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ABF Friday:  Torture Edition!

So the kabuki dance is over, and the Party of Torture with Three Brave “Rebels” has ironed out its little differences and become, once again, the just plain Party of Torture.  And since the Party of Torture is now celebrating the triumph of its leader’s innovative legal theory, known to White House insiders and associates of John Yoo as “Arbitrary and Evil Interpretations of the Constitution and the Geneva Convention,” I figured that this humble blog could play an appropriate Arbitrary But Fun game:

Let’s pretend there’s an opposition party!

Let’s call this opposition party the “Credomats.” And let’s say you’re a Credomat Senator who’s (a) in a safe seat in a blue state or (b) not up for re-election this year or (c) in a closely contested race in which it might actually “benefit your campaign” and “energize your base” if you were to show some leadership on a critical human rights issue.  Or you could be a Credomat member of the House of Representatives who sees a great chance to step up onto the national stage in defense of truth, justice, and the American way.  Or you could be a mere candidate for office!  It’s your call—remember, kids, this is arbitrary but fun.

Now, here’s the deal.  All you have to do, in order to become a leading national figure among the Credomats over the weekend, is to get out there and say something like this:  “Torture and ‘extraordinary rendition’ are contrary to everything this nation stands for, every tradition of liberty and the rule of law for which our brave fighting men and women have died over the past 230 years.  This administration’s craven and reckless policy will not only endanger our servicemen and women overseas, all for the sake of ‘interrogations’ that have gotten us precisely zero useful intelligence in five years, as we have tortured mentally ill detainees whose pain-induced babblings have led us on one wild goose chase after another; it will also erode our moral fiber and damage us irreparably in the fight against totalitarianism and political extremism around the world.  No one who proposes such a policy is fit to lead this land of the free, and the political party that supports such a policy, and such a leader, can rightly be called anti-American.”

There!  It’s that easy.  You say a bunch of true things, you defend your country’s best political traditions, you remind millions of your fellow citizens that your party opposes the other party on some core issues, and you get some face time.  It’s a win-win-win-win!

Now, here’s the arbitrary but fun part: which member of the actually existing Democratic Party would you like to see in the role of the Leading Credomat?  Feel free to nominate yourself.  Or feel free to send some version of this post to the Democrat of your choice today!

While you’re thinking, here’s the latest meta-meta-MetaFilter joke about certain world leaders and certain graphic novels (troping off Auguste and Amanda’s meta-joke), courtesy of the intrepid blogger sometimes known as Hottie McNaturepants:


Thank you once again for your friendship and your matchless wit, Chris.  And I’ll close out this ABF Friday with a simple suggestion:  if everyone who’s enjoyed Chris Clarke’s work over the years, even to the point of nationalizing the Venezuelan coffee industry all over their monitors, would just take a moment to send Chris’s dog Zeke some love this weekend, that would be great.  And it would help restore balance to the Internets.

Posted by on 09/22 at 11:00 AM
  1. OK, I’ll be the first to say it.

    You! You should be the one to deliver the brilliant speech you wrote on your “web” “log!” Everyone in my house would vote for you.

    Rock on!

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  12:41 PM
  2. But I don’t want to quote myself!  That would be even worse than doing book-promotin’ on one’s own blog.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  12:43 PM
  3. Hi Michael, talk about a rhetorically complex post! I was all set to launch into some academic bullying of the pro-torture crowd when I followed your link to Chris’s post about his dog and now I don’t feel like it.

    I guess I can say this, in a non-academically bullying way about your excellent anti-torture post: it’s important you put in the qualifier “best” as in “your country’s best political traditions,” because the use of torture by Americans isn’t a new thing. If we want to condemn the Cheney Administration, we have to see what traditions they tap into, one of which is the torture of slaves. Most people don’t use the term “torture” with regard to slaves, using instead “discipline” or “punishment” or “being sent to the Charleston Work-House.” (The last is a hint as to a possible Google search for those interested.)

    I’m not faulting you to not mentioning slavery in your post, just adding some historical context as to what we’re up against in fighting The Party of Torture.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  09/22  at  12:50 PM
  4. *for* not mentioning! Sigh.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  09/22  at  12:52 PM
  5. Well I can’t disagree with MK above.  You’re a great spokesman and your quote above needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  I can’t help wishing some actual Democratic politicians with at least a little actual power would do the same.  Russ Feingold, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  12:52 PM
  6. A defense of basic rights guaranteed in the Magna Carta? That’s so 1215 thinking, Michael.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  09/22  at  12:56 PM
  7. If this is arbitrary and fun, then why do I feel like weeping. As my son puts it when he’s putting on his brave face, “My brain wants to cry.”

