The following letter to the editor in today’s Oregonian irked me so much I had to submit a rebuttal.
Do whatever it takes to win
I am so angry I could spit. This idea that using waterboarding is torture and cannot be tolerated is insane. Tell that to the father of Nicholas Berg.
I know it’s been a while and politics tends to really skew one’s memory, but he was the young man whose head was sawn off on tape as the world watched in horror.
These wimped-out ideas are not only nuts but border on treason.
[it goes on in this manner for a bit more.]
In today’s letter column, Bill Casey writes that, “This idea that using waterboarding is torture and cannot be tolerated is insane. Tell that to the father of Nicholas Berg” and that these ideas “border on treason.” It’s interesting because Michael Berg, the father of Nicholas, ran for congress in 2006 on the Green party ticket and took a strong anti-war, anti-bush stance. He doesn’t like people using his dead son to make pro-war political points and he opposes torture and the occupation of Iraq. Should he be arrested for treason?
This headline is on the Huffington Post today.
I guess getting knocked up when you are 16 can now officially be considered a good career move. We’ll see you after a few years of non-stop media coverage, Ms. Spears–when you become a divorced drug addict that gets ridiculed for gaining seven pounds. On the bright side, you may be able to pull your life back together before your 21st birthday.
Nancy Pelosi and other democrats were briefed years ago on our illegal torture archipelago setup throughout the world. Not only did they stay mum about this program, but apparently didn’t object or even ask any questions about it at the time. Apologists point to the post 9/11 climate of fear or the fact that the briefings were by the CIA and thus secretive. None of this makes any sense. Glenn Greenwald says it perfectly:
the whole point of their being briefed is that they are expected to engage in oversight, which means that they are supposed to do something when they learn that the President and the CIA are breaking the law.
Why would they even bother to go to the briefings if they tell themselves ahead of time: “even if intelligence officials confess to serial, deliberate lawbreaking and vow to continue breaking the law, there is absoultely nothing I can do about it, because I’m sworn to secrecy”? That’s absurd. Their obligation to maintain the secrecy of classified information applies to proper and legal intelligence activities.
This is what we have for an opposition party. I’ll ask yet again: what exactly could this administration do to warrant censure/impeachment/imprisonment/exile?
In case you don’t follow the war as closely as you should, the enemy is in retreat and the forces of freedom are winning. If we would have listened to the critics and cut funding and pulled out, our enemies would be gloating right now.
Yes indeed, Bill O’Reilly has declared victory in the War on Christmas.
It was fun watching Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee argue this week over who Jesus likes more. Everyone knows Jesus loves Alan Keyes the most.
Every journalist that does a write up on Huckabbe gushes about how likable, funny and affable he is before moving on to his completely insane beliefs about abolishing the IRS, how the earth is 6,000 years old, how AIDS might be spread through casual contact, jesus this and jesus that. Nice guy though.
So a day after posting it, the pope comic is by far the most popular thing I’ve ever done.
If anyone in interested in a signed print of it, you can grab one here.
When I did my cartoon on cultural histories I thought I linked to the most ridiculous titles in my blog post, but it turns out I missed the motherload. ToothPick: Technology and Culture was released in October, written by Henry Petroski, the author of–and I kid you not– The Pencil.
A magazine ad I saw last night alerted me to this book, declaring that this “useful and ubiquitous tool finally gets its due!” To give you a glimpse of how exciting this book is, Publisher’s Weekly says, “Petroski occasionally offers a first-person perspective, describing the unpleasant feel of a bamboo pick or confessing that sometimes he’ll resort to a mechanical pencil.”
At the bottom of the ad it it has this:
Consider the Toothpick:
The phrase “jumped the shark” refers to the moment a good trend or TV show goes bad–it started when Fonzie jumped a shark on Happy Days. But what about when they continue and there’s just this moment where you realize not only how bad it is, but that the badness has reached such levels that it should be forcibly stopped–by law if necessary. I propose “toothpicked,” as in “cultural histories have toothpicked–time stop making them and pulp the ones that exist.”
Joe Ratzinger, who calls himself “pope bendict XVI”, recently issued an encyclical arguing against atheism and outright blaming it for most of history’s atrocities. He should open a history book or perhaps look at the current pedophile infestation he has been covering up with massive payments to victims.
The usual tactic is to note that Joseph Stalin was an atheist and thus insinuate that atheism leads to mass killing because there is no morality to it. And there isn’t. Atheism is not a moral philosophy nor a political movement–it’s simply a lack of a belief in god(s). One can be a strict science based atheist or a new age quack, a libertarian or a socialist. I’ve never known anyone who’s moral beliefs derived from atheism.
Since there is no God to create justice, it seems man himself is now called to establish justice. If in the face of this world’s suffering, protest against God is understandable, the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false. It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim.
Whether religious or not, most people would agree we need to improve life on earth. This includes establishing governments, creating laws, doing scientific research and creating art, among other things. Since god didn’t deliver unto us the constitution, evolutionary biology, medicine, democracy, or equality under the law since the dawn time, we’ve had to create them ourselves. Ratzinger finds that “presumptuous.” Most likely what he detests is that people have found routes to live fulfilling lives that don’t include attending his church.
A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. No one and nothing can answer for centuries of suffering. No one and nothing can guarantee that the cynicism of power–whatever beguiling ideological mask it adopts–will cease to dominate the world.
That’s right. We can’t guarantee it as centuries of atrocities have shown. We are on our own and it is up to us to make the world a better place. If we succeed, the power that will “cease to dominate the world” will be morally bankrupt frauds like Joe Ratzinger.
During the Democratic Debate on NPR Hillary Clinton tried to obscure her vote to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. The vote was non-binding and served only to ratchet up the rhetoric against Iran and served no diplomatic purpose whatsoever. Clinton’s vote was a clear move to position herself as tough on foreign policy for the general election.
Clinton defended her vote, saying it was non-binding and did not authorize Bush to take any action against Iran. “I think we do know that pressure on Iran does have an effect,” Clinton said.
Sen. Joe Biden (DE) challenged the idea that the Senate vote influenced Iran’s nuclear plans. “With all due respect to anybody who thinks that pressure brought this about, let’s get this straight. In 2003, they stopped their program,” Biden said.