My Photo

« This Redstater Departs From Blanton | Main | Media Bias Strikes Again »

December 06, 2005

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e200d83426087b53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Liar, Liar: Take 3: In Which George W. Bush Reveals That He Lives In An Alternate Universe:

» What planet is Bush living on? from Tariqat
I usually try to give the benefit of the doubt to people who say things that aren't true; there are plenty of reasons why a person might say something untrue: he could be mistaken, or misinformed, or simply mis-speaking (we [Read More]

» Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars (Or Is George W. Bush Really That Uninformed? Edition) from Brad DeLong's Website
Hilzoy writes: Obsidian Wings: Liar, Liar: Take 3: In Which George W. Bush Reveals That He Lives In An Alternate Universe: Today President Bush said this: "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remai... [Read More]

» Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars (Or Is George W. Bush Really That Uninformed? Edition) from Brad DeLong's Website
Hilzoy writes: Obsidian Wings: Liar, Liar: Take 3: In Which George W. Bush Reveals That He Lives In An Alternate Universe: Today President Bush said this: "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remai... [Read More]

Comments

forgot to add: h/t Katherine, who sent me a news report about this.

And to clarify: I am not surprised that he's lying. I just think that we should never stop being outraged by the mendacity of our elected leaders.

I didn't think any lies could get more blatant than some of what I heard coming out of Rice's mouth yesterday, but apparently I was wrong.

There does seem to be a new level of baldfacedness about this whopper. I hope at least someone in the "MSM" will point this out.

NPR actually fisked Condi's tall tales yesterday. they'd play a line of her's, then someone would come in and rebut.

very nice

I care a great deal, hilzoy. Beyond writing checks to Amnesty or HRW, what can I do about it?

You are missing the critical link.

He is defining "render" as "send to a country for the express purpose of torture."

"I could go on (Saudi Arabia, Morocco, etc.), but why bother? It's clear that we render prisoners to countries that engage in torture. So why has our President just flatly denied it? "

Once again, for domestic consumption. We are testing whether there are any limits whatsoever to the "you can fool some of the people all of the time" theory of rhetoric. Judging by the folks at Redstate who commented on the post cited by Charles, one can get 30+% of the electorate with this.

Will: but that's just not what 'render' means.

I mean, I guess we could make all the President's statements come out true by redefining all the words, Humpty-Dumpty style, so that when he says "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same", what he actually means is "I'd rather be clearing brush right now than answering these annoying questions', but srely that would be excessive?

Are we so inured to administration dishonesty that when our President says something that's simply and obviously false, no one cares?

Sadly yes.

Who would have thought that it would come to this? That a US President and Secretary of State would have to deny to our allies that we "render" prisoners for torture in foriegn states... and that the denial would be a BALDFACED LIE! How anyone with a brain and a conscience can support this administration at this point is hard to understand.

i guess it all just depends on what the meaning of the word "torture" is (or what "imminent", "operative", "covert", "terrorist", "learned" and "consent" mean)

The message broadcast on NPR from Cheney, (the brave) was that 'We are at war with the most immoral opponents, who don't play by the standard rules and need this special attention.' [Pretty much the same lines I heard from Rice (although I'd say she sounded retrievable and Cheney a lost cause)--the coordinated message.] It was followed by 2 commentaries which I think would/should have galvanized the NPR crowd against Cheney.
The Foxnews crowd has other interests.
Frank introduces the idea that citizens are being tortured with this issue.
Just not the Foxnews crowd.

AFAICT , the Fox News crowd has shifted from "it was just a few bad apples" to "so what? we need to do everything we can! at least we don't behead people !"

while i agree with your point, i don't think the u.s. renders people to uzbekistan or syria anymore. the bush administration has had a serious falling out with each of those regimes.

upyernoz: true, but he does say not just that we aren't doing it now, but that "That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same."

Hilzoy: I completely agree that Bush has adopted Humpty speak:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

Thanks for your continued excellent posts.

hilzoy, many a true word is spoken in jest.

...when he says "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same", what he actually means is "I'd rather be clearing brush right now than answering these annoying questions', but srely that would be excessive?

I think you are very close to the truth there. I mean, I don't think his heart is in it any longer. This is far from the first whopper, but at least in the past there was usually some way to explain them away. Some may have been hard to explain: my particular favorite is when he said (in the oval office, with Kofi Annan present) that Saddam Hussein didn't allow the inspectors in. Still, the moment would pass and the public would forget.

