I can’t be the only person who, when turning on the news, feels like it is Groundhog Day. Take a look at what has been going over the newswires in the last few days:
1.) Bush and some crazy Middle Eastern dictator are having verbal spats, scaring the shit out of anyone with a brain and arousing Michael Ledeen and a few people excited about the ‘Rapture.’
2.) Radical Clerics in the Middle East are fomenting violence and having their followers burn churches because someone suggested (or may have seemed to suggest) that Islam is a violent religion.
3.) The Dixie Chicks have pissed someone off.
4.) Bill Maher is arguing with a network about what he can and can not say.
5.) We are STILL debating whether torture is bad.
6.) Iraq is a bloody mess, and there will be no troop cuts this year.
7.) The Pirates suck.
8.) Lobbyists for corporations are still having their way with the taxpayer, courtesy of a corrupt legislative process and crooked pols.
9.) We are still flying the space shuttle (the NASA equivalent of the Corvair), and lo and behold- we are worried that shit is falling off or hitting it midflight and we might kill some more scientists.
I feel like Bill Murray- except I just get fat when I gorge on pastries and I don’t get to hit on Andie McDowell every day.
It’s times like these where the immortal words of Mugatu come to mind: “They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
This is a complete media scam by NASA. As someone who’s spent hours in support rooms for the Mission Control Center, there is always shit coming out of the payload bay. Non-stop.
This is a “non-event” to get more news coverage. Pretty sad, really.
Well that is an encouraging thought. I hope that doesn’t include astronauts.
The Truth about Torture
“Ethics 101: A terrorist has planted a nuclear bomb in New York City. It will go off in one hour. A million people will die. You capture the terrorist. He knows where it is. He’s not talking.
Question: If you have the slightest belief that hanging this man by his thumbs will get you the information to save a million people, are you permitted to do it?”
Senate Figleaves Being Handed Out In Xtra Large CYA Size
Shorter Paul L.: The ends justify the means.
Yeah, but just imagine how bad everything would be if the Democrats were in charge.
1)Ahmadinejad is a product of Bush’s belligerance. No “Axis of Evil” speech, probably no “crazy Middle Eastern dictator”. Like Bush 41, Khatami is looking better and better.
2)Yes, Muslims are idiots for prooving with violence that they’re not a “religion of peace”. But wasn’t there someone around to suggest to the Pope that maybe now is not the best time to “poke the bear”? (or is it “poke the camel” in the ME?)
3)Re: Dixie Chicks – sometimes speaking out for what you believe is more important than money.
4)I’d like to see Bill Maher interview GWB and pull no punches. It isn’t that the Emperor has no clothes… it’s that the Emperor is a doofus.
5)Re: “torture” – This is not America.
6)Re: Bloody mess in Iraq. Read Fiasco if you haven’t. You will have no doubt as to who is responsible for said bloody mess, and why.
7)The Pirates need to hire a Billy Beane disciple and get that team out of the bad habits they have will 2nd rate free agents and the draft. A team that picks as high as they do every year should be able to stock up some young talent.
8)The people in power control the money. Lobbyists go to the money like moths to light. Blame the Republicans, past and present. The K Street Project is worse than any misguided social program ever enacted by Democrats.
9)Bush and Republicans should not be in running anything that relies on the highest level of science. They don’t even like science.
I’ll take your answer as no. 1 million are dead but we are still pure.
I’m sorry, but after a million dead I would guess that the US will become alot more savage and the left would scream Bush did not do enough.
Question: What is consisted Torture
Cold room? Panties on head? Female showing more than 5% of her skin?
When President Bush says “We do not torture”, what part of that don’t you understand?
Oh, right, begging the question. He has that problem too. It’s in the dictionary (and, for that matter, in a few international treaties besides), look it up.
The Other Steve
Well if you listen to the Republicans, the people of New York City deserve to die because they vote for Democrats.
So the answer is: Whose asking?
The Other Steve
Are you throwing a bachelor party for terrorists?
And are you endorsing strip clubs?
What about child pornos? Is that ok?
24 is not reality – it’s fiction.
But, in a hypothetical situation like that, torture away. I’d figure that the terrorist you torture for the information would give you bogus information. He’s already prepared to die for his cause and since the nuclear device is set to detonate in 60 minutes he only has to keep you chasing false leads for a little while.
Interogator: “Where is the nuclear device?”