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:02 PM
  8. "Credomats” is inspired, Michael.  ‘Mats for short, of course, as in our beloved Placemats.

    I nominate Joe Lieberman to deliver your excellent speech.  Oh, wait, he’s no longer a ‘Mat.  He’s a member of the CFL Party.  ("Connecticut for Lieberman”—but can he really be a member of that party?  Wouldn’t it be like calling Marx a Marxist or Christ a Christian?)

    captcha, “when,” as in “when in the course of human events it becomes necessary to nationalize the coffee industry all over the monitor.”

    Posted by john  on  09/22  at  01:09 PM
  9. Thinking back to your Williams post, Michael: I wonder if delivering such a speech is perceived as not performable by politicians. If so, what are the ideological blinkers here and why have they bred true?

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:21 PM
  10. I’d nominate Chomsky, but I hear he died recently.

    In his stead, I nominate Charlie Rangel. He could say:

    1) torture is bad.
    2) Chavez’s remarks are equally as bad, but from the liberal left!
    3) profit!

    The Credomat Party must maintain at least a passing level of spinelessness so that the electorate doesn’t get whiplash.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:34 PM
  11. It’s disheartening to see justice treated like an impediment - especially in the name of justice. There’s no need to invoke slavery though; you’ll find the same struggle in interrogation rooms and prison cells everywhere; in boardrooms, and bar rooms alike; and across dimly lit kitchen tables where people whisper “you know, there’s a simple way we can solve this”.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  09/22  at  01:40 PM
  12. John (3-4, not john in 8), what are you talking about?  I read in The End of Racism that “the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.”

    And who is this “Chomsky” the people speak of?

    Roxanne has a point, of course.  1215 is so pre-9/11.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/22  at  01:46 PM
  13. This ought to be the moment when John McCain loses his status as a serious contender for the Presidency. If he can’t stand up to a pissy little man like G.W. Bush on a moral issue as clear-cut as torture, than he doesn’t deserve to be a significant figure in our political landscape.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:49 PM
  14. The obvious choice is Zell Miller.  Imagine: anti-torture statements airing on Fox News!  Splenderrific!

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:54 PM
  15. This ought to be the moment when John McCain loses his status as a serious contender for the Presidency. If he can’t stand up to a pissy little man like G.W. Bush on a moral issue as clear-cut as torture, than he doesn’t deserve to be a significant figure in our political landscape.

    Gotta disagree with you gy. He -did- stand up to Bush for a bit, and then folded. If that’s not enough to make him a significant figure then the whole Democratic party should be flushed down the toilet, as they were willing to do even less. That leaves us with the Bush wing of the Republicans as the only game in town

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  01:55 PM
  16. There’s an opposition party?!? That’s the problem with this blog. I can never figure out what’s meant to be satire and what isn’t. I almost got my hopes up.

    Posted by Bulworth  on  09/22  at  02:03 PM
  17. And all the Credomats gathered and raised their voices as one to say powerful words they freely admitted were written by an academic who wrote What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts?...and then I woke-up.

    Posted by George  on  09/22  at  02:10 PM
  18. Michael (12): you’re right, how silly of me. I forgot that the reality-creating powers of The Party of Torture are retroactive as well!

    Posted by John Protevi  on  09/22  at  02:14 PM
  19. Well, you never know, George.  By the time the Credomats are uttering those words as one, my little post here could have been made into a graphic novel, then posted somewhere on the Intertubes without attribution, then photoshopped into some UN speech.  By which point no one will have the faintest idea where these words “originally” “came from.”

    Posted by Michael  on  09/22  at  02:15 PM
  20. mathpants points out the moral dilemma: if an actual Credomat politician - as opposed to a dangeral academic like Michael - made this statement, the resulting cognitive dissonance in the American public would amount to torture ("pain equivalent to organ failure"). What to do?

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  02:31 PM
  21. How can Chomsky be dead? I didn’t see this noted at Corpus Obscura.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  09/22  at  02:42 PM
  22. So the kabuki dance is over oooh crap, you mean i missed a new version of the WLAtLA fala la la fa la la????