This time, he has to keep repeating a lie over and over and it's just not working. It must be very tiring.

AFAICT , the Fox News crowd has shifted from "it was just a few bad apples" to "so what? we need to do everything we can! at least we don't behead people !"

Yet.

Not really the biggest deal, but: who originally came up with this "pain comparable to major organ failure" phrase, and has anyone pointed out how meaningless it is? I take care of people with heart failure, liver failure, and renal failure every day. Although they certainly make life unpleasant as well as shorter, they're rarely "painful" in the OW! sense. They're more likely to produce symptoms like severe fatigue, trouble breathing, disorientation, and fear that you're going to die - pretty similar to the kinds of abuse the administration is defending. And diseases like cancer can be horribly painful, or not, with little correlation to how close they are to killing you.

I don't think his heart is in it any longer

I speculated here once that Bush, after winning re-election and invading Iraq, had accomplished all he really wanted to accomplish as President and is now just bored with the whole idea.

OT: hilzoy, what about Clark's NYT op-ed the other day? See Kevin Drum for something like my reaction.

who originally came up with this "pain comparable to major organ failure" phrase

John Yoo (sorry katherine), formerly of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel and current law professor at Berkeley (unless he's on leave somewhere).

Full disclosure: he's also a former prof of mine.


I would sooooo love it if some foreign leader would present Bush, or Rice, with a gift. Publicly. A torturer/executioner's hood.

Didn't the original Bybee/Yoo memo use "organ failure" in the sense of "it's only torture if it actually causes severe injury, organ failure, or death"? I seem to remember that at some point there was a shift in the rhetoric from "causes" to "feels like", which made an already flimsy rationalization even flimsier. Google hasn't been much help with this - I see the two standards cited sort of interchangeably.

"I speculated here once that Bush, after winning re-election and invading Iraq, had accomplished all he really wanted to accomplish as President and is now just bored with the whole idea"

Apart from starting the war, I think the only thing he's had any interest or enthusiasm for was the tee-ball on the White House lawn, where he got to hang out with hall-of-famer types.

Stickler's "yet" rings depressingly true with me. If they aren't seriously stopped or slowed, I see every reason to expect the televised execution of alleged terrorists, by degrading and brutal means, before 2009. It seems to me the obvious progression in the emphasis on will: when all else fails, get nastier and push harder and shout louder. It won't actually help, but it gives the intimidated reason to fear and the lackey-minded reason to obey. This is the stuff of the "How the Worst Come Out on Top" chapter of Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. (And for that matter the pathetic end of Harold Emery Lauder in Stephen King's The Stand, and we see defenders of this ghastly affair writing their version's of Lauder's last note as, one by one, they drop by the wayside.)

Once all questions of morality and practicality go out the window, and they have, why not go for the tactics of our enemies and efforts to one-up them?

Sadly, but obviously all the commentators have missed the train! Bush is no humty-dumpty. He is a different manifestation of Saddam Hussein. Which one of you can guarantee the safety of all U.S.A. citizens once the US govt. has run out of "suspect terrorists" from the minority Muslim-scapegoat population? Yes the US govt. is begin redesigned to such an extent that the eventual victims will be the US non-Muslim dissenting portion of the population. You folks should seriously reconsider your mindset. If you want to solve a problem, look for the root cause. Someone might say Bush and gang are a few bad apples from a long history of good US administrations. The root cause is the bloody system that let's this happen and perpetuate in the first place! The root cause is secular-capitalism which is the ideology of USA. We need to step back and re-evaluate our whole belief system that we so arrogantly thought was invincible. Then we need to look for an alternative ideology! Whether we execute the first step will determine whether we have progress half way atleast. A human's sense of "God" determines his/her sense of justice. So who/what is Bush's "god"?

I think he just messed up and forgot the carefully constructed "technically true" language. Fortunately for him, there were no follow ups. "Are you denying that Syria, Egypt and Uzbekistan torture prisoners or that you've sent prisoners to those countries"? That could've been awkward.

As for why Rice is doing it: the European governments know a bit about this and it is potentially embarrasing for them--think of Canadad and the Arar/Almalki/el-Maati case. A lot of them would just as soon all this go away. They can cite her assurances & say they believe her. That is what Jack Straw did. It's a bit harder for Merkel to with the el-Masri case.

