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Sadism

To A Bully, Everything Looks Like A Nerd: Bushite Neocons and Posse Comitatus

If there were still any doubt that Neocons have a utilitarian contempt for any part of the Constitution that is momentarily inconvenient, it should evaporate with knowledge that (according to the NYT) Cheney strenuously advocated sending in the Army to arrest the Lackawanna Six.

Always with the military: Everything looks like a nail to these chickenhawk bozos. We already know they wanted to use the military for disaster relief*, and we've seen them push for more and more military involvement in border control.** The irony of a bunch of guys who actively avoided either combat or military service looking to the military to perform police duties on American soil is positively numbing.

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*Gotta wonder what happened with that. D'ya think they might have, you know, talked to an actual military person about it? Nah....
**This one kills me. How does it not become clear from this kind of talk that border control is irretrievably tied up with fear of taint?

The Sarah Palin Nomination as an Insult to Sarah Palin

Judith Warner has had an epiphany:

Frankly, I’ve come to think, post-Kissinger, post-Katie-Couric, that Palin’s nomination isn’t just an insult to the women (and men) of America. It’s an act of cruelty toward her as well.

I think Sarah Palin is a pathological narcissist (and arguably, bully) with serious control issues. But it is becoming so much clearer how far out of her depth she's swimming that my inner David Foster Wallace is suggesting in his roundabout way that Ms. Warner has a point about this: If we ridicule the bullies, we just validate their approach.

"Hey, Biden! Get up off your big fat resume!"

Jonathan Martin quotes Sarah Palin from Charlie Gibson's tightly scripted command performance with Princess Sarah:

“But, Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume [sic] maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state.”

"Big fat résumé"? Biden's right, she's good at this schoolyard bullshit.

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Sarah Palin: Hockey Mom, or Hockey Goon? Or: Cruelty Is Strength, And Strength Is Good, Episode #32589

Sean Quinn put very cleanly something I've been thinking about for a week and a half or so, ever since that cute "pitbull with lipstick" gauntlet-slap. They key is in understanding that she's not a "Hockey Mom" -- she's a hockey goon. Er, I mean, hockey agitator.

.... She's a hockey player. She’s a fourth-line hockey agitator, beloved by the home crowd, loathed by the opponents, injecting passion into both fan bases, the kind of home-team hero that no Stanley Cup winner goes without.

Once upon a time, I applied an NFL-replay mentality to hockey playoffs, holding on to outrages over missed calls, blatantly unfair officiating, double standards, and outright getting-away-with-stuff (which always led to an early spring exit for my beloved Blues). I wanted – and unreasonably expected – bad behavior to be proportionally punished.

And then several years ago I had an epiphany about the hockey playoffs – nobody is coming to save you. Initiators win, reactors lose. Expect adversity, because it's built in. The fourth-line, no-scoring-talent, pest agitators (or as we now call them, “energy guys”) have a specific job. Skate in, take a cheap shot, make it after the whistle. Make it against the rules. Stir something up. Put a wet glove in the other guy's face and rub it. Get the outrage flowing. Get the opponent not thinking about the game, get them thinking about your shenanigans. And what happens? The “victimized” team loses its composure, hitting back. The guy who hits second is always the guy who goes to the penalty box. [emph added]

Watching Sarah Palin this week, and the reaction to her by both sides, and all the talk of hockey mommery, I realized that this is who she is. She skates into the corner, throws up an elbow, and the Democrats cry: “Foul!” Hey! She said Obama has never passed a major bill – this is an objective lie! Hey! She ridiculed community organizing the day after Service was the theme! Technically people should punish her by not voting for her over this infraction!

It’s whining, and whiners hit back second and go to the penalty box on top of it.

FiveThirtyEight.com: Electoral Projections Done Right: Sarah Palin Is Not a Hockey Mom

And what's more, in the Code of the Goon, they deserve it. Cruelty is strength, and the weak deserve to be punished. It's the Republican way.

Heaven forbid we dare to name the behavior, as Joe Biden so eloquently did a few days ago.

“It was about how well placed -- and boy she is good -- how a left jab can be stuck pretty nice. It’s about how Barack Obama is such a bad guy.”

(Thanks also to the Daily Show.)

All of this, of course, is bullshit in the Frankfurtian sense: Truth is irrelevant, because the objective is to make a new "truth" on the ground, shaped out of power.

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(Addendum: Just because I'm curious whether calling a spade a spade on this will actually catch on, here's Google's results on 'sarah palin' hockey goon,

Behold the Agonizer

"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you know the answer already. Everybody knows. The thing in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." -- George Orwell, 1984

In the coverage at Wired of the Air Force's new Active Denial System for crowd control, I didn't see any mention of the agonizer. And yet, that's what it is, more or less: A device that induces searing, burning pain that's so intense, subjects cannot help but struggle to get away from it.