    Nobody expects the DickBushfeld Inquisition!!!!  I would prefer to see a renewed and reinvigorated SNL doing inquisition/torture skits, challenging their bosses at NBC and GE to shut them down.  Either that, or a made-over more-humble Feinstein calling from her SanFran mansion (conveniently placed on the Hill, almost big enough to visible from Mr. Clarke’s home on a clear day), asking this nation to beg her apology for supporting the ongoing war, and suggesting that mothers throughout the land might not feel very good about all this.  Afterall, aren’t the “sort of approved techniques” even more heinous than most cases of felony child abuse????

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  02:46 PM
  23. I nominate Credomat Clinton, Version 1; that way, he could add something like, “Yes, I authorized extra-ordinary rendition--I didn’t realize just how bad an idea that was to start with.”

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  02:47 PM
  24. mathpants points out the moral dilemma: if an actual Credomat politician - as opposed to a dangeral academic like Michael - made this statement, the resulting cognitive dissonance in the American public would amount to torture ("pain equivalent to organ failure"). What to do?

    Wow, you mathematicians really know how to screw up an ABF Friday with your Moebius-strip conundrums.  Obviously, what you all need to do in order to get the Credomats on board is to bring some of that K theory to K street.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/22  at  02:58 PM
  25. Terrible advice.  McCain would stand up clear his throat, and start talking about his 5 years of torture, and about how he knows about torture, and how the compromise he championed outlaws torture, and how could you say he would support tortue, after what he has been through, and about how you are just engaging in cheap political point scoring, and that would be that.  You would lose.

    In this intance you don’t want to brand and lump the GOP.  It seems that some folks in the GOP are against torture and some folks think the end result of this sausage will be an end to at the very least some of the torture -

    ‘Asked about one of the most controversial interrogation techniques, a simulated drowning known as water-boarding, Mr. Graham said, “It is a technique that we need to let the world know we are no longer engaging in.” ‘

    Now maybe it will and maybe it won’t.  But the point is that going after these folks along with the president is counter productive.

    Letting Republicans carry the water on this was the mistake. (If the goal was to maximize the political point score.) You wanted to use the Republicans as human shields while you sniped at Bush.  You should have let the wackiest amongst the Democrats stand right next to the Republicans, and let just the president have it with a double barreled blast of left wing kookiness.  The idea being Bush’s return fire might not be the most accurate.  So when Bush brands everyone a terrorist no one ends up being a terrorist.

    Same thing this fall.  Bash Bush and let voters associate Bush back to GOP canidates.  If individual canidates can be linked to the Bush bashing go for it.

    But oddly enough don’t make the issue the entire GOP.  Do NOT say we need to take the country back from the GOP/conservatives/and anyone ever associated with them in the name of the people and socialized medicine. When you do that you are only goading apathetic and disillusioned GOP voters to make a trip to the polls that they really don’t want to make.

    Let them stay home and play with themselves while they download porn on election night.

    Some the above is clearly a bit of projection on my part but overall I feel it is sound advice.

    Let Bush bashing get out your base and leave it at that.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  03:09 PM
  26. I agree with the speech.  However, there’s one problem with actually delivering it.  A majority of American voters are in favor of torture—at least, torture of brown people.

    Therefore, Reid, Pelosi, & co decided to let the clock run out on this rather than take a stand which, while it would be true, just, and favored by a near-majority of Americans, is actually an electoral loser.

    Blaming Bush for this (or Bush’s administration, really) is the Bad Apple President theory, as in, get rid of a few bad apples at the top, and the country is basically sound.  Unfortunately, it’s not true.  People have had plenty of chances to stop what Bush is doing, if a clear majority of them actually wanted to.  Yes, he’s unpopular, but that’s because of high gas prices, Katrina, and the upcoming loss of our aggressive war.  More torture, or another aggressive war, would make him more popular.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  03:56 PM
  27. OK, BigMac, so going after the GOP is a bad idea?  Pointing out that their control of Congress has prevented anyone from demanding accountability on Iraq and Katrina is a bad idea?  Credomats should keep quiet on torture and national security, confine themselves to Bush-bashing, and let the midterms be handed to them by apathetic and disillusioned Republicans who stay home?