And yeah, domestic consumption. The wires report her denials at face value, maybe a he said she said with a human rights organization. They don't show she's lying--though it would be easy enough to do so without using the word "lying."

What I want to know, as ever: where are the Democrats? Besides Ed Markey, I mean. This is the most press coverage rendition has gotten. Where are they?

oh, and Abu Zubayda's not a rendition, he's in US custody. Hassan bin Attash and Jamil Qasim Saeed Muhammad are two renditions to Jordan.

Rice's comments put me in mind of what Tucker Carlson said about Karen Hughes:

"I've obviously been lied to a lot by campaign operatives, but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness."

Add that to the comments Bush I's old hands have made about Cheney and Rumsfeld; i.e., that they're not only crazy, but evil-crazy.

Mind you, those are Republicans saying that; conservative Republicans, who've worked with these people before and have known them for a long time.

The problem is obvious, and quite dire. Our country is being run by psychotics. It's being run by psychotics who don't hesitate to use the vast authority and influence they've been given to punish opponents - in the government, in the media, and (thanks to the Patriot Act) in the country at large. And the people whose responsibility it is to keep the Executive Branch in line are loyal to Party, not Country, because it's the Party that keeps them in power and gives them all the goodies they could possibly want.

And because that particular set of facts is difficult to accept, much less grapple with, the MSM prefers to ignore it. Challenging the official line won't get you anything but grief, vile attacks, and threats to your livelihood, if not to your and your family's physical well-being. There's no payoff big enough to make that attractive, not least because the country at large isn't outraged enough to demand it.

Hilzoy,

I'm curious why you use the Newspeak "render," rather than the simpler "send?' Your work is otherwise so well written.

"...but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that."

Orwellian? It is a bullying, an intimidation that seeks thought-control. Don't have Orwell handy but there has to be a nice passage of dialogue going something like:

"What color is the sky, Winston?"
"Blue"
"No it is red. What color is the sky?"
"Red"
"You are lying, Winston, just to please me. Tell the truth. What color?"
"Blue"
"We will stay at this until you believe it is, see it as red."

Adam: because that was what Bush said in the original quote. Also, 'render' is (I believe) a term of art, as in 'extraordinary rendition'.

But thanks ;)

Mentioning Abu Zabaida is not going to get any sympathy from me. And Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni is an Egyptian citizen who could be construed to be returned to his native country. The problem is how to determine if the really bad people are really bad and what to do with them. I doubt that anybody would argue that Hussein is not guilty of monstrous crimes, but already the trial has turned into a circus, lawyers are getting killed, witnesses afraid to testify, etc.

I didn't ask for sympathy for Abu Zubaida; I was just pointing out that President Bush said something that was completely false, and apparently this isn't a big deal to the media, since almost no one is bothering to report on it.

I was just pointing out that President Bush said something that was completely false

It is a hard thing to deal with. If CPT Peace protesters in Iraq are going to be executed on Thursday unless insurgent prisoners that are known to be in custody are released, What is the right thing to do? Maybe some of the insurgents are sort of legitimate soldiers and not terrorists. (Oddly enough, I consider people who plant IEDs as guerilla soldiers, unlike the suicide bombers who blow up hotels and restaurants.) Well I dont want any of these guys released, but I certainly don't want the terrorists to be mixed in with a group that could be released (as Israel has done in prisoner exchanges, for instance). So I suppose I want the really bad guys to be disappeared. Now that may cast some doubts on my moral and ethical consistancy, but I am an "I WANT TO WIN" guy, so there I am, my personal slippery slope to fascism be damned.

And if you are concerned that Condi has lied or shaded the truth, I say "Congratulations! You are a politician now, not some provost at Stanford."

I dont think that very many pesidents run for office thinking that "I'm going to be responsible for killing human beings", by the way.

But that is how it is. Pretty much all presidents are likely going to hell.

DaveC: "my personal slippery slope to fascism be damned"

Pretty much wherever one stands, there's someone uphill yelling, "I'm at the top and you're slip-sliding away down to hell".

"you're slip-sliding away down to hell".

I'm not necessarily yelling "Wheeee!" all the way down.

And if you are concerned that Condi has lied or shaded the truth, I say "Congratulations! You are a politician now, not some provost at Stanford."

