Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A very good piece of writing

It's this kind of thing, along with MapQuest, that makes the internets worthwhile.

I couldn’t understand why the police were wearing brown, that’s all I could think when we entered the house. Two policemen wearing brown taking Ricky away, because he shot a very sweet neighbor who plays golf everyday. You look for clues to explain what’s happening, something to tell you it’s all a big mistake, something askew sticks out and that was it, police dressed wrong isn’t right, policemen wear blue uniforms, these police are dressed in brown, this must be a dream.

Great stuff. On so many levels.

It's a tough job...

In this morning's edition, the New York Times reports that the "Democrats" are pathetically weak and helpless. But it's not their fault. The Republicans are just way tooo strong.

Mr. McConnell and his fellow Republicans are playing such tight defense, blocking nearly every bill proposed by the slim Democratic majority that they are increasingly able to dictate what they want, much to the dismay of the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, and frustrated Democrats in the House.

In fact, the Senate Republicans are so accustomed to blocking measures that when the Democrats finally agreed last week to their demands on a bill to repair the alternative minimum tax, the Republicans still objected, briefly blocking the version of the bill that they wanted before scrambling to approve it later.

The Democrats send out daily tallies of the number of Republican filibusters, which the Democrats say will set a record.

You may recall that it was not so long ago that the "Democrats" were the minority party and they were unable to block much of anything at all. When they had the temerity to threaten to use the filibuster, the Republicans just laughed and threatened to abolish it altogether, arguing that it was unconstitutional. The "Democrats," as is befitting their job description, promptly caved and gave the Republicans everything they demanded.

You may also note that the "Democrats" fail to use the same awesome power of the filibuster even now when they are the majority party and could easily defeat Republican diktats. But that's not gonna happen, now is it? Defeating Republican diktats is not their job. Quite the contrary.

It's actually much more difficult for the "Democrats" being in the majority. How can they constantly lose when they control both houses of Congress? Especially whey the Republicans just spent so many years getting every single thing they wanted when they were in the majority.

It's simply impossible for a political party to be that weak and strategically inept. The only rational explanation is that it is the "Democrats" job to be defeated. I think we can safely count on much hilarity to ensue if they win the White House and large majorities in the House and Senate. How will they manage to cave in to every single Republican demand then? Oh, I trust they'll manage. They have proven extremely resilient in their relentless pursuit of weakness. If it weren't for the comedic value, I'd have stopped paying attention long ago.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nothing to see here, move along (enhanced edition)

Via the New York Times, some blogger asks a question:

Jay Rockefeller is constantly learning of legally dubious (at best) C.I.A. intelligence activities, and then saying nothing about them publicly until they are leaked to the press, at which point he expresses outrage and incredulity — but reveals nothing. Really, isn’t it about time the Democrats select an effective Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one who will treat this scandal with the seriousness it deserves, and who will shed much-needed light on the C.I.A. program of torture, cruel treatment and obstruction of evidence?

What the naifs who populate the top echelons of our press and punditry fail to realize is -- as usual -- the obvious. Jay Rockefeller is an effective Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee precisely because he covers up these things. When you are a prominent member of a fake opposition party, the willingness to cover up for the bad guys is one of the most important qualifications for the job.

Look at any issue and you’ll find “democrats” following the same script. They use their positions in government to cover up the inner party’s high crimes and lesser misdeeds then blather fake outrage and do nothing when anything illegal or embarrassing comes to light.

And everyday the same old becomes new again:
For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised.

Objections were not raised? However could that be?

The press, which fulfills its function as a guardian of truth only slightly better than the “democrats fulfill their role as real political party, still has trouble calling torture torture. Beating, breaking bones, wiring genitals, drowning people; none of that is torture. Those interrogations may be harsh. They may be severe. But they are not torture. They are nothing more than techniques, methods and tactics. Good things all. And sometimes these techniques, methods, and tactics are enhanced! The goodness never stops!

But occasionally some truth slips past the gatekeepers.
Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.

Of course the fact that the US is aping the worst totalitarian nations in the history of humankind comes near the end of the article and the fact that it’s blatantly illegal comes far past the point in the piece where 95 percent of the readers will have stopped reading. Hmmmm, top government officials in both parties collude to commit horrible crimes against humanity in the worst tradition of Hitler, Stalin, and Torquemada. Big news, you'd think.

In journalism-speak that’s what's known as burying the lede. I suspect that pretty soon the powers that be will figure out that they’re in for a dime, might as well be in for a dollar and figure uncle Joe knows best. They’ll put an end to the journalists' practice of burying uncomfortable facts deep in the article and start burying the journalists who publish facts instead.