Setting An Example Of Making An Example

“Son, where did you learn about disproportionate military response?”

From you, Dad! I learned it from watching you, okay?!?”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that Israel should harshly respond to the Hezbollah shelling of IDF convoys near the border with Lebanon.

“The firing of rockets at our sovereign territory should be responded to harshly and disproportionately, just as China or the US would in similar circumstances,” said Lieberman.

Countries that blow up the crap out of the Middle East have client states that blow up the crap out of the Middle East.

And we wonder why Gaza is 139 square miles of lunar craters and despair with checkpoints.

Two memory vignettes

Last night I was running errands with my kids.  Two things concerning memory stuck me as notable.

My kids are six and closer to three than two.  We were waiting in the check-out line when I noticed that Miss V, a former pre-school teacher for my daughter (the six year old), was a couple of people in front of us.  She was paying for a big bucket of paint and a couple of other things.  I waved, and pointed out that Miss V was there, and both my kids took off to give her full body tackles/hugs.  We talked, and my daughter told Miss V all about kindergarten.

Then Miss V. asked my son if he liked Christmas.

“I got presents, big trucks, and a boat”

“What was your favorite thing about Christmas?”

“I put the blue star on the tree with Daddy”.

We put our tree up almost a month ago, and he did put the blue star on top of the tree.  This is the first time when I am sure that he accurately reported back a memory of more than a couple days old.  He is transitioning from having a sense of memory/specific memories of gold fish, to building some permemant memories.  I know my daughter has long term memories dating to roughly the same point before she turned three.

As we were driving home from the shopping center, we passed a regional transit bus.  My son went happily ballistic about it as it was a big red bus and those are the best buses ever made.  The transit buses have a marquee above the driver.  There are three panels that each display for a couple of seconds in rotation.  The bus route number and name is the first panel, a banal expression of support for our local sportsball teams is on the second panel, and the third panel was “Always Remember 9/11”

I am too young, but did we as a society have that type of messaging about Pearl Harbor in 1954?  Our societal memories and memorialization of 9/11 can’t be health.  It should not be forgotten but it should not be quasi-idealized to maintain a permament state of fear and uncertainty.

Yay Team Cheney Torture Awesome Force GO!

So, how did America react to the Senate torture report?   Well, I certainly got a chuckle out of Fox News host Andrea Tantaros proclaiming that torture made America “awesome” and all, but the problem is that’s exactly what America thinks.

Six in 10 Americans say the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists was justified, more than half think it produced important, unique intelligence – and 52 percent say it was wrong for the Senate Intelligence Committee to issue a report suggesting otherwise.

Those results in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll underscore the public’s sense of risk from the threat of terrorism, and specifically the extent to which majorities support controversial measures to combat it. Indeed just two in 10 flatly rule out torture in future cases.

A plurality, 49 percent, believes the CIA did in fact torture suspected terrorists; 38 percent think its actions did not amount to torture, with the rest unsure. Regardless, the public by a broad 59-31 percent also says the agency’s interrogation actions were justified.

One reason is that 53 percent think these interrogations produced important information that could not have been obtained any other way. Just 31 percent reject this claim, a focus of the recent debate.

So yeah, solid majorities in favor of “enhanced interrogation techniques” because “they work”, and “got us intelligence we could not have otherwise gotten”, and that the Senate Democrats should never have released the damn report at all.

Also, 47% found the report unfair to the CIA, and 57% think there should be no charges against those responsible (only 1 in 3 want to see prosecution.)  Hell, even 46% of self-identified liberals and 46% of registered Democrats believe the CIA actions were justified.

The majority of the country is no different from Dick Cheney in this respect.  Some 13 years after 9/11, we’re still a nation of bloodthirsty monsters. Politically this issue is a loser for team D and they know it, and you’d better believe we’ll hear over the next two years how those weak, Neville Chamberlain liberals should never be allowed to be in charge of foreign policy anymore.  This report is going to go away very, very quickly.

Yay Team Torture!  America is firmly a charter member, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

Post-Racial America Update, Simple Minds Edition

Remember kids, racism is a barbarous old relic of the past that is no longer applicable in American politics, therefore political remedies for racism like the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act are equally as outdated.

Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R), who the assembly’s Republican caucus selected as their choice to be its next speaker earlier this month, has a long history of racist, sexist and homophobic statements chronicled in a long list published by the Reno News Review. Among other things, as part of a broader statement of support for school vouchers, Hansen claimed that “[t]he relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.” Indeed, according to the News Review, Hansen keeps a Confederate battle flag on his wall, which he says that he flies “proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.” He also “tends to use the term ‘Negro’ and often does not capitalize it.”

Hansen has also published several columns attacking Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including one where he claims that “King’s private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.” In another piece, he wrote that “[t]he lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.

Reminder: not only is this charming gentlemen an elected state Assemblyman, elected to represent people in Nevada, but his Republican colleagues believe his views are acceptable (Or non-controversial? Unknown even though he had a newspaper column? You choose!) enough to make him the Speaker of Nevada’s State Assembly.

Oh and there’s more.  Because with these aggregate colonies of fungus in people suits, there always is more.

Nor does Hansen reserve his condemnations for African Americans. He’s argued that “women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.” He’s criticized the “sexual revolution” and the “women’s liberation movement” for encouraging women “to act as foolishly as men.” And he also claims to have a strange obsession with gay child molesters. He once wrote that he’s “been keeping a rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally” and that this inquiry revealed that “and roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys.” As the News Review notes, “Hansen gave no details, nor did he publish his list, nor did he explain how he knew the sexuality of the alleged molesters.”

I mean this guy is a walking caricature of Republican Racist Asshole, and the guy still ends up Speaker of Nevada’s Assembly.  The dean of Nevada politics, Jon Ralston, has more on how Hansen ended up winning that position.

I got some intel from some GOP insiders, who filled me in on exactly what happened during Friday’s marathon session:

It appears that Pat Hickey never had much of a chance to be elected as speaker after serving as minority leader. “It went downhill quick,” one source told me.

Most of the night was a negotiation, with Ira Hansen eventually agreeing to give the majority leader slot to southerner Paul Anderson.

Fact was Hansen started with, as one put it, “all the new members and the Fiore wing,” a reference to Michele Fiore, who does not like Hickey and whose best friend, Victoria Seaman, was just elected.

So, with a majority at the outset, “Hansen had the votes so it ended up more like a negotiation than an election,” one source told me.

Again, Nevada’s newly minted Republican majority in the State Assembly had no reservations whatsoever about putting a guy who used the word “darkies” as their Speaker.


Are We There Yet?

AL’s early morning post covered the human dimensions of the refugee crisis, and commenters linked to organizations that are attempting to help the innocent kids caught up in this geopolitical nightmare. Here are a few thoughts about the political dimensions.

The US is at a real crossroads on immigration, and this border crisis could blow the whole damn thing up. It’s obvious that the Republicans are counting on that, actually, because what else have they got? The question is, who will get blown up: Them? Or us?

We know that in the long-term, Republicans’ anti-immigrant hysteria is unsustainable; their big business paymasters don’t like it because it blocks a source of cheap labor, and imprinting their contempt for non-whites will doom Republicans to become a regional rump party as this country becomes more diverse.

Republicans with the baseline sentience of a turnip know this, hence Rubio’s and others’ feeble attempts to encourage reform, which ended in a humiliating retreat every time as the base rejected anything but balls-to-the-wall anti-immigrant hate.

But are we at that tipping point right now — are we at a place nationally where participating or benefiting from anti-immigrant hysteria dooms a candidate on the national stage? I’m not convinced that we are.

If the Republicans can manufacture and exploit a crisis that allows them to look like guardians of the border and saviors of American jobs and culture (read: white), they might get one more shot at looting the Treasury, stacking the deck even more firmly in favor of the wealthy and larding the Supreme Court with wingnut ideologues who will be a curse upon the land for another generation after Obama leaves office.

As is frequently the case with Republicans, they may overreach. One source of that overreach could be the militia crazies — emboldened in part by the Bundy Ranch clown show, which they regard as a roaring success.

As Crooks & Liars noted, one Bundy-inspired attempt to lure armed lunatics to the border recently fizzled. But that’s largely because the man who served as its rallying point was even less ready for prime time than Bundy proved to be.

Let’s hope no one who meets even Fox News’ subterranean standards for Constitution-humping patriot hero emerges with a similar message; things could get really ugly if unhinged gun fetishists converge on the border hopped up on hate, heat and meth.

But if this crisis drags on as summer wanes — and we can count on the Republicans to do everything they can to ensure that it does — I’m not sure where we’ll end up. Too many wildcards in play. What do you think?