Not to pick on DaveC or anything, but this is pretty much Exhibit A in Reasons Why Our Country Is Sliding Into Ruin.

"Congratulations! You are a politician now, not some provost at Stanford."

But politicians' lies are supposed to be subtle enough to actually fool people, even people who are paying attention. Not simply blatant contradictions of well-established facts. For diplomats such as the Sec. of State, even more so.

You're scraping the bottom of the barrel now, DaveC. But I have hope for you. Soon the cognitive dissonance will kick in, and we'll welcome you over to the side of truth and light.

So I suppose I want the really bad guys to be disappeared. Now that may cast some doubts on my moral and ethical consistancy, but I am an "I WANT TO WIN" guy,

Two points:

a) How do we know these people are even guilty, let alone are the "really bad guys"? As you've already said we can hardly trust Condi's word on it - she's not the provost at Stanford anymore.

b) How does, for example, secretly rendering a suspect in an Italian criminal investigation into terrorism and thus screwing up their investigation help in the war against terror? How is sending these people to get beaten in Egypt or Syria to get helping the overall fight against terrorism more than using their knowledge as the basis of a methodical, international, police investigation?

It is curious that the msm is constantly under fire from the republicans, for being too liberal/left wing and by the democrats as to conservative/right wing. Pity they cant just report and analyse what is actully going on, especially when the issue is as important as this one, of torture and rendition. Mr cheneys comments that these are really bad people so it is ok to mistreat them are erroneous. If we are trying to tell the rest of world (those not of the western) that what we offer is better than what they have ie: rule of law, democratic represtation, right to free speech and religion etc, no TORTURE. Yet we dont really mean it ,are prooven liers, why should they ever suport us, or believe we care about them. Terror is wrong way to spread you belifs, torture were wrong for ussr and are wrong for china, they are doubly wrong for us. I dont care for taking the moral highground and all the other statments, it is just plain wrong. We must not just do what is right we must be seen to do what is right. A suspected terroist must have a right to a lawyer and a trial and all the prerequisites given to a citizen of our western democracies.

Katherine & Hilzoy:
A Canadian connection to these CIA rendition flights has come to light: CBC News.

"I'm not necessarily yelling "Wheeee!" all the way down."

Posted by: DaveC


Yes, DaveC, you are. In between trash-talking those who are pointing out this slide.

Torturing people is not immoral if you do it in the name of liberty, freedom and democracy.

The fact that many progressives fail to see this shows their lack of morals.

Oh and national security, is a good one too!

If Saddam Hussein’s presidential administration would have tortured in the name of national security and/or liberty, instead of evil doing, he would be part of the coalition of the willing.

Why is that only right-wingers can appreciate this logic?

when all else fails, get nastier and push harder and shout louder. It won't actually help, but it gives the intimidated reason to fear and the lackey-minded reason to obey.

I am an "I WANT TO WIN" guy, so there I am, my personal slippery slope to fascism be damned.

I can't tell if DaveC is a nihilist or just gets his kicks playing one on the internet (the latter, I suspect), but he conveniently makes Bruce Baugh's point for him.

If people like DaveC expect--are even happy--to be lied to in the name of "victory," then there's very little they won't tolerate and condone. That sort of servile faith in a leader is one of the characteristics of a despotism. Personally, I'd be ashamed to be so supine, even if just for kicks on the internet.

Right-Wing nihilism in the pursuit of nationalistic myths is the sure sign of fascism...ask the Germans.

What drives me nuts about the whole deal is that torture just doesn't work! I'm reminded of "Nice Guy Eddie" in the movie Reservoir Dogs, castigating Mr. Pink and Mr. Blonde for kidnapping and torturing the cop in the warehouse: "if you beat this prick long enough, he'll tell you the start of the goddamn Chicago fire…but that don't NECESSARILY MAKE IT FUCKIN' SO!"

The administration is defending a policy on because they are incapable of admitting error on anything. What makes it worse is that no one is willing to call them on it in the MSM, and most Americans don't seem to be that upset about it.

Posting rules: language, Napoleon.

Even in quotes, the F-word is forbidden here.

Napoleon, even movie quotes count as violations of posting rules, so take care. Thanx

Just to be clear, I am not arguing in favor of torture, I am arguing in favor of keeping secret where terrorists are imprisoned, and am arguing against public trials for those terrorists. Specifically Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and Abu Zabaydah. I don't think that this makes me a nihilist.

