Saturday, August 29, 2009
The Secret Government:
"It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered.
Though these words echo his famous endorsement of working "the dark side" in order to triumph in the "war on terror," they were not, in fact, written by Dick Cheney. They come from the Doolittle Report, which was commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954 to craft an intelligence strategy for winning the cold war. From a strategic perspective, the threat posed by global communism, headquartered in a massive, nuclear-armed superpower with almost 6 million men under arms, and Al Qaeda, a networked, globally distributed group of thousands of nonstate actors, could not be more different. But the national security state's understanding of each as an existential threat was, and continues to be, nearly identical. The enemy is ingenious, relentless and unencumbered by the procedural and moral niceties that hamstring the bureaucrats of a liberal democracy. Victory--indeed, survival--requires us to become more like them.
And so: the CIA contracted a Mafia boss to murder Fidel Castro, sent biotoxins to the Republic of Congo with orders to poison Patrice Lumumba and tested LSD on unsuspecting citizens (one of whom jumped out of a window to his death). It fomented coups and bloodshed against democratically elected governments, while the National Security Agency, in coordination with the major telegram companies, read every single telegram coming in or going out of the country for three decades. The FBI infiltrated peaceful antiwar groups, breaking up marriages of activists with forged evidence of infidelity, while surveilling civil rights leaders with an assortment of bugs and break-ins. It even attempted to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into committing suicide, shipping him tapes of him midcoitus with a mistress and a note that said, "There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation."
...The original Church Committee ushered in an era of reforms that we've come to take for granted: the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts and executive orders banning assassinations. But it's hard to survey the legal and moral wreckage of the "war on terror" and conclude that those reforms have stood the test of time. When the country faced another "implacable" enemy, the reforms of the Church Committee were subverted, circumvented, rolled back and outpaced.
To take just the most recent examples, press reports indicate that the CIA may have been training agents to conduct assassinations of Al Qaeda leaders during the first six months of the Obama administration, before either CIA director Leon Panetta or Congress was notified. What's more, according to reports in the New York Times and this magazine, the CIA outsourced parts of an assassination program to the private security firm Blackwater. As this article goes to press, Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed a special prosecutor, John Durham, to determine if a criminal investigation should go forward against CIA agents and contractors for torturing detainees. Durham's narrowly defined inquiry targets fewer than a dozen cases and falls far short of the "sweeping investigation" called for by Hart, Clarke and others.
Once again, it seems a comprehensive accounting is long overdue...
...The Church Committee came at a time when the public was in the midst of a wrenching (and necessary) loss of innocence. But in our age, secret government crimes and plots are almost a cliché. Polling shows trust in government has returned roughly to its mid-'70s nadir. The danger now isn't naïveté but cynicism--that we just come to accept that the government will commit crimes in our name under the cover of secrecy and that such activities are more or less business as usual, about which nothing can be done. But something can be done. Something must be done. And Congress should do it."
13 - Kenpo X
Awesome inspiration: Bodybuilding.com - Female Transformation Of The Week - Female Transformation Of The Week - Celia Romero Shed 32 Pounds And Began Competing!:
"Name: Celia RomeroThis story is brilliant - you should totally click over - Cardio Queen Gone Primal | Mark's Daily Apple:
Weight: 180 lbs
Body Fat: 24%
Weight: 148 lbs
Body Fat: 9%'"
A kinder, gentler rendition under Obama - Boing Boing:
"This week, we learned that the Obama administration will continue the Bush administration's practice of relocating war-on-terror detainees to other countries for offshore imprisonment and interrogation"Lawless Surveillance, Warrantless Rationales (a critique of Obama continuation of Bush policies) - Boing Boing:
"Over at The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy website, Electronic Frontier Foundation Legal Director Cindy Cohn writes about the so-called Presidential Surveillance Program, the "still-shadowy set of programs that spy on Americans in America without any probable cause or warrant." The EFF, as regular BB readers know, has fought this program for several years now -- in 2006, it filed suit against AT&T for providing the NSA with direct access to its database of communications records."Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Another Letdown from Team Obama:
"I’m tired of keeping track of what hasn’t changed:The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search—without suspicion of wrongdoing—the contents of a traveler’s laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections...
I’m not sure how anyone can defend a policy that your personal electronic equipment can be seized and searched for no reason whatsoever. “Shut up, that’s why” might work for right-wing blogs, but as a policy for the government, it is inexcusable."