It works via millimeter-wave radiation. Wired (courtesy of the Sunshine Project) has thoughtfully provided a rundown of publicly available documentation. On a quick scan, it's hard to tell whether the pain is caused by heating in the skin or by some other interaction between pain-nerves and millimeter-wave radiation. But prolonged exposer to the beam can cause second-degree burns, so heating does definitely occur.

And there's also no mention in Wired's coverage of the applications for torture, which are painfully [sic] obvious to me. An uncreative sadist would leave a victim with second-degree burns after leaving the beam focused for too long in one spot. A creative sadist would hack together something like Gene Roddenberry's agony booth, to move the focus of radiation around to different sets of nerve endings, in order to reduce the effect of neurotransmitter depletion. After an hour or so, I'm quite sure just about anybody would be willing to tell us whatever we wanted to hear as long as it makes the pain stop. In room 101, the man who works the latch on the rat cage is your god.

A vehicle-mounted version is apparently being tested in Iraq right now. I'm very, very curious to know what Iraqis will make of it. I think they'll get the torture angle right away. And since the technology is pretty easy to replicate, I can envision disreputable dictatorships throughtout the world deploying copycat devices in the near future.

The Imaginary Terri Schiavo

Imaginary people make much better martyrs.

Case in point: Terri Schiavo. The appeals are finally exhausted; Terri Schiavo is dead, unequivocally, unappealably. And we've just begun to see the consequences. Quite aside from the impending wrongful-death suit (which will be brought regardless of the results from the forthcoming autopsy, to be performed by a Jeb Bush appointee), the fight has catalyzed a constituency. It's given bullshit artists like Tom Delay (that old exterminator) a soapbox to stand on. Note, as we go forward, the endless repetition of their Big Lies: That the "American People" are behind the reckless Conservative-Republican adventurism; that the case shows improper involvement by the courts, instead of the courts doing their jobs by (perish the thought!) making judgements.

What was this case about? It certainly wasn't about whether one person would have preferred to have her body die; it passed beyond that threshold years ago. It passed beyond that when Bob and Mary Schindler concocted a "person" they called "Terri Schiavo", and identified her with their daughter, and pasted her face over their daughter's face whenever they saw her limbic-brained body in that bed. The "Terri Schiavo" that Bob and Mary struggled so hard to defend was not their daughter, but their dream of their daughter, or at least the best dream they could muster under the circumstances.

And she was a perfect daughter, in many ways: She didn't talk back, never contradicted their version of her life's narrative, never corrected their inventions about what she might be thinking at that moment. Or have thought when she was eight, for that matter.

It certainly wasn't about what the real Terri Schiavo's wishes might have been. What they are, I can't know, and I daresay Michael Schiavo can't know for sure. But judges have been evaluating the matter for seven years and not found a reason to suspect that she wanted her body to remain alive long after she'd lost the capacity to engage in detectable interactions with other people.

True, Michael can't have known for sure; but her parents -- surely they must have known?

Why? Why would we suppose that? My own parents wouldn't have the faintest idea what I'd want in such a situation. For practical purposes, they know nothing of real substance about me that they didn't know before I was eight. I could name four or five close friends, a handful of ex-lovers and seven or eight not-so-close friends who'd have a better idea.

So, no, it's got nothing to do with Terri's wishes. But it's got a great deal to do with how her parents imagine her wishes -- with the wishes of their fictional Terri, as it were.

And Jeb and George Bush's and Randall Terry's and Tom Delay's fictional Terri. Which is the real obscenity, here, of course. If it were just Bob and Mary, it would be a tragedy. And anyway, their version of Terri is at least based on something real. But with Jeb & George & Randall & Tom in the game, any hope of the real Terry S. being remembered are completely gone. She's doomed to be immortalized as an abstracted martyr for the cause of eliminating secular justice.

Chameleonic BTK Killer

Detroit Free Press columnist Susan Ager writes:

Serial killers tend to isolate themselves, perhaps because it's hard to keep evil from oozing out your eyes.

Dennis Rader didn't hide from his family, his friends or the house of his God. His eyes were wide open.

Well, Ted Bundy appeared to be one upstanding guy, too,... an honors student, well-liked....

But the respectable profile that emerged after Rader was named Saturday by police as Wichita's notorious "BTK" killer, responsible for at least 10 murders since the 1970s, was no shock at all to experts who track the diverse collection of psychopaths and psychotics who have written their names in blood across the American crime landscape.

"Nothing about this surprises me," said Katherine Ramsland, a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. "A person diagnosed as psychopathic would be chameleonic. They know the right behavior, the right words, but they don't feel anything. They are able to compartmentalize. They can live their lives sincerely, and also be out there killing, because they set those parts apart." [â??Suspect Fits Serial Killer Profileâ? by John Riley, Newsday, March 1, 2005]

Susan Ager also notes:

But it's easy to believe -- and satisfying, even encouraging to believe -- that in the end he was betrayed by his own conscience choking, finally, on all the lies it had to tell itself.