Interesting poll
here

DaveC,

Interesting poll. The first question suggests attitudes towards torture are relatively similar in the countries surveyed, with S. Korea the largest outlier (I would be curious whether that is an Asian attitude -- results from Japan would have been useful).

The second question shows either moral relativism for the US citizens or distrust of US in other countries. I'd be very interested in a poll which substituted the name of the country whose citizens were being surveyed for the US, to see if the citizens trusted their own government to get this right.

I don't think that this makes me a nihilist.

No, but "So I suppose I want the really bad guys to be disappeared. Now that may cast some doubts on my moral and ethical consistancy, but I am an "I WANT TO WIN" guy, so there I am, my personal slippery slope to fascism be damned" and your half-hearted efforts to apologize for bald-faced lying as a tool of official policy sound pretty nihilistic.

Note that I wrote "sound nihilistic." Maybe you don't really believe what you write. You're a funny guy, Dave; I can't tell when you're kidding and when you aren't.

My take on question #2 was that the people the other countries would never voluntarily get into this type of dilemma.

In Ghostbusters II, the mayors assistant is being a jerk and Dr Peter Venkman says

"I'm a voter. Aren't you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?"

which may be a cynical, but accurate portrayal of I think how most people view politicians. and it's funny, too.

Aren't you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?

Yeah, let me give you a hint, my friend. That line's funny because even though politicians do act that way, most of us still think they shouldn't. Does this need to be spelled out? If everyone took it for granted that politicians should lie, it wouldn't be that funny any more.

To justify a President's lies about torture with a line from Ghostbusters. That's pretty nihilistic, Dave. You're a funny guy.

Adam asks:
I'm curious why you use the Newspeak "render," rather than the simpler "send?' Your work is otherwise so well written.
to which Hilzoy surprises me with:
Adam: because that was what Bush said in the original quote. Also, 'render' is (I believe) a term of art, as in 'extraordinary rendition'.
skipping over many more common and natural meanings of 'render'. It is hardly my place to suggest this is not a typical instance of Newspeak [but 'Newspeak' is](or that I am in a position to declare what is well-written) [or not].
I can tell you that the expression brought to mind a hunter's task of rendering the meat from a fresh kill.
Not to mention Caesar or other literary connections with which our President may not be familiar.


If CPT Peace protesters in Iraq are going to be executed on Thursday unless insurgent prisoners that are known to be in custody are released, What is the right thing to do?

Obviously releasing all the prisoners known to be in custody is not the right thing to do. But that has nothing to do with the issue here, as I rather think you know.

I am arguing in favor of keeping secret where terrorists are imprisoned,

that's OK within a uniform system of justice/due process; but that isn't what we have here

and am arguing against public trials for those terrorists

presumably to guard against attacks on the court?

Paul:

DaveC. is usually kidding when I'm not, and I'm usually kidding when he is not. Once, we kidded at the same time and absolutely no one laughed. Which was proof the universe at that moment was utterly devoid of humor.

DaveC:

"Interesting poll."

I always find the word "interesting' to be interesting. For example, when I make liver and onions for dinner, my wife will say "This is interesting" by which she means "I find it interesting that you persist in feeding us food we can barely choke down. In fact, I don't know anyone who will eat this swill."

Then I hand her a poll of liver and onions lovers, which of course she finds interesting beyond words and makes her and my son immediately request seconds of the dreaded dish.

Now see, I find polls about torture funny, even hilarious, in a completely nihilistic way, by which I mean I want to simultaneously cackle and blow up the world.

But that's just me. Everyone else go ahead and discuss.

When Charles wrote the other day that we should not torture, but we should interrogate relentlessly and then kill them by firing squad or let them rot in jail, my reaction is this:

Let's do a poll among the accused terrorists.
Question: (we'd go door-to-door for this poll before we caught them, then return to catch them) Would you rather be tortured relentlessly for many years or would you rather have bullets enter your body from six different weapons simultaneously and/or witness the rotting of your flesh and your spirit on a dank stone floor for the rest of your life?

If they choose the latter two scenarios, the followup question should be (because so many in the "interesting poll" find a need for torture) "Why do you get to have all the fun?"

Actually, what I want to do first is torture those in favor of torture and then re-poll in the interests of scientific polling.