"Last week, the Drug War Chronicle reports, the Drug Enforcement Administration made its first arrests related to medical marijuana since Attorney General Eric Holder promised not to prosecute people who are complying with state law. "Hit & Run; Securing the Border Against Creepy Pictures on Some Guy's Laptop - Reason Magazine:
"The Department of Homeland Security plans to retain the Bush administration policy of seizing and searching international travelers' laptop computers and other electronic devices at will. "...under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever." Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says such wide discretion is essential to national security:
Keeping Americans safe in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully screen materials entering the United States. The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders.
What a crock. As I noted in a column last year, DHS is not looking for bombs in those laptops; it is looking for incriminating files, and the charges that flow from the searches typically have nothing to do with terrorism..."
YouTube- Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?
HOWTO defeat the Klan with humor and bravery - Boing Boing:
"The repentant former KKK leader Johnny Lee Clary explains how Reverend Wade Watts, an NAACP leader, disarmed him by being cool, funny and brave, engaging in some first-rate psy-ops."
Men Who Stare At Goats movie coming soon - Boing Boing:
The Men Who Stare At Goats is UK journalist Jon Ronson's terrific, absurd, scary, and funny nonfiction book about the United States military's weird experiments with psychic spying, "Jedi" powers, subliminal sound weapons, and, er, the ability to kill an animal just by looking at it (hence the title). The book is coming to the big screen November 6 in the form of a dark comedy starring Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, and Jeff Bridges. What fun!
Friday, August 28, 2009
"Professor: Whoever taught you to write like this should be flogged with your severed writing arm.Overheard in New York | ...Then I Match Them Up Based Upon the Probability That You'll Sleep with Me.:
"Student: How are you grading the papers?
Teacher: Well, at home I have these two hats. In one hat I put the names of all the students. In the other hat I put all of the possible grades...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
TMUSCLE.com | Deconstructing Paul Chek:
"Here in the United States, we've compartmentalized our lives. People act like idiots at work or grunting silverback gorillas in the gym, then go to church and act like goody two-shoes. All I'm really teaching is to carry it all within you. Don't segregate it. Let the best parts of you shine through in everything that you do.
...Everything we see going on in exercise, resistance training, bodybuilding – if it's not spiritualized and it's not managed, then it becomes a dysfunction.
...I'm a 44 year old who can run as fast as he did in high school football. I can lift more weight than I ever have in my life. I can outperform almost every single professional athlete in the gym that I've ever conditioned – and that's a lot of them.
And the first thing they ask me every time is, "What drugs are you using?" I tell them chicken, carrots, broccoli, water, sleep, and a reason to be alive. I go into the gym and lift weights because it's a part of my spiritual practice; it's part of maintaining the temple. I don't need to go to church; I am the church."
"To teach motorists who leave their cars unlocked a lesson, police in Richmond upon Thames, a borough of London, have begun taking their stuff. TheJackass, it was really stolen. BY YOU.
victimsbeneficiaries of these theftseducational efforts return to their cars and find that expensive items such as cameras, laptops, and leather jackets have been replaced by notes instructing them to retrieve their valuables at the police station. Not to worry, though: "If items are needed urgently," the London Times reports, "police will return the goods immediately." Which suggests that if you can't show an urgent need for, say, your computer, they'll take their own sweet time. The justification offered by Superintendent Jim Davis: "People would be far more upset if their property really was stolen.""
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
[This is pretty genius.]
Legend of Neil, Season 2, Ep. 3 -- The Musical | Legend of Neil|Spoofs | Atom
Legend of Neil, Season 2, Ep. 3 -- The Musical
From the tourney finals...
Pics via スポーツナビ｜格闘技｜SHOOT BOXING GIRLS TOURNAMENT「Girl’S S-cup 2009」
Dodgeball - Sport of Kings! [And Queens and Princesses as well, clearly.]
Totally appropriate Japanese Elementary School Child clothing.
This is awesome. But leads to back injury after about the 50th child or so...
I am the Gamesmaster!
What really grates, what infuriates me, what continues to surprise me is the sheer gall and hyprocrisy of, after having done these things, they continue to want to claim some kind of moral high ground. Which is, you know, utter bullshit.
Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » They’ll Never Figure It Out, Ever:
"Putting aside the fact that there is nothing vague about whether or not it is legal to stage mock executions, these clowns will never figure it out, will they? This is not about the terrorists, it is about us. Decent nations don’t torture, they don’t threaten to rape the children of prisoners, they don’t stage mock executions, they don’t waterboard people 200 times in one month. No matter what the stakes.
And they certainly don’t do those things and get any right to pretend they have some sort of moral authority on the world stage. Period."