Terrorist: “Not entirely sure. Maybe it’s with Ahmed in Queens. Perhaps Abdullah has it in the Bronx. Who knows, I’m just the courier. Our commander compartmentalized the information so all I was concerned with was delivering the final components. Have fun looking for the guys in one of the biggest cities in the world. I hear midtown rush hour traffic is a bitch. You’d better get going because you only have an hour.” (bear with me – it’s TV)
Interrogator: “We’re fucked.”
Your hypothetical situation is just a unserious word puzzle. If it gets to the point where there is a bomb set to detonate in NYC within an hour we already failed and all the torture in the world won’t make a difference.
The Other Steve
BTW… regarding this Pope quote and these muslims who are protesting.
Were their any protests in Europe?
Were these protests violent?
Anybody stopped to think that maybe protests in countries with dictatorships might be state sanctioned?
Mike in SLO
In response to Paul L, no you are not permitted to torture even in that case. What you’d do is torture anyway and then bear the consequences. In our democracy you would have a trial and there wouldn’t be a jury in the nation who would convict you under the circumstances you quoted. So you can still do the unthinkable to save millions of lives–you just need to take responsibility for your actions and know that in a nation of laws you can’t have exceptions.
The Other Steve
Rusty – Good point.
It strikes me that threatening to kill a suicide bomber if they don’t give up the location of a bomb is kind of a wasted excercise.
Seriously, is that the level of thought you’re offering? Because that’s just about the most brain-dead scenario I’ve ever seen.
In one hour, boyo, you’ve got no time, no time whatsoever, to find out if the “terrorist” you’ve captured actually is a terrorist, actually is connected to the plot to blow up NYC, actually knows anything useful. You’ve got no time, no time whatsoever, to corroborate anything the prisoner tells you.
Here’s the thing: If your prisoner is a terrorist? He’s committed to seeing that bomb go off. And time is on his side. He can hold out for, oh, 10 or 20 minutes, then break, and then babble like the proverbial brook, telling them the bomb is in the Empire State Buil – no, the Rockefeller Cen – no, the Lincoln Tunnel – or wait, maybe the Holland Tunnel? How about the Brooklyn Bridge? How about the men’s rest room in any one of 120 subway stations?… All he has to do is keep the interrogators in the dark, or chasing wild geese, for 60 minutes.
Here’s the other thing: If your prisoner is part of a plot, rather than a single crazy guy? His co-conspirators probably have a Plan B if one of them is captured. All they have to do is move the bomb and then, even if the prisoner tells you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in 10 minutes flat… you’re still right back where you started.
Jeebus on a Joystick, you’re a goombah.
While his nuts are connected to a car battery.
If the hypothetical terrorist is willing to die, how did he get caught alive?
Is he willing to die in a long-lasting painful way?
Mike in SLO,
Don’t you know that being Republican means never having to take responsibility for your actions?
Mike in SLO – exactly right. If a million lives depend on it, do it and be prepared to take responsibility and go to jail for breaking the law. But don’t make it the acceptable default option. And don’t count on it working when you really need it.
I remmeber the screams of Torture after Abu Ghraib for the naked twister and panties on head. So I would like to know where the line is being drawn.
The Mets won the NL East. It is, in fact, a new day.
Oh, right, the “frat party” defense. Please. Tell me that again after you’ve been taken off the street, imprisoned without charge, and sodomized with a broomstick, or killed.
You’re just asking more of the same – but scarier. Like I said, if NYC has one hour to live and you have your hands on “the” terrorist – knock yourself out. Torture the guy with every method you’ve ever dreamed of – it won’t make a difference.
Don’t we have drugs that can help us along with interrogations? Some sort of “truth serum“?
Mike in SLO,
exactly right. I hasten to add that is is one of the reasons we have executive pardons, because the law can’t cover every possible circumstance. The principle of the defense of necessity exists with good reason, and no jury in the country would convict for torturing to prevent a nuke from going off.
Sorry, not shorter, but longer Paul L: I believe every retarded piece of bullshit imprinted in my mind by Bushtards so I can hang out with the cool guys in our Jack Bauer costumes.
Care to list the times our republic has been saved in the nick of time by cutting off someone’s balls? The Israeli Supreme Court in 1999 couldn’t find one ticking time bomb averted in time by torture in their country when they banned torture. But I guess those silly Israelis just don’t have the experience with terrorism that our retardocons have in their “think tanks.”
Only in Bushland do people like Paul think their wacky twisted scenarios should become the default by which our nations laws and treaties should be based.
America, land of the
It’s textbook right-wing authoritarianism at work. And to anyone who’s interested in what actually was going on, check out this interview (that they apparently cite) for more.
