One of my favorite quotes  is by Jenny Holzer when she was doing wonderful short statements 20-some years ago:




What I enjoy about investigations into government wrongdoing

The committee says, in essence -- most recently in the question of whether or not the memos of John Yoo and Jay Bybee justifying the use of torture amounted to war crimes in and of themselves --  "These two guys are conscienceless bastards, vicious lowlife sociopaths, and it was a close call, BUT we couldn't get enough hard evidence to prosecute."

Then the party faithful (politicspeak for asslickers) will put it this way: they were COMPLETELY EXONERATED of any wrongdoing because it was just a partisan witch hunt and "this shouldn't have been close -- and it wasn't, on the merits."

For John Yoo, prosecution was declined because "Yoo was an ideologue who entered government service with a warped vision of the world in which he sincerely believed."

In other words, he wasn't following vicious deranged orders -- he was already vicious and deranged before he ever went into government service. That wasn't not the justification for declining to prosecute -- the dismissal was solely because of lack of admissible evidence --  inadmissible because, as Yale Law Professor  Jack Balkin explained:

"...the only thing that saved Yoo in (Chief Prosector David) Margolis' eyes was that attorney ethical rules have been written by lawyers to protect themselves, and the bar is therefore so low that it basically includes only "sociopaths and people driven to theft and egregious incompetence by serious drug and alcohol abuse problems."

But they were "completely exonerated."

And when was the last time I heard that joke?

It was when the people investigating wrongdoing by the person Ed Schultz refers to a "Caribou Barbie"  came to the same "too close to call" conclusion. And Gov Palin loudly declared that she had been "completely exonerated," that it was "all political."

Maybe we could get something like Instant Replay on those "coin toss" decisions?

Nahh. As the professor said, the ones who need jail time are the same ones who wrote the laws.


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

Dr. Suess



The memories raised by the Tea Party

No, not the anti-Vietnam supposed revolution, although it also was a party -- lots of people having lots of fun being angry angry angry ... but no revolution

And not the Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington, Nathaniel Green revolution they salute and play dress-up with their favorites...

No -- more like the French Revolution but not quite -- no tumbrels, no guillotine but somehow there's a ringing ...

So I listened to what they're saying (and as Eugene Levy used to say on the Second City Show: "Wow -- pretty scary, eh kids?") and then I realized why they seem so familiar --- I saw the movie a long time ago. It was Peter Brook's film of Peter Weiss' Marat-Sade,* specifically the song they sing when the shit-hits-the-fan and the inmates take over the asylum:

Not a perfect match but close enough for mob rule:

Here's that song (with some verses removed to make the point):

Four years after the revolution and the old king's execution
Four years after, remember how those on top took their final bow
String up every aristocrat
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat...
Down with all of the ruling class
Throw all the generals out on their ass

Why do they have the gold?
Why do they have the power?
Why why why why why do they have the friends at the top?
Why do they have the jobs at the top?
We've got nothing, always had nothing
Nothing but holes, and millions of them
Living in holes, dying in holes
Holes in our bellies, and holes in our clothes
Marat, we're poor and the poor stay poor
Marat, don't make us wait any more

We want our rights and we don't care how
We want our revolution... now

--- the fact that our Tea Party folk flew in on planes or drove to the conference in $60,000 cars doesn't change the fact that they FEEL poor.

And, as with the inmates' complaint, even now, the righteous anger is being co-opted, stolen, sold and packaged into something that will allow the same old same old rich old white boys without ideas to steal the ones the Tea Party is putting forth and pretend they're actually feeling it.

Meet the new boss -- NOT the same as the old boss -- he IS the old boss

*-- Full title: The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.



In the world of the tone deaf, the king is blind

Walking through the local shopping center, I noticed a free-standing ad in front of the Citibank lobby.