His conscience? If he had one, that wouldnâ??t fit the typical profile for a serial killer. Most serial killers have an alarming lack of guilt, fear, or empathy. Reid Melloy, forensic psychologist, once stated:

"There is no evidence that thereâ??s successful treatment or rehabilitation for serial murderers."

Susan Ager mentions, â??... experts suspect he wanted, finally, to be caught, after at least 10 murders and 30 years of deceit.â? Why would he want to be caught? Some unlikely newfound remorse? At least I can agree with Candice DeLong, a former FBI profiler, that Dennis Rader was probably seeking the limelight again.

In either case, he got his wish.

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Neo-Conservative Sadism

From the Guardian, via Daypop:

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Christino, who retired last June after 20 years in military intelligence, says that President George W Bush and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have 'wildly exaggerated' their intelligence value.

....

In his previous assignment in Germany, one of his roles had been to co-ordinate intelligence support to the US army in Afghanistan, at Guantánamo, and to units responsible for transporting prisoners there.

Bush, Rumsfeld and Major General Geoffrey Miller, Guantánamo's former commandant who is now in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, have repeatedly claimed that Guantánamo interrogations have provided 'enormously valuable intelligence,' thanks to a system of punishments, physical and mental abuse and rewards for for co-operation, introduced by Miller and approved by Rumsfeld.

In a speech in Miami, Rumsfeld claimed: 'Detaining enemy combatants... can help us prevent future acts of terrorism. It can save lives and I am convinced it can speed victory.'

However, Christino says, General Miller had never worked in intelligence before being assigned to Guantánamo, and his system seems almost calculated to produce entirely bogus confessions.

Earlier this year, three British released detainees, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul [and] Rhuhel Ahmed, revealed that they had all confessed to meeting bin Laden and Mohamed Atta, leader of the 11 September hijackers, at a camp in Afghanistan in 2000. All had cracked after three months isolated in solitary confinement and interrogation sessions in chains that lasted up to 12 hours daily.

Eventually, MI5 proved what they had said initially - that none had left the UK that year. Rasul had been working at a branch of Currys. The disclosures come on the eve of a House of Lords appeal on the fate of the foreign terrorist suspects held without trial in British prisons.

[emphases added]

Which leaves me wondering at the resilience of the human spirit: It took three months of concentrated effort to crack these three men.

It also leaves me wondering what the real point is of all this torture. Why do Conservatives love it so? Could it possibly have something to do with the thug-right's willingness to engage whatever means are necessary to achieve their ends, and beg The Lord's forgiveness, later?

"I pay your salary. So yes, I CAN tell you how to vote."

"The only thing a free man can be forced to do is die." So when Lynne Gobbell got an ultimatum from her boss to remove the Kerry-Edwards sticker or find another job, she had the choice to comply and stay, or to defy and go.

She had the choice to listen and obey when her lawful employer told her what to do in order to continue to earn a paycheck. Or to disobey, and not earn a paycheck.

Did she know that fealty to President Bush was the price of continued employment? Look for plant owner (and bankrupcy attorney) Phil Gaddis to take the position that she did, and that she understood the risks. After all, he'd inserted a slip of paper into everyone's pay envelope that read (in part):

Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):

  • I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
  • I was able to finance our receivables
  • I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
  • I was able to get the wire cutter
  • I was able to give you a job

...

You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did.

So is it really Phil Gaddis's fault if Lynne Gobbell is too pig-headed to know who her betters are? Of course he can tell her how to vote: He owns her labor power. She sold it to him. Voting is work. End of discussion. When you own this country, you can vote however you like. Until then, get back to work.

"When We Do It, It's Funny; When You Do It, It's Pathetic"

Just in case there remained any doubt that the GOP was the party of choice for bullies, a cadre of helpful Freepers have been volunteering their homes as crash-pads for people coming to NYC to protest the Republican National Convention. Well, not their homes, exactly. Well, not anyone's homes, exactly. As a matter of fact, they're fictional homes:

.... The people were very friendly, giving me wonderful directions to their apartment and telling me that I could crash there until I leave on the 5th. Hmm. That's generous. Too generous, actually.

....

But then, I had that nagging feeling. Wouldn't it suck to fly all the way there and find out that we were being duped? I figured I could Google their email address and see what was up. Well, there was nothing except the aforementioned cc.org housing listing. So I removed the "@hotmail.com" from the email address and Googled the handle instead. Surely if they were not on the level they would be smart enough to not use a handle that would lead to incriminating evidence. Well, I forgot that Republicans in general and Freepers specifically are a bunch of heartless, brainless fucking assholes.

Oh, golly, that's hilarious. Gosh, those Freepers sure do have a great sense of humor -- making sure those "moonbats" end up sleeping on the street in New York City during the five days of the year that the NYPD is most likely to be hauling in every "vagrant" they find on the street; wouldn't that just serve those liberal pussies right? It's almost as funny as when they used to call Chelsea Clinton the "dog faced girl."

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