Another thing that’s funny about the Bushland folk is that, on the one hand, they believe torture is an efficacious way to get information out of people – while, on the other hand, they also believe that they, themselves, would never break under torture, so they can despise as “cowards” the war zone journalists who told their captors whatever would keep them alive.
What proof do you have that torture will work? The guy can just make up a bunch of shit and laugh his ass off while his interrogators spend that hour chasing jackalopes.
Hmm. Whoops. I forgot. That IS the Bush strategy.
Uh. Never mind.
Strapping a guy to a wall so he has to stand for 40 hours straight.
Attaching electrodes to genitals.
Raping a man’s kid in front of him.
Just a few that come to mind.
Pb, that article linking authoritarianism and torture is both fascinating and frightening. Thanks for passing it along.
The Pirates make me sad. I’m a die-hard fan, but I don’t even have a glimmer of hope for next year. Until Dave Littlefield and Ed Creech are fired, this team isn’t going anywhere (and even then, we still might be sabotaged by our god-awful ownership).
The Other Steve
Paul L didn’t answer my questions, to his question about what is torture.
Are you throwing a bachelor party for terrorists?
And are you endorsing strip clubs?
What about child pornos? Is that ok?
Pb, the following reference says it all from your link :
No Unless we can get the Duke Lacrosse accuser.
No. I heard the 9/11 hijackers liked them.
No. It would be too tame for them. They prefer the ending “strap bombs on them when we’re done and drop them off at the bagel shop ”
I do endorse sending them to a university feminist study department or a NOW meeting. That will break their wills.
So he wrote a book; I haven’t read it. In any case, feel free to refute it, or whatever was cited from it, on the merits.
Guys, I have the slightest inkling that Paul L may himself be a terrorist who has planted a super-mega-nuclear device in the core of the earth.
Now, the chances of him being a terrorist are infintesimal, but the badness of the world blowing up is infinitely large. Doing a little multiplication with my “Abu Gonzales: Torture! Or Just Waterboard?” Play-At-Home Edition electronic board game, we see there is NO CHOICE (that’s what it keep blinking) but to torture Paul L. You know, just in case. After that, we can move ahead 4 spaces to land on “Build Muslim Internment Camp, roll again.”
Your duty is clear under the (less than) one percent doctrine.
What I find amazing about the anti-authoritarianism people is their willingness to submit to the the authority of the UN, World Court, Kyoto Protocol, “World Community” or a “Global Test”.
Yeh, it’s tough to understand why someone would sign on with something they agree with, like the Kyoto Protocol.
Very, very weird.
The intersection of those two items reminds me a shirt my sister had that said something along the lines of “If you say anything bad about Detroit, I’ll kill you.” Obviously, t-shirt irony is generally intentonal.
Of course that’s not necessarily anti-authoritarian, but as authorities go, the UN isn’t much of one, and the others, less so. And it isn’t really ‘submission’ per se when you’ve got a permanent veto, or when you voluntarily agree to the terms of a treaty. As for a “global test“, that makes quite a bit of sense as well, or at least it did in context:
Unless, that is, you’re advocating the position where you just keep the American people in the dark, and can’t in fact justify your waging of pre-emptive war. You know, the fundamental Authoritarian values of having an uninformed populace, and using war only as a first resort.
Paul L laughingly cites the “ticking timebomb” scenario and asks if it’s ok to “hang the suspect by his thumbs” (or tickle him with a feather I suppose).
Paul L, how many of the people we have tortured, some of them to death, fit into your ticking timebomb scenario? How does this red herring justify torture during a fishing (fisting) expedition or just to pass the time?
I want to bitch about (9) NASA. Stop this meaningless orbiting, already! NASA has become a useless, self-serving bureaucracy, on par with the REA. Both exist to exist. Rural America was wired completely decades ago, and we beat the Soviets to the moon decades ago as well. Stop it!
On #7: re: Pirates Sucking — I disagree, since the All-Star Break, the Pirates are actually playing competent .500 ish baseball and they are not making too many stupid errors that should have stopped players from getting past AA-ball. They are actually enjoyable to watch and can play good ball, as the Mets saw last weekend. I have some hope for the future as all the young pitching will have had some significant experience and growing pains out of the way by the start of next year, and there should be enough offense to make things interesting.
On torture, Charles Krauthammer is clearly a loon. There’s a straightforward practical response to his question that involves a comparable hypothetical scenario (one that’s a lot more likely): A U.S. soldier is captured by an enemy force and tortured for information. He is rescued and his torturers captured. I think Krauthammer would have to say that the torturers should be punished because they didn’t have a good enough reason to torture someone–after a careful analysis of why they thought the U.S. soldier should have been tortured, what they had to lose, etc. I would say the torturers should be punished because they tortured someone.
uh…hmmm….yea….how is this NOT just the complete opposite to what he said days ago during a speech?