    I dunno.  If I remember correctly, this kind of thing didn’t work out too well for the ‘Mats in 2002.  As for McCain and his history:  unless someone stands up and calls him on his innumerable flip-flops and unprincipled concessions to Bush, you’re looking forward to eight bleak years of the McCain Administration.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/22  at  04:04 PM
  28. Posted by J—  on  09/22  at  04:19 PM
  29. Christian,

    you make a good point. It might lessen the cognitive blow if our brave Credomat yelled out “Mandatory Sodomy for All!” at random intervals during the speech.

    Also, Michael, quit your slurs toward the nonorientable community; they’re always on your side, after all.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  04:50 PM
  30. BigMacAttack has my ear. Rove / Cheney have found a way to pose one of their many failures in a light that for the tiniest of instants makes it seem as if they’ve accomplished something. They haven’t but they’d rather spend the next 46 days talking about obstructionist Credomats than any of their own myriad lapses of competence.

    If this were a chess game the opponent has just offered a pawn. Since this opponent has been consistently beating us at this game look elsewhere, it’s a trap (and a sign of structural weakness)—worthy opponents don’t give away material. Credomats have winning combinations all over the board. Play the best lines aggressively. Ignore the losers.

    (Sympathies to Chris and Zeke.)

    Posted by black dog barking  on  09/22  at  05:29 PM
  31. Of course now we are relegated to the signifier: secular-progressives, and as such, we have lost our creeds and our place Mats.  O’Reilly writes in his version of a hundred something names that his intent is to “expose the secular-progressive movement in our country for exactly what it is, to explain why it is so harmful for America, and to identify the movement’s top leaders”.  I can only assume that Credomats are the least of his concerns, in that he further states : “My goal is to expose and defeat people who have the power to do you great harm. My weapons will be facts and superior analysis based on those facts” Credomats clearly have no capacity or power to do anything.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  05:36 PM
  32. It might lessen the cognitive blow if our brave Credomat yelled out “Mandatory Sodomy for All!” at random intervals during the speech.

    True. But we all know how hard it is to yell out anything at truly random intervals. The famous list of random numbers in alphabetical order might be helpful, but I can’t find it on any of the internets - it must be stuck in some tube (anybody who has ever taken the Tube won’t be surprised by this).

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  05:48 PM
  33. Now, here’s the arbitrary but fun part: which member of the actually existing Democratic Party would you like to see in the role of the Leading Credomat?

    How about: Any fucking one of them?

    Has any Democrat made any statement on this today? Anyone at all?? Buellar???

    Posted by dave  on  09/22  at  06:22 PM
  34. But oddly enough don’t make the issue the entire GOP.  Do NOT say we need to take the country back from the GOP/conservatives/and anyone ever associated with them in the name of the people and soci--


    Posted by dave  on  09/22  at  06:23 PM
  35. 1. Credomat.

    2. I may have a lead on the mystery of the two quick books, the many posts while taking a “break” and other duplicities practiced on this blog. Apparently there are two nearly identical English professors at Penn State (one’s a bit more Frenchified than the other.) Hard to believe but true! Check out entries 8 & 9 here. Doubt it? Click on the entries and you’ll see the resemblance to the picture on the book cover.

    3. I was thinking how rotten it would be to quote a sentence completely out-of-context from the thread at Pandagon like:

    Some old white guy writing a book doesn’t cause the forces of power in the world to quake in their boots no matter how good the book is.

    So I won’t.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  08:21 PM
  36. Hugo,
    That was a terrific comment. You said exactly what I was thinking but phrased it much more effortlessly and gracefully than I ever could. Thank you so much for saying it!

    ...One man’s Shibboleth is another man’s Jersey wall…

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  08:48 PM
  37. Unless there are sockpuppets creeping around that I’m unaware of, none of us are Democratic Senators, so none of us can actually do this.  (Of course the Democrats can more than talk; they collectively have the votes to filibuster this if they want to.  Never fear; they won’t.)

    But many of us are American citizens with votes in this—and future—elections.

    Here are the neither arbitrary, nor fun, but all too real questions:  This fall, will you vote for one of the Senate Democrats who will let this pass?  Will you continue to support this party, which is, charitably, the political equivalent of the Washington Generals?

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  09:30 PM
  38. If this were a chess game the opponent has just offered a pawn. Since this opponent has been consistently beating us at this game look elsewhere, it’s a trap (and a sign of structural weakness)

    Yeah but, this isn’t a chess game. 