Now, I need to pop over to Redstate and see if they've managed to read the torture poll and realize that the Marquis de Sade is one French surrender monkey whose liver and onions they could learn to consume, but hold the fries.

With all the clever witty people on this thread I feel like I want to participate, but I find I don't have much of anything left to say. I don't want to talk to wannabe torturers anymore. I just find it horrifying that there are people still defending the Bush administration on this.

With regard to what is interesting, I find it interesting that there are several conservatives on this thread, but that none of them had any interest in participating in the New Orleans thread.

Further, DaveC. (in the context of friendly chitchat):

"I am not arguing in favor of torture, but I am arguing in favor of keeping secret where terrorists are imprisoned and am arguing against public trials for those terrorists."

I am in favor of you not keeping secret your arguments against torture. I'm also not in favor of the Bush Administration keeping secret their arguments for torture in the secret prisons and trials.

But it's a secret.

The bad boys and girls in the French Revolution had a similar knotty problem. Heads off in secret or in the public square? Well, "in the public square" worked remarkably well for quite awhile, because the soon to be headless went meekly to their fates. But then one evening, a noblewoman was brought forth in the wagon and put on a hell of scene, like Jimmy Cagney in (was it?)
"Angels with Dirty Faces", blood-curdling screaming, beseeching, rending of clothes and hair, choking, flatulent public grief and terror.

The assembled, bloodthirsty crowd was taken aback and silent, downed their chablis, dropped their funky moldy baguettes and took down the guillotine (after a respecful period of time), but if I'm not mistaken, which I probably am, not before they gave Robespierre a taste.

See, if the guillotine had been secret the entire time, I wouldn't be able to regale ya'll with the story, which in the long run is the real fun of history, recounting the bloodthirsty moments.

I should make more a secret of that last paragraph. O.K. it was a lie. But I can say no more about it.

I wish I could keep my spelling errors secret.

Speaking of the public square, if we must have torture and we must have displays of various religious faiths in the public square, I'm in favor of having them both in the public square -- side-by-side -- the creche and the torture cheek by jowl.

Let's give O'Reilly his full head. Maybe we'll like it.

I'll bet subsequent polls would be in favor, too.

Top of the morning to ya.

See, if the guillotine had been secret the entire time, I wouldn't be able to regale ya'll with the story, which in the long run is the real fun of history, recounting the bloodthirsty moments.

Which, bizarrely, made me think of shortening. But not shortening bread.

if we must have torture and we must have displays of various religious faiths in the public square, I'm in favor of having them both in the public square -- side-by-side

Which made me think of the Power Team in some sort of unrefereed Ultimate Fighting competition. I think there's a market, there. God help me if Thullenism is catching, but I fear that it is.

Oops...did I display religion, and does that mean I must be tortured?

Here is a serious take on the torture issue by Dan Darling, and one about secret prisons at Winds Of Change, that I happen to generally agree with.

I am not a wannabe torturer, by the way, and my ancestors that fled France did so before the Revolution, but I think I understood something about thullen's point. I'm doing work now, cant say more.

Slart:

I often experience a longing for shortening, but things get away from me. My versions of history are shorter than my comments.

After all, Groucho loved cigars but he took them out of his mouth occasionally.

DaveC.:

If you understand something about my point, pick it up and jab me with it so I know what the point is too, and then I can shorten it so the next time I see it, I'll remember it.

If I wanted to argue with a wannabe torturer, I wouldn't argue with you. ;)

The wannabes have their own blogs.

Frank: I'm with you. I'm giving up trying to treat as worthwhile, mature, or decent any argumen that does any of these: outright champions torture as a reliable and worthy cause, or gets coy, oblique, and cute about. People like Katherine and Hilzoy are documenting what's actually going on. Let us discuss what is actually going on, and stow the flights of fancy and wishful thinking. And those who will not give up a goal that leads to this kind of thing do not deserve my respect as moral men and women. They've sold their souls and moved out of the universe of reasonable discourse into a land of nightmares and while I don't truly wish that anyone would suffer what they condone and excuse for random strangers in another part of the world...I'd have a hard time feeling any pity for them, as opposed to concern for those who cared about them and for the social order at large.

Once again, the Golden Rule proves its supreme practicality in the face of wooly-headed foolishness about ends justifying means.

See I knew it! I was told to be nice….that flinging certain words was just mean and not in the interest of Obsidian pluralism…but if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and has the DNA of a duck…more than likely, it’s a duck!