I know what they intended to say, a word-of-mouth encouragement:

Tell someone you know about Citibank

Obviously they meant for the reader to pass along a positive and

"Tell someone you know (tell that person what?)
   Tell him or her about Citibank"

but, since recent events revealed them to be venal, avaricious beyond restraint and not even competent in their greed,  I read it as:

"Tell someone (tell someone what?): tell him or her
 (the nasty stuff) you know about Citibank."

Unintended truth.



The thing the USA media seems to not understand about the missionary kidnappers in Haiti

The people of Haiti are tired tired tired of proselytizers coming to their home and telling them that THEIR Haitian religion is a pile 0f satanic crap and that they are damned damned damned unless they eat the particular pile of crap THOSE visitors are selling.

You think some people might feel a LITTLE BIT INSULTED when people they've never met, who usually have never even been in their country or speak their language, come in all puffed up and absolutely sure that the spiritual values that have been a comfort and inspiration to the locals for hundreds of years is evil? You think?

How would we feel if we can even imagine it -- if Muslims and Santerians and Scientologists and Voudon priests showed up in our darkest most stressful hours (like running amok in Manhattan in September 2001 screaming their creed at the shell-shocked survivors) to tell us we're wrong all wrong been wrong from Day One and doomed to hideous destruction...  actually the Mormons have been doing that to Christians for the past 150+ years, which might account for the serious hostility Christians have for them.

I make no value judgments about the worth of any religion here -- this is purely intended to describe the reaction Haitians have when a bunch of white Gringos show up and abduct a couple dozen kids, intentionally skirting the legalities, to take them away and drill into them the glory of the Jew the Romans nailed to a cross.  (The fact that Haitian Voudon actually incorporates Christian saints in their pantheon doesn't seem to register.)

I make no judgment about any difference in the value of any of those beliefs.

But there is immense value in having the decency to respect other people's lives --

A bit of humility would be welcome.



US Baptists who kidnapped Haitian children have an excuse ...

"God is the one who called us to come here and we just really believed that this was his purpose," said Carla Thompson, another member of the group, which called itself the New Life Children's Refuge.

Look -- we (the US) guarantee people the right to believe any kind of crap they want - -and to NOT be subject to persecution or abuse because of it* ... but we do NOT guarantee them the right to force the rest of us to give a flying fuck about the instructions given them by their invisible friend (or the son of Sam, for that matter) ... if only -- among other reasons -- because of their rude assumption that none of us have thought about these matters and may have come to our own conclusions.

Certainly, the history of Americans in Haiti is integrally connected with the efforts of Protestants to tear the people forcibly away from their own religion** (an amalgam of their African religions and the Catholic Christianity they were taught when brought there as slaves).

Of course, preachers like Pat Robertson and other sociopathic bible-floggers are convinced that the Haitian religion is "SATANISM!" Not just the Voudon part, but also the part that is Roman Catholicism, which they consider a satanic cult. (Who do you think calls nuns "Satan's whores of Rome?" Not Jews or Buddhists.)

So -- the problem is this -- American law enforcement and political officials are terrified of making ANY criticism of ANY (American) crime done in the name of some god or other.

Again -- anyone can believe whatever, but even Jesus himself knew that it's important to  slide the fantasy around Caesar's pre-eminence.  That means no kidnapping of pagan children, no breast-beating  about how horribly Christians are discriminated against in America (because of the Jews, who of course, know nothing about discrimination) --and -- oh you poor shoeless abused Christians -- doing it in your own newspapers and on your OWN television network.
(Didn't Jesus say: "If you have your own TV network, sell it and give the money to the poor?)


*Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, Ishmael on  Queequeg's  pagan practices: "I would not deign to criticize anyone's religion. I would not even mock a colony of ants worshipping a toadstool." But that doesn't mean you can't NOTICE it IS a colony of ants worshiping a toadstool.
** There is a vile criminal history of bible-beaters in the Americas killing Native Americans from Mayans and Aztecs (and destroying their art and literature), to kidnapping Native American children in the USA to force them into Christian beliefs and English language instead of their own. Even mass abductions of all children in a town or region, most egregiously in - -but not limited to -- Arizona and New Mexico.


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