    This is not even a situation that requires super-smart strategy, IMHO.  This is a situation that requires attack, gusto, honesty, maybe some organization.  If the Credomats said something like that, the people it would piss off are the people who already hate the Credomats, and would never vote for them in a million years anyway.

    The Demo.. er… Credomats are afraid of offending, but don’t realize that a lot of people will hate them no matter how inoffensive they are.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  10:00 PM
  39. "torture of brown people”

    You know, I see this all the time, and the only thing I can conclude is that some lefties are color-blind.  Most Arabs are white people, people! Look at some, would you please?

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  10:14 PM
  40. All that matters is that the pro-torture people think that they’re brown, JR.

    Posted by  on  09/22  at  10:50 PM
  41. About four (4) commentors wrote “me toos” to my proposal that a candidate for governor message on the return of the state guard from Iraq.

    So don’t expect too much from netocrats, big or small.

    I did manage to get one candidate for governor to run on that, and he got 25% of the primary vote, and has since left the (no)Credocrat Party for Greener pastures.

    For what its worth, Art. I, sec. 8, cl 16 may not be vacated by the Kabuki deal, since State X can still investigate violations of the discipline established by Congress (Geneva Conventions), and punish them where committed by members of the State Guard.

    Latest swing: http://wampum.wabanaki.net/vault/2006/09/003032.html

    Posted by ebw  on  09/23  at  01:19 AM
  42. Packed this off to Jason Altmire this morning. (Candidate against Melissa “The Democrats want to take your guns away!” Hart here in PA-04.) Will apprise of any upshot. Did not bother with Casey, as given his dynamic personality, maybe it is best if he just sits in his hole fending off only the most egregious personal attacks and let Rick “I’m really not a lying, hypocritical scum, I just play one in Washington for 5½ years out of every 6” Santorum let it all hang out in front of the voters in his self-constructed phlegm bag by himself. Then again, maybe Casey grows a ‘nad, I might do it after all - or maybe some else already has?

    You know, one characterization of every major act of this administration is craziness wrapped inside of despicability. The craziness in this case is that the techniques they are using derive from Communist practices designed to evoke quick fake confessions that served the needs of the state. Hmmm, maybe it’s not crazy, maybe it’s just despicability wrapped inside of despicability in this case.

    Or actually, maybe that explains the continuing paradox of them continually doing something morally dreadful and expedient, fucking even that up, and yet “winning” in the end. It’s all actually despicability, wrapped inside of craziness, wrapped inside of despicability.

    So it can now be revealed that participation in this blog has been a subtle training mission to learn to navigate multiple levels of deceipt, and now it’s time to go all Ender’s Game on their asses. 

    When Ender wins the last battle, Ender is told that he has not been playing a game, but instead has been commanding real ships across interstellar distances;

    Oops, didn’t mean to reveal that last.

    Posted by  on  09/23  at  11:20 AM
  43. well.. we could begin by asking them to be real specific about the actual text of the bill read into the record yesterday by Mr. McConnell.  These paragraphs seem to suggest (because of course they will not become clear until Frum or Hadley write the signing statement for Bush that expands them to rule out any chance of accountability for torture) that a great many paths to behavior worse than felony child abuse have been left quite open and free to be inflicted:

    `(c) Inapplicability of Certain Provisions- (1) The following provisions of this title shall not apply to trial by military commission under this chapter:

    `(A) Section 810 (article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to speedy trial, including any rule of courts-martial relating to speedy trial.

    `(B) Sections 831(a), (b), and (d) (articles 31(a), (b), and (d) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to compulsory self-incrimination.

    `(C) Section 832 (article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to pretrial investigation.

    Further on down the road:

    `(f) Geneva Conventions Not Establishing Source of Rights- No alien enemy unlawful combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights at his trial by military commission.

    This leaves it all up to some cabal in the administration to decide (whoopee, he’s the decider) how much vicarious violence they want perpetrated on people they don’t like:

    (3) INTERPRETATION BY THE PRESIDENT- (A) As provided by the Constitution and by this section, the President has the authority for the United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and to promulgate higher standards and administrative regulations for violations of treaty obligations which are not grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

    Under this section we find these lovely definitions:

    `(A) TORTURE- The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

    `(D) the term `serious physical pain or suffering’ shall be applied for purposes of paragraph (1)(B) as meaning bodily injury that involves–

    `(i) a substantial risk of death;

    `(ii) extreme physical pain;

    `(iii) a burn or physical disfigurement of a serious nature (other than cuts, abrasions, or bruises); or

    `(iv) significant loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty;

    Posted by  on  09/23  at  01:06 PM
  44. Sorry about two in a row, but Schmookler seems to have read this thread, but suggests asking for a: Discussion Question: How Should the Democrats Deal with These Fraudulent Republican Measures on the Bushite Crimes?