Did he go all “soveriegn (sp?) nation” on some reporter’s ass when they asked about this?
There are so many problems with this it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s see…
1) How do we know he knows where it is?
2) What makes you think that with only an hour remaining you can crack him and still have time to get to and disable the bomb?
3) Are you planning to stop torturing him when he tells you something – anything – that sounds like the right place?
The answer to your question is “No. You do not have permission to hang someone from his thumbs on the slightest chance it will get you the information.” The reason is quite simple, but is best told by an old joke.
Madam, will you sleep with me for 1 million dollars?
Madam, will you sleep with me for one dollar?
[gasp] What sort of woman do you think I am?
Madam, we’ve determined that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.
There are actually some massive benefits available if we’d just push further. The orbits are (forgive the pun) just a holding action so it doesn’t cost even more just to get to where we already are. For what it’s worth, the reason we don’t push for the benefits is that they fall into one of two broad categories:
1) The benefits are subtle. In this case are (for example) gains in crystal formation that will indirectly affect both the quality (improve) and cost (decrease) of artificial crystals used in a host of electronics. Yes, cosmological studies pay off eventually and indirectly.
2) The cost hurdle of getting the benefits are extremely high. One example is the establishment of solar power satellites with microwave or green laser transmitters aimed at receiving antennas down here. (Yes, I know of the worries of energy through atmosphere – I’m shorthanding this.) Once the stuff is in place it’ll pay big bucks, but getting someone(s) to pony up the cost of getting it all into place is… It’ll take large corporations or governments, and the structure and habit of getting to orbit and doing things that involve assembly of pieces will matter.
t. jasper parnell
I posted this on another thread, but it might be applicablehere as well
On the issue of torture’s effectiveness I offer two pieces of evidence. From Jane Mayer, “Junior: The clandestine life of America’s top Al Qaeda source”, The New Yorker, Sept 11, 2006 34-47, 47:
“Cloonan [who successfully debriefed AQ member Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl who voluntarily surrendered], too, is a skeptic about the Bush Administration’s commands to hand terrorism suspects roufhtly . . . “You think that all of this stuff about torture is going to make people want to cojme to us?” Cloonan asked. “That’s why I get upset when I hear people talking about stress positions, loud music, and dogs.” Looking back, he said, “There is alot of stuff[Fadl] talked about in casual, non-threatening momentts.”
From Lieutenant General John Kimmons, deputy chief of staff for intelligence on the new field manual :
cannot beat or elctricallhy shock or burn them or inflictg other forms of phuysical pain any form of physical pain. they may not use water boarding. . . .When asked weather some of the now forbidden forms of torture might have been useful in gaining information, General Kimmons directly contradicted what his Commander-in-Chief wa saying at [the same time] at the White House:
[General Kimmon direct qoute] No good intellignece is going to com from abusive practices. I think histgory tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that. And, moreover, any piece of intelligence which obtrained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can’t afford to go there. some of our most significant successes on the battlfield have been—in fact I would say all of the them, almost categoricallhy all of them, hagve accrued from the expert interrogators using mixtures of authorized humane interrogations practices, in clearver ways that you would hope Americans would use them, to push the envelope withing the bookends of legal, moral and ethical, now as further refined by the this field manual. So we don’t need abusive practices in there”
quoted and cited George Packer, The New Yorker, September 18, 2006, 26
Please excuse the typos.
If strip clubs are outlawed, the terrorists win.
Also, ixnay on the Groundhog Day. You need Andie McDowall to have Groundhog Day.
Wait, Larry, just wait. What about the laws in Tampa where strippers cannot be within 10 feet of a customer? It’s not quite surrender to the terrorists, but it does sound like appeasement to me.
They hate us for our lap dances.
Ethics 101 and 1/2:
A terrorist has your child at gunpoint. They are threatening to shoot her unless you steal a VCR from Wal-mart. Do you steal the VCR or allow your child to die?
Obviously, you steal the VCR. Therefore it should be legal to steal VCRs. Q.E.D.
Okay, big obvious problem with this one–who’s going to be stealing a VCR in this day and age? You could get one out of your neighbor’s garbage can for free…duh!
And of course, was there ever any doubt that it was entirely acceptable to steal from Walmart?
Jess, I propose that you teach a short course on Walmartian Ethics: Kierkegaard Finds Meaning in the Housewares Department.
I grew up in the area in the 40’s and 50’s. They’re just reverting to form.