"Here’s what the “CIA pros” did to prisoners (the non-CIA pros improvised the president’s directive to torture and abuse prisoners in very similar ways): stress positions, nudity, hooding, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, long time standing, beatings, hypothermia, and walling. The key thing, according to the CIA, is to enhance “the potential dread a high-value detainee might have of US custody”. Notice the shift from the standards of the past. In the past, the US was known for being a country whose soldiers would never mistreat prisoners; now, the US wants the world to know that US custody is something to be dreaded. That’s what Cheney did to America. He’s proud of it. If you are ever captured by a US soldier, and suspected of terrorism, you know that torture will be coming soon. The values of Washington and Eisenhower and Reagan are inverted. The reputation of the US as a defender of human rights is reversed. The point is that America must be feared for its willingness to abandon all human rights."Hit & Run ; More on How to Interrogate, the CIA Way - Reason Magazine:
"As the session begins, the detainee stands naked, except for a hood covering his head. Guards shackle his arms and legs, then slip a small collar around his neck. The collar will be used later; according to CIA guidelines for interrogations, it will serve as a handle for slamming the detainee's head against a wall.
After removing the hood, the interrogator opens with a slap across the face -- to get the detainee's attention -- followed by other slaps, the guidelines state. Next comes the head-slamming, or "walling," which can be tried once "to make a point," or repeated again and again.
"Twenty or thirty times consecutively" is permissible, the guidelines say, "if the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question." And if that fails, there are far harsher techniques to be tried.......If there was no response, the interrogator would use an "insult slap" to immediately "correct the detainee or provide a consequence to a detainee's response." If there was still no response, the interrogator could use an "abdominal slap" or grab the captive by his face, the memo states.
Each failure would be met with increasingly harsher tactics. After slamming a detainee's head against the plywood barrier multiple times, the interrogator could douse him with water; deprive him of toilet facilities and force him to wear a soiled diaper; or make him stand or kneel for long periods while shackled in a painful position. The captive could also be forced into a wooden box for up to 18 hours at a stretch"
Patton Oswalt | Film | A.V. Club:
"...everything is very politicized these days, literally down to what kind of coffee you drink—that I used to fight with people about. And by the way, not just people like Republicans and Christians, but liberal friends of mine and very radical left-wing types, and alternative, indie types. I would fight and try to win the argument, as if I have to justify what I’m doing. And I think one of the good things about getting older is, I just listen to all the arguments and nod my head and go, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And then I just do what the fuck I want to do. So a lot of my friends would lecture me about the home birth, or say, “Oh, you can’t vaccinate your kid.” And instead of going, “Oh, you’re such a fucking moron,” I would just nod my head and say, “That’s really fascinating.” And then we went ahead and fucking had it in the hospital, and booked a luxury suite, and said “Fuck it.” Now, with the time I would have spent arguing with my friends in the past, I go get an ice-cream sandwich and just sit and enjoy that. Because at the end of my life, I’ll go, “Oh, I enjoyed all those ice-cream sandwiches when I wasn’t arguing with anyone.” I’ll just quietly do what the fuck I want to do."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"The Afghan parliament has approved a law allowing Shia Muslim husbands to starve their wives if the women refuse to have sex with them. The law also requires Shia wives to get their husbands' permission to work."You know what? Honestly? Fuck them and their religion. I have little tolerance for destructive cultural mores today.
"It’s always important to remember that many, if not most, beliefs and customs in our society exist because of the widespread propagation of falsehoods. It’s why some people believe we have a great health care system. It’s also why some American League managers continue to use the sacrifice bunt.
For whatever reason, the internet has curbed the spread of these falsehoods among (the mostly younger) people who are able to navigate the internet without using AOL key words (though it may well have hastened the spread among people who are not). And that may well mark a sea change in American politics."
"Now I love the fact that I grew up in Sterling, Virginia. I really do. I’m so happy. Because, when you’re growing up in a nondescript, soulless, boring town, you’ve been given a present from God. And the present is: The Test Of The Small Town. And you pass the test when you go, “I'm leaving before I kill everyone and then myself.” That’s when you pass. You fail when you go, “I’ll get a job at the CitGo and fill my truck up for free.""
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Genius - The KFC Double Down. I am profoundly disapointed this wasn't available when I was back in the US.
"KFC makes a bacon sandwich where two pieces of fried chicken serve as the bread."
"Guy to girlfriend: If I go to jail for you, you better get your tits done.Overheard in New York | But He Praised My Ability to Outsource:
Dickson City, Pennsylvania"
"Short NYU girl: It's not fair! Why do I always have to suck his dick? He's your boyfriend.
Tall NYU girl: Well, he said I was really bad at it.