    Posted by  on  09/23  at  02:40 PM
  45. A pair of Biplane Curs, fresh off an Epic Lab Run, stopped in at the Nil Care Pub to give their Ulnar Biceps a workout, hoisting Burn Pic Ales at an Urbane Clip while contemplating the dinner menu.

    Lupine Crab with a Pelican Rub being spendy enough to induce a Ruble Panic, they settled for Nubile Carp in a Replica Bun, glancing around furtively as if to assure themselves they weren’t being mistaken for Credomats.

    Posted by  on  09/23  at  11:30 PM
  46. Orange, I believe comment 45 is to you.  Watch out, though—rumor has it that cloudsplitter (aka “Pellucid Trots") ran a mag once.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/24  at  09:36 AM
  47. My e-mail to my congressman...now I have to try to say something to my Republican senators.  Any suggestions?

    Mr. Lewis,
    Please, as my representative, speak out against any efforts to “legalize” torture - which is how I view the current Senate “compromise”.  Democrats in particular need to stand up and make it clear that we do not condone torture of any kind and that we do not need to redefine it in order to excuse horrible acts that have been committed in the name of our country. 

    I continue to be sickened by the claim that we “need” to be able to use extraordinary means to win the “war on terror”.  We do not.  As far as I am concerned, the continuing disregard of human rights by the current administration means we have already lost such a “war”...because we are also guilty of terror.  The only way to win such a “war” is by continuing to uphold human rights.

    I feel very strongly about this and I hope to see Democratic leadership speaking load and clear on our position on this issue.  If Democrats can’t take a stand here, where will they take a stand?  It’s time for them to get the word out - please let me know if I can help.

    Posted by  on  09/24  at  11:19 AM
  48. Very much on point.

    Posted by  on  09/24  at  03:22 PM
  49. The Republicans are also the party of Lincoln.  And of Condoleeza Rice.  And Colin Powell.  And Don King!  And Thomas Sowell.  And so on.

    The Democrats never wanted the Civil War.  Copperheads then, copperheads now.

    Neither party thinks green.  Pamela Anderson does.

    Posted by Kirby Olson  on  09/24  at  04:45 PM
  50. Chester Alan Arthur had webbed feet.  So did Marie Curie!  Though hers glowed in the dark.

    The seventeenth-century Diggers got dirty with all their digging.  Dirty then, dirty now.

    No one understands purple.  Except Justin Timberlake.

    Posted by Ybrik Noslo  on  09/24  at  07:23 PM
  51. Dirty Dirk Diggler’s dastardly divulgations doomed Divine Dick Armey’s divorce.

    Posted by  on  09/24  at  08:18 PM
  52. This is fun!

    A variety of observations took place:

    trout mask
    important breather holes
    special jellies
    Colin Powell
    third way beaver hi-hat moustache man

    Therefore, I vote for Brendan Nyhan to be King of Sweeden!

    Party of Torture + Party of Lincoln = Torture + Lincoln. Long as we’re talking gibberish, I will mix my notation and there’s not a damn thing you all can do about it.

    Posted by  on  09/24  at  08:43 PM
  53. The seventeenth-century Diggers got dirty with all their digging.

    Except Gerrard Winstanley, who wrote The Law Of Freedom on a platform. I’m pretty sure he made people take their boots off before they climbed up there.

    From what I’ve heard the Diggers were good at building platforms that nothing would roll off of.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  09/24  at  08:58 PM
  54. And Don King!

    This Don King?  The same Don King who hugged the man who promotes Bérubé’s graphic novel and called him “brother”?

    Posted by J—  on  09/24  at  10:23 PM
  55. You know, a lot of people are lovin’ that graphic novel.  Bob Avakian says “I loved it!  It was better than the graphic novel of Cats!” And I just got the nicest note from James Dobson, too.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/24  at  10:42 PM
  56. Bob Avakian says “I loved it!  It was better than the graphic novel of Cats!”

