time the Family replaced him the situation wasn't getting embarrassing, it had been - and for quite some time.

But eventually Mr. Wannnabe's luck ran out. Informants tell us that the family once considered giving him up to the feds but he knew too much. No, they decided to do the hit, just as they planned all along, so no loose ends. No one wanted to hear this birdie sing at trial. And more importantly, they wanted to send a message to any other wannabe who thought he could take on the family: you mess with us then you sleep with the fishes.