American right-wingers are fascist. Tacitus, Charles Bird the whole Redstate cell…a gaggle of cheerleading fascist.

Like a gang of young white boys in lynch mob, hopeful, one day to show the will and resolve and the honor to string them up a darkie one day, God willin’.

Because the American fascist lynches for honor and victory and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sorely tempted to exercise my fascist powers of punitive banning, but I elect to (typically) pass the buck on to hilzoy, who is always much better with words than I am with my super-banning powers. Neodude, you've been warned far too many times to plead ignorance.

Hmm. Neodude: last warning. No calling people fascists, absent photos of them in identical brown shirts saluting Il Duce.

And carrying actual, y'know, fasces. We have our standards to maintain.

I don't have photos but I got a hunch (like they do about "terrorist").

And a hunch is all you need, according to the Republican Party.

Luckily for you, I ain't them. But I do mean the 'last' part of last warning.

I can't believe "liberty lovers" and "freedom fighters" are rationalizing torture.

Soon The Ovens are going to have their finer points.

I'll stop.

God help us.

Tempting though it is to use "the f-word," I'm not sure it's actually on-point for accuracy.

"Facism" was an ideology. A foul and depraved ideology, to be sure; but its proponents did make an effort to concoct precepts which were internally consistent and specific-outcome driven.

The pro-Bush, pro-torture, pro-war claques don't really have an ideology. Endlessly repeated slogans that don't connect to actual policies, actions, or outcomes (or, indeed, are contradicted by actual policies, actions and outcomes) do not an ideology make. What the Right seems to have is a disparate collection of appetites in search of an ideology.

It might be more useful to refer to them simply as "sadists" (the pro-torture ones), "neo-medievalists" (the Fundies) or "neo-Romanovs" (the plutocrats).

When referring to Bush himself, I'm rather fond of "Caligula" or its English translation, "Little Boots."

Neo, already the ovens aren't so bad. The California Republican machine is considering our favorite Mad Max for Governor after the Governator. And Mad Max believes the whole Holocaust thing is overrated. Hell, millions and millions of Russians died, so what's a few million Jews one way or the other? I don't think the Holocaust lets Stalin off the hook, but because lots and lots of Russians died doesn't let the Nazi's off the hook either.

Hilzoy, Slarti, is it the word "fascist" that is at issue, or is it name calling in general? Because, while I am not in favor of name calling, I kind of resonate with the whole duck thing.

C M Ducks?
M R not Ducks.
M R 2. C M Wangs?

(it's an Oklahoma thing)

And hilzoy, true fascists, the Eyetalian variety, work black shirts. Those wankers the Germans changed it to brown so they could have their own thing.

Here is Wikipedia, in all it's argumentative glory:

"Fascism (in Italian, fascismo), capitalized, was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Similar political movements, including Nazism, spread across Europe between World War I and World War II. Fascism generally attracted political support from big business, landowners, and patriotic, traditionalist, conservative, far-right, populist and reactionary individuals and groups. Classical fascism has also inspired contemporary neo-fascist organizations."

Let's see - big business, landowners, and patriotic, traditionalist, conservative, far-right, populist and reactionary individuals and groups - I think that pretty well describes Republicans and their base today.

There is substantial controversy regarding this definition - as in it might be constructed so as to POINT at Republicans, but it is still interesting.

So, anyway, like I said, is it name calling in general or fascist in specific to which y'all object?

Jake

""Facism" was an ideology. A foul and depraved ideology, to be sure;"

IIRC, fascism was and is a set of tactics and methods justified with incoherent and ad-hoc rationalizations. The first and most important symptom is widespread domestic violence against internal enemies. Dave Neiwert is on constant watch for the early appearance of said violence. We are not there yet.

I could do no more that link to Orcinus, Neiwert and his analyses. He may too extreme for moderates and those to the right, but anyone tossing around the f-word with me in the vicinity needs to cite him as a source. He is my canary.

It would also be boring of me to point out that the question of when it is and isn't appropriate to use the label "fascist" is not a new question.

So I shouldn't. Not won't. But shouldn't. (Similarly: what is and is not "censorship," and need it be done by a government or not; which is better: Wintel, Mac, or Linux?; who would win: Superman, Hulk, or Thor?; ditto Kirk v. Picard; Coke or Pepsi?; African swallow or European?; does trying to be coherent matter, or not?; Gary: very annoying or extremely annoying?)

jake --bnto: right you are. Oops.

