Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One More Rant Before I Go

Bunch of goddamn batteries powering Goldamn, Sachs' yacths and leer jets,
Bunch of goddamn wait staff working in one giant amusement park for the smartest thieves.



Just to mention something that is obvious, but hopefully not overlooked, i.e., if this country cannot pass a bill which insures that every citizen has access to medical care, which every developed country has managed to do (and got done many many years ago), there is something very fundamentally and structurally wrong with this country.
Such an event, in my mind, would confirm that we live with a completely corrupt and dysfunctional form of government. Forty nine states, each with bicameral legislative bodies, some of which have distinguished themselves recently with unabashed levels of incompetency and cluelessness. Then, graft a federal government over that, which is also bicameral, the non-representative portion of it being filled with officials who are certifiable morons and/or who are bought and sold like whores by wealthy contributors.

Talk about a Waterloo.

This is a defining moment in our history. Do we fulfill our supposed status as a "shining city on a hill" or continue our long slow decline into a second rate oligarchy?

I am not one prone to hyperbole.

I believe this to the depths of my soul.

I think my countrymen have a unique knack for shooting themselves in the foot. We can just give billions of dollars away to pure criminals as a reward for ripping us off, we can spend billions blowing up people who never did a damn thing to us, but GOD FORBID we spend any money making sure that everybody's healthcare is paid for up front. Much better to let it get even more expensive, make the profiteers even richer, and those of us in the middleclass can continue to pay for all the uninsured when they do get sick as they always do, and do get care at the hospital because you can't in good conscience let them die.

Bunch of goddamn assholes.

People in Europe work some 350 hours less a year than we do in this country. Even the Japanese work 150 hours less. We're starting to look more and more backwater and second rate as the time goes on. This is the legacy of our corporatist system.

Alright, enough ranting, gotta get the brownbag together for lunch and head to work.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sen. Menendez D-NJ Gives Us An Example

There was a lot of talk at #futureruby last week about George Orwell's essay, "Politics & The English Language," and how it is important to resist the vacuousness of modern English because it allows politicians and public figures to quite literally get away with murder:

If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Well, a friend of mine just received the e-mail from his senator, Robert Menendez (D-NJ):

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for prosecuting officials involved in cases of detainee torture under the Bush Administration. Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this vital issue.

I believe that protecting the American people is Congress' most sacred responsibility. In doing so, however, we must not compromise the values and virtues of our nation and our constitution. These values were broken under the Bush Administration with policies such as indefinitely detaining individuals while subjecting them to cruel and inhumane interrogation tactics, damaging our reputation around the world, and putting our own soldiers at increased risk.

In order to remedy these affronts to American values, some in Congress have proposed creating a special commission to investigate the harsh interrogation methods that the Bush administration approved for terrorism suspects. However, there is division among the current Administration and these congressional leaders as President Obama has expressed a need to wait for the results of an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The President has already moved to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted and desires to protect those officials that followed the legal advice in good faith from punishment. The question of how best to deal with the decisions of the previous Administration has been, and continues to be, widely debated in Washington and across the country.

On this, as with any issue, there are many different views on how to address the behavior of these government officials. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I work with colleagues to provide the tools to defend America from our enemies, while never ceding our standing as a nation of freedom and justice.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. This issue is very important to me, and I appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of concern. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about my work in the United States Senate.

Throughout five paragraphs and 354 words, Menendez manages to avoid saying anything at all, and not once does he use the word torture.

If you want to help push accountability for torture, this is the place to start.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I Ain't Scurred

Reminder from Tim F.:

As I wrote about four days after Obama won, when it comes to the Constitution there is no such thing as partly pregnant. The President’s oath of office obligates him to fully respect the Constitution of the United States (or at least make a believable show of doing so, which most Presidents treat as the same thing). Disrespecting that oath represents a fundamental and often criminal failure by the President to carry out his duties.

George Bush left the next administration with a clever Sophie’s Choice in that the only way to stop pissing all over the U.S. Constitution is to upset the mother of all apple carts. Necessary steps would include, at a minimum, releasing the prisoners whom we can’t prosecute because we tortured them and then prosecuting the torturers.

Obama doesn’t like upsetting apple carts. He was (by far) the best option that Spaghetti Monster offered to American voters that year, but nonetheless we had every reason to think that we would wait a long time before he brought down the flaming sword of Justice on Bush-era criminals. One could hope that Obama would let facts leak out until public pressure ‘forces’ him to do the right thing but nope, Obama seems pretty determined to keep the truth from leaking out as well.

The simple fact is that Obama doesn’t have a multifaceted decision to make. Doing the right thing (one could call that ‘respecting his oath of office’) will bring on a political shitstorm as every Republican down to the student government level declares that the government has gone commiefascist and starts digging bunkers in their back yard. If Obama doesn’t want that fight then he has to keep innocent people in cages and tell the courts and the international community to go f*ck themselves.

Let them dig their bunkers, let them demand that they can imprison anyone they want for as long as they want without trial. We know who the real fascists are, and if you're afraid of them, well... then you concede your world to them.