Water boarding is dunking, just like at the carnival?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtEdbC2qrbE&w=425&h=344]

Still waiting on video of Sean Hannity being water boarded. Darn those busy schedules. He called water boarding “dunking,” which must mean it’s like the carnival event with softballs and a water tank. Such fun? Only, upside down, tied up and not in control of when you get out to breath.

Hannity is cunning. Language like “enhanced interrogation techniques” and now “dunking” attempt to redefine the action that our legal and military history defines as “torture.” Fox listeners start to believe it’s not torture because they don’t hear that word applied forthrightly.

Perverting the language to these means is propaganda.

Effective versus Moral

Effectiveness versus morality, oh, how do we choose?

At the end of World War II we executed Japanese soldiers who used the “water torture,” known euphemistically in some circles today as an “enhanced interrogation technique.”*

But, that circles’ definition has lost against the facts of history and inconvenient memo. The aim now is to define waterboarding as “effective,” thereby making it extra-legal or maybe even hunky dory.

Yes, the land of the free and the home of the effective.

Has a ring to it, no? Is that a principle inspire a nation?

“Effective” dishonors the men and women who have fought and died for greater principles.

Thanks to Paul Begala. I know he’s a pick one — liberal, socialist, Obama facist — so the facts he brings forth on The Huffington Post don’t count in effective circles. Read his post since he cites the documentation on the U.S. history of prosecutions and executions for war crimes like waterboarding.

Earth shaking handshaking

Men I find to be a Sort of Beings very badly constructed, as they are generally more easily provok’d than reconcil’d, more dispos’d to do Mischief to each other than to make Reparation, much more easily deceiv’d than undeceiv’d, and having more Pride and even Pleasure in killing than in begetting one another …

Benjamin Franklin

Does nothing change? The conservatives, led by the spitting bile of Hannibecknbaugh, forget their history.

Kennedy genially confronted Khrushchev.

Nixon flew to meet Mao.

Reagan embraced Soviet President Gorbachev.

George Bush held hands with Saudi Arabia’s King Faud.

And, President Obama gracefully shook hands with Hugo Chavez, who seemed most intent on getting in front of the cameras.

Was Khrushchev’s bombast any less than Chavez’s anti-American rants? Was the Soviet Union more or less of a threat?

Nixon’s and Reagan’s outreach helped turn history.

We have a terrible history in Latin America and the Caribbean, not just for in hindsight misbegotten support of dictators during the Cold War. Might a handshake be the beginning of a self-respect between neighbors?

Well, not if the absent of anything but invective Hannibecknbaugh has anything to do about it. Of course, perhaps Hannibecknbaugh hasn’t read Franklin’s despair over diplomacy.

President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev meet in Vienna, 03 June 1961
President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev meet in Vienna, 03 June 1961
Richard Nixon meets with Mao Zedong in 1972.
Richard Nixon meets with Mao Zedong in 1972.
Reagan and Gorbachev
Reagan and Gorbachev
George Bush and King Abdullah
George Bush and King Abdullah
President Obama stands to meet Hugo Chavez
President Obama stands to meet Hugo Chavez

Why our reaction to Susan Boyle is what is ugly

Tanya Gold writes in The Guardian why the reaction to the phenomenal Susan Boyle is ugly.

Why are we so shocked when “ugly” women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented.

Susan Boyle Triumphant
Susan Boyle Triumphant

Without doubt, the perversely applied standards of beauty torture many women. Think just of one extreme reaction: anorexia and bulimia. Evidence shows this beauty culture cult is spreading as these eating disorders are afflicting more men.

Our culture applies superficial standards that discriminate and tease and put down. Witness Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, just 11 years old, who was taunted and bullied to suicide.

How much juvenile meanness is passed off as humor by adults? Do you laugh?

Ms. Gold should make us all think, not necessarily about the beauty discrimination evinced over the wonderful Ms. Boyle, but about each of our inner dreams. Why do we let others’ superficial judgments define limits for ourselves? How much passion, talent and humanity is suppressed under layers of cultured self-doubt?

Be careful what you wish.

Which tea would be most appropriate to sip while watching the Republican Party get embarrassed by its wing nut elements at today’s tea bagging protest?

Critically, will the media, particularly tea bag mouthpiece Fox News, report the funding and organization behind this astroturf event? Key players: Freedom Works, which has lobbied for privitization of Social Security, Americans for Prosperity, backed by the oil-rich Koch family, and, Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Futures. The latter lists as its #4 contributor Peabody, the world’s largest coal company. Clean coal anyone?

The link above is to the Wall Street Journal, owned, as is Fox News, by Rupert Murdoch. Plenty of liberal opinion sites list the organizers behind the tea parties but citing them would just feed the frenzied.

Paul Joseph Goebbels Reborn

From out of right field, perhaps below the bleachers, comes the “revelation” in the fake (sic) Federal Register that President Obama has signed an executive order for $20.3 million in assistance to Palestinian “immigrants,” including those with ties to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.

The facts are something else, not surprisingly. The order by President Obama enables the State Department to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of the Gaza. Who but the most callous would deny humanitarian aide? Certainly not George W. Bush who, in 2003, signed a very similarly worded determination for $26 million. Does the Hanibecknbaugh cult think George is a traitor, too? More so if you’re just counting dollars.

This email train is little more than Goebbels reborn. Goebbels, for those who ignored their history, was Hitler’s propagandist. Goebbels committed suicide as Russian troops closed in on Hitler’s bunker as World War II came to an end in Europe.

The email plays on the nefarious and bigoted pre-election claims that President Obama was somehow secretly a Muslim.

Continue reading “Paul Joseph Goebbels Reborn”

A Christian Nation?

Interesting furor over President Obama’s statement in Turkey saying the US isn’t a Christian nation. In 2005, Larry King (no apologies here for this source) had several evangelists on his show, among them TD Jakes, whose answer to King on this same question was eloquent.

From the transcripts:

KING: Bishop Jakes, do you think America is a Christian nation?

JAKES: No. I think that America is a great nation that has a lot of Christians in it. And that distinction is very, very important, particularly when we look at politics. I’m afraid that we have to be careful that we don’t politicize God, and alienate people or try to use God as a keyhole to position him for politics. I think that he is far above politics, and transcends many of the ideas that we use for political agendas.

What I learned in kindergarten

Scientific American’s Earth 3.0 takes a Letterman approach to science with “Top 10 Myths about Sustainability.” We begin with a lesson from kindergarten:

Myth 1: Nobody knows what sustainability really means.

That’s not even close to being true. By all accounts, the modern sense of the word entered the lexicon in 1987 with the publication of Our Common Future, by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland commission after its chair, Norwegian diplomat Gro Harlem Brundtland). That report defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Or, in the words of countless kindergarten teachers, “Don’t take more than your share.”

Note that the definition says nothing about protecting the environment, even though the words “sustainable” and “sustainability” issue mostly from the mouths of environmentalists. That point leads to the second myth….