I never understood the need to use Nazis as our point of evil reference anyway. It's not like there aren't plenty of rather nasty sorts in American history to which we can point. Sometimes fine upstanding sorts too, who happened to favor slavery or lynching or ethnic cleansing or mass slaughter of Native Americans or the torture of Filipino insurgents or whatever.

We could compare torture supporters to the people who used to go with a picnic lunch to the local lynching, for instance, thereby bypassing this whole tedious fascism/Nazi/Godwin's law discussion.

"The first and most important symptom is widespread domestic violence against internal enemies."

Wouldn't the first and most importan symptom be a coordinated propaganda effort to pre-emptively explain and justify widespread violence against internal enemies? Because we are well on the way to "there."

And, concurrent with that, wouldn't there also be the creation of cells of thugs, ready to be triggered, to begin the widespread violence against domestic enemies? I don't know whether we're "there" yet on that one, or whether the anticipated shock troops would be private mercenaries - perhaps the ones in Iraq who've been amusing themselves by shooting civilians for sport - rather than stateside civilians.

big business, landowners, and patriotic, traditionalist, conservative, far-right, populist and reactionary individuals and groups

I own a house and am moderately patriotic, so naturally I'm fascist, but it is a small house with a small flag, whether those facts are mitigating. And my wife has a cloth coat.

"wouldn't there also be the creation of cells of thugs, ready to be triggered"

The real brownshirts were used to put Hitler into power, and then destroyed. Gangs of thugs are just thugs. The Aryan Nation are nothing. The Minutemen are nothing(tho maybe locally dangerous). When they are used violently as tools for political purposes the leaders are approaching fascism.

And that is not even right. Fascism involves a whole set of methods and tools. Every violent dictatorship is not fascist. Since we really only have a few historical examples, I am not even sure how useful it is as a political category.

Neiwert, Pt 3

"And my wife has a cloth coat."

Well, Himmler was a lowly chicken farmer.

But, in your wife's case, I think Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil" does not apply.

Christmas is coming up, so mitigate the coat problem. ;)

I look forward to CaseyL's scenario but others comfort me with the idea that Bush and company are too incompetent for such an outcome.

However's it's the folks in the Republican Party who find Bush and company too incompetent for such an outcome who are beginning to scare me.

"But, in your wife's case, I think Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' does not apply."

What about his cocker spaniel?

Again with the dogs.

Those were yesterday's animal. Ducks were last week. Before that, we had chickens and chirping vaginas.

Nevertheless, Gary, glad to see you're up and around.

Did Himmler have a cocker spaniel? They loved their dogs, didn't they? Oh, to be a schnauzer in thrall to a Mauser.

And DaveC., your fascist credentials are sorely lacking. You can't fool us.

"Did Himmler have a cocker spaniel?"

Was Pat Nixon in the Sturm Abteilung?

Come to think of it, I was in the Boy Scouts. Nice uniforms. Guess whose facsimile signature was on my Eagle Scout card?

Am wearing my Discordian uniform now, however.

My wife carries a riding crop, and she's the most harmless person you'd ever want to know.

Was Pat Nixon in the "Sturm Abteilung"?

I don't know. I'm too lazy to Google. But John Dean had to ask Haldeman to turn down the Wagner.

Well, comments to this thread have degenerated far enough that I don't feel bad about posting OT, a follow-up to a previous thread in which Slarti seemed resistant to the idea that Iraqi insurgents had retaken territory previously 'cleared' by US forces.
This is from Bush's most recent speech on Iraq, before the Council on Foreign Relations:

“Over the course of this war, we have learned that winning the battle for Iraqi cities is only the first step. ... We found that after we left, the terrorists would re-enter the city, intimidate local leaders and police, and eventually retake control.”

It would also be boring of me to point out that the question of when it is and isn't appropriate to use the label "fascist" is not a new question.

And therefore there's absolutely No Point In Discussing This Ever Again. Ever.

In honor of thread, I cranked up Psychefunkapus - Liars liars, pants on fire tonite.

I have just removed a very long comment from this thread, since it seemed to be a violation of the 'don't just paste stuff in' rule. (Evidence: the presence, at various points, of a line that said: "Search / Save / Print")

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

December 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast