Wednesday, April 29, 2009



"The act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty."
(Random House Dictionary)

I'm sorry, but I think it's wrong. Under any circumstances for whatever reason.

I know many will argue that we have tortured in the recent past as a way to prevent another 9-11.

But what happened to the moral argument that we once had the upper hand in?

We used to be the good guys. We promoted democracy and freedom and humanitarianism. We stood for something different.

Now, I am not so naive as to assume that over our history we have not engaged in reprehensible acts of cruelty and deceit. Of course we have. We have done everything under the umbrella of preserving our freedom and protecting our way of life.

Sure, Al Qaeda wants to obliterate us. Sure we have enemies all over the place and sure, we are at risk.

But what exactly are we at risk of? Losing our lifestyle? Losing our vaunted liberties under our sacred Constitution? Losing our lives at the hands of those we deem the "bad guys?"

I submit that by resorting to the use of torture and condoning the acts of those who mete it out, we are losing everything we have ever believed in. We are losing our morality. We are become those we fight against.

We claim to believe in the rights of man. We claim to believe in the beauty of nature and the creation itself.

Yet we have collectively decided to allow the most heinous acts to be carried out in our name with the handy justification that, by doing so, we will be safe.

Certainly safe in the short term...but never safe from the slippery slope we are stepping on. It will only be a matter of time before we are a completely amoral society bereft of everything that made us proud as a people.

We will only be safe if we set the example of goodness over evil and of love over hate. We will only be safe if we hold on to our principles in the face of all odds no matter how steep.

I'm sure the bright minds in government and academia can come up with a better way to get information from someone without torture.

But do we want to try...?

And those who sanctioned and used torture as a means to an end should not be allowed to get away with, literally, murder. They should be held accountable. They should be investigated and if, guilty, jailed. If not, they will be exonerated in a court of law...not "pardoned" in the Oval Office.

President Obama has stated that we will not use torture. But to abandon the investigation of those who may have committed crimes is to sanction the behavior and to say that it was okay.

It was not okay.

We are not okay.


(One definition of "okay" is that it comes from the French and originally was "aux quais", which means "to the dock"...which was where slaves were put before being shipped out to the U.S....thought you'd like to know)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Endless Summers

Surprise, surprise...!

Larry Summers was paid handsomely for his expertise (read: access) by Wall Street before he came to Washington on his latest go around.

Who's kidding who? These guys are just very good at the game. They all know how to play and we're left holding the, increasingly empty, bag.

I watched "Rob Roy" with Liam Neeson last night (couldn't help think of his grief about Natasha Richardson, poor guy...I saw him on Broadway a few years back with his kids...just a regular dad walking with his children...tragic how that's all changed now...makes you think about priorities...)

He was ripped off by his local Marquis and almost killed by a hired gun (well, foil but don't quibble) after his house was burned and his wife (Jessica Lange) was raped. The Marquis was corrupt, the henchman was cruel and the peasants were left to toil endlessly in the mire of Scotland while the royalty drank champagne and ate pate...

Doesn't sound like much has changed. We watch as the treasury (sic) is depleted on behalf of millionaires who don't seem to know what the words "fairness" and "enough" mean.

Unemployment is up. People are being laid off left and right. Homes are being foreclosed upon. Factories are closing. People are scared and the Lords in Washington and on Wall Street are watching and laughing.

They don't give a damn. They have theirs. They have their multi-thousand/million dollar salaries and their health coverage. They have their chauffered Town Cars and their summer homes. Their kids are in the better schools and there is never a day that they worry about, really, anything except maybe being reelected or not being fired so they can continue the rape.

Poor Rick ass.

Larry Summers is a millionaire with a key to the revolving door.

Nothing's changed...and if Saint Barry doesn't get his act together he'll be one term and we'll all be eating Moose and playing hockey.

Actually the moose thing might be good...after all, you can only eat so much cat food (which does not taste like chicken) before you run out of lives...

Bring on '12...bring on "Change We Can Believe In..."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Technically Speaking

Ok, so the Feds allegedly withheld evidence in the Ted Stevens case.

I, for one, am neither surprised nor scandalized.

Ted Stevens seems to represent everything that is wrong with Washington. Entrenched elected officials in for (practically) life. Pork Barrell politics exemplified by his "Bridge to Nowhere." Tone deafness to the realities of the workingman. Arrogance. Greed. Bad fashion sense.


Good riddance.

But then, you say, that he was railroaded. Overzealous prosecutors "overreaching." The letter of the law. A glorified, sainted career ruined at the hands of jealous partisans. Oh, the shame! There goes The Union!

Baloney (Bologna..? Fried with peas...don't you just love how the pieces of meat curl up into little cups...little satellite dishes of flavor...?)

There goes the avarice of another politician who flew just a tad too close to the sun.

Sure, if it's true, the prosecutors erred (just like Alberto Gonzales erred in his dealings with those other prosecutors...) and they should resign and or be prosecuted themselves.

They should have, a) known better b), been smarter or ,c) known better.

But they didn't and now, on a technicality, the Prince of Pork, the Earl of Earmarks, the Alleged King of Corruption (alliteration...get over it ) is getting off.

True, he's out of office and one could wax philosophic about the what ifs... let's not, shall we.

But is the lesson learned?


Soon enough, we'll have another clown paraded before us in handcuffs doing the Gucci Perp Walk and he, too, will get off...on some other technicality.

"Round and round the Mulberry bush, the Monkey chased the Weasel. The Monkey said it was all in fun.

Down goes...the Republic!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To Infinity...and Beyond!

Here's what I don't get.

We (the Royal "we") pay CEOs billions of dollars annually to lead our multi-national corporations into profitability and health. We produce thousands of worthwhile products and services and provide employment for millions of hard working people around the globe.

But we can't seem to figure out the relationship between the finite resource of oil and the finite resources of the planet, such as clean air and water.

I suppose the reason is simple. Entrenched corruption, greed and short term priorities. The politicians are all in the pockets of the huge corporations and the huge corporations seem only to be concerned with huge profits, both for their upper level manangement but also for the stockholders.

Got it. Short term priorities. What seems to be a complete lack of concern for long term consequences.

And the population at large doesn't seem to have the stones to confront the problem and change the system from one of million dollar access to one of true democracy...where everyone is, in fact, equal...not more or less equal than his/her neighbor. we'll never change. Fine. there is corruption across the political spectrum (Ted Stevens dodged a big bullet...but at least he's no longer in Washington...maybe...)

Ok...profits and golden parachutes and bonuses are the motivation du jour in the executive suite.

Good. Let it all continue status quo...ante or otherwise.

But why in God's good name don't the, so-called, "Masters of the Universe" just make and sell good stuff.

The country mobilized in a heartbeat after Pearl Harbor and began making products (all of us, men, women and even children...) for the war effort. We sacrficed as a a a global community...on behalf of saving ourselves from the great threat of the day...the Nazis.

Well, the Nazis of today are represented in a different way...they are a combination of Al Qaeda, our "friends" in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and the almost irreversible decline of our natural environment.

Why don't the big corporations like ExxonMobil, GM, United Technologies, et al, simply retool to produce products that will help the planet.

Keep your bonuses. Make your Gazillion dollar profits. Continue to curry favor on K street. Keep taking money, under the table, from the Treasury. Keep on keepin' on. Don't change a damned thing.

Who cares? But just make stuff that will help rather than hinder.

If we all concentrated on manufacturing products that relied on alternative and sustainable fuels we would not only eliminate our need/dependency on foreign oil but we would, simultaneously, clean up the planet and make it inhabitable for many generations to come. Wouldn't it be fun to tell the Saudis to shove it the next time OPEC decides to cut production and we are forced to pay $5.oo/gallon?

Long term, multi-generational, visionary motivation. Your great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren. Not just you and your immediate needs.

But I suppose that's too much to ask of our great leaders, in and out of Washington.

My 12 year old knows that you can't sell what you don't have. You have to find something new to put in your lemondade stand if you run out of lemonade.
Apple juice...peach juice..Kool Aid.

But maybe we should save the Kool Aid until we really need it...

Jim Jones...we hardly knew ye!