    Aha! I knew it - Michael is secret underground national academic organizer for Not in our Name and the RCP. That’s how he got all those votes on the “most danger[al] academic in the US"-poll at D. Ho.’s site - from the countless Maoists trolling the internets.

    Posted by  on  09/24  at  10:51 PM
  57. I was browsing in First Things, a Catholic journal edited by John Neuhaus out of NYC, and he called the Democrats “the party of death,” in reference to the abortion issue.

    I suppose this is going to become a new phrase. 

    Yours is the party of torture.

    Well, yours is the party of death.

    Well, yours is the party of genocide.

    Well, yours is a party but it isn’t even any fun.

    Yes, that Don King ran something for the Republicans under Bush where they went around and tried to get blacks to vote Republican.

    I love how funny this country is.  And it’s fun to see that the party of diversity can deal with intellectual diversity a little better than it used to—with a little more effort we’ll all be Republicans, as Sade nearly said.

    Posted by Kirby Olson  on  09/25  at  10:17 AM
  58. To quote Ronald Reagan, Kirby, there you go again, flattering yourself with the term “intellectual.” Would that it were so.

    But really, what’s wrong with a little lighthearted mockery of what you yourself present as surrealism? What were we supposed to do, take your Pamela Anderson line seriously?

    Posted by John Protevi  on  09/25  at  10:26 AM
  59. Who would you rather have for president: Pamela Anderson or Hillary Clinton?  Seriously.

    Anderson was born in Sweden so she doesn’t qualify, but I leave the hypothetical on the table.

    At some point some of you will be invited to the White House for dinner, and what would you rather have for dinner?  Vegan tofu legal alien shuffle, or whatever Bill has scarfed up guillotined and barbecued with way too much Arkansas “red” sauce?

    Posted by Kirby Olson  on  09/25  at  01:38 PM
  60. For too long the great minds have won at American elections. Bush, with his towering IQ, wiped out Kerry with his comparatively little one.  And before that Bush edged out even the guru of eco-doom by a point or two. 

    But I think we should stop counting dimples and start counting dimples, but it might require a change in the eligibility rules so that Arnold could face off against Pamela.

    They could just strip and pose for an hour, and whoever likes which body you dimple a chad or two and bang, one becomes president and one becomes the vice president.

    And then the rumors start, and we have TV shows and all kinds of spin.

    Finally, all this needless discussion of issues would stop.

    All we care about is beauty anyways and if people just had a beautiful president they would all get in shape, and start wearing cooler outfits.

    Even Foucault would be happy with results like these.

    No more debates: just wet t-shirt contests and strip contests.

    I’m not serious.

    Don’t really change all the laws just for me.

    (I’m secretly all about principles!)

    But sometimes it’s fun to plunge the mind of the reader into sin, just to separate the principled from the un.  Hee hee.

    Posted by Kirby Olson  on  09/25  at  06:36 PM
  61. Torture and ‘extraordinary rendition’ are contrary to everything this nation stands for, every tradition of liberty and the rule of law for which our brave fighting men and women have died over the past 230 years.

    Well let’s see.  There’s some degree of truth to the claim in the abstract sense that the Founders opposed “cruel and unusual punishment”, but the similarity between that and our interrogation of Islamofascist terrorists is superficial.  Both are unpleasant, but that’s about it.  For one thing the intent is completely different, for such interrogation isn’t punishment.  We’d be just as happy, for instance, were such people to gave up their information in exchange for a peach melba.  These aren’t issues with which the Founders grappled.  In fact, they generally haven’t been considered by philosophers, with the possible exception of David Hume. Such issues haven’t been decided. They’re our unique problem. You can mount an argument, but tradition won’t really help you at the margin.

    Furthermore, the contention that a terrorist with means to kill Americans by the thousands or tens of thousands be free of extreme unpleasantness is, perforce, equivalent to “Hume’s Horror"… which protected mass murderers provided only that they be absent a conscience.  Such a notion of liberty is slightly perverse, even if girded in noble phrases.

    Or to put things another way, I’ll wager that were we to transport back in time to 1943 to have a discussion with my uncle Marion before he went on his last bombing run over Hamburg, on the last day of his life, he might object to the notion that part of his motivation for laying down his life was to protect the likes of Kahlid Shaikh Mohammed from the mistaken impression that he might be on the verge drowning.  Betcha.

    But if you really think you’ve got a winning issue, have at at.  We’ll let the voters decide.

    Posted by Demosophist  on  10/04  at  04:01 PM





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