WHEN THE DIVISIONS of politics divide people and nations, the tragedy of the real [story] makes clear we share a common misery as well as a shared joy that less have suffered from catastrophes natural and man made. From near the roof of the world comes word Allah (or is it Vishnu) has tested the souls of Muslim and Hindu both with shaking of this mortal earth.
HIGH IN THE HINDU KUSH in the embattled region of Kashmir, in a nuclear threatened truce of a war seeming eternal, Hindu and Muslim have engaged each other in a slow motion frozen war for land few men survive in for long. Now Pakistan and India, children of the same mother, shining twins, much more than what the British called their Jewel in the Crown of Empire, share tragedy united.
IN SUCH HARSH TIMES we remember how much we are all the same. The tragedy of the real is how soon we forget .
BILL BENNETT HAS WON this year’s Jonathan Not So Swift Award. [story] Each year a prize is awarded to the public figure who with a dubious public utterance most ill approaches the style of satirist Jonathan Swift. Those who recall a time before Paris Hilton rocked the world even more than the Paris Commune may recall Swift had an immodest solution for the “Irish Problem” back in the early Eighteenth century. Too many Irish children among those breed ‘em can’t feed ‘em Catholic Irish? Export the wee ones then, or better yet eat them.
BENNETT NOW SWALLOWS some criticism for his like and kindly suggestion that if you aborted all black babies, the crime rate would go down. The people who don’t understand this obvious satire can’t take a joke. Or they can’t take Bill Bennett. Or both.
RECOMMENDED READING [Majikthise] There's nothing offensive about a little reductio amongst friends.
THE HERETIK IS UNCERTAIN whether Bennett’s mistake is in his concept or in his execution. And speaking of execution, public execution of people who abuse free speech privilege with stupid speech would leave more vowels and consonants around for the rest of us to use in a wise way. Executing Bennett would be a helpful reductio ad infinitum.
ROLE REVERSAL AND ALL THAT [Jesse Taylor/Pandagon] All I'm going to say to idiots like Andrew McCarthy is that if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton made the (completely true) point that we would likely never have another serial killer if we just aborted all white male babies, they'd be ready to burn the DNC down.
SHAMEFUL ATTACKS [ANDREW C. McCARTHY/NRO] Bennett is being fried by the PC police and the ethnic-grievance industry, which have disingenuously ripped his minor point out of its context in a shameful effort to paint him as a racist. He’s about as bigoted as Santa Claus.
THE HERETIK NOTES out of context is usual the attack defense used by someone who later realizes when he said something, he might have been um out of his mind. Mister Bennett, your psychiatrist called and said you can pick up your meds in Vegas. And as far as Santa Claus goes, he needs to get with this PC affirmative action thing. Black elves are entirely underrepresented. SO WHY SHOULD I CARE? [Running Scared] Now, as expected, some groups missed the point completely, and harked at him for "insensitive, hurtful and ignorant rhetoric". And reading through the CNN article, you get the impression he made that statement out of the blue, completely reversing the meaning. Usually I'm not into the "liberal media" conspiracy talk, but this makes me wonder who's trying to get an agenda across in this kind of reporting.
LIBRULS [Avedon Carol] Mysteriously, some liberal bloggers just don't seem to be able to find much outrage over Bennett's outrageously racist remarks. Kudos to Garance Franke-Ruta for being prepared to question that reaction even when it comes from a colleague with whom she shares real estate on Tapped's page ALL THE HERETIK IS GOING TO SAY is he is looking forward to Bill Bennett’s Final Solution for those damned liberals.
ALSO HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THIS 'MORALS' THINGS ISN'T WHAT IT'S CRACKERED UP TO BE! [Pessimist/The Left Coaster] I'm surprised (no, not really!) that this story isn't getting more coverage, for it exposes the basic hypocrisy that is the main motivator of the Republican Party.
THE HERETIK REALLY LIKES The Pessimist’s way with words. The Pessimist doesn’t like the Republicans’ ways with race relations.
[Digby] And, by the way, Bennett's crime is that he essentially said "blacks are born criminals." Certainly, you can say
that aborting any number of discrete demographic groups could have an
effect on the crime rate, but attributing it to race suggests something
THE BENNETT SLIP [Echidne] If he had really wanted to make the point by
picking a group with very high crime rates he should have suggested
aborting all male fetuses.
[Agitprop] As Bennett himself said: "If we are surrounded by the trivial and the
vicious, it is all too easy to make our peace with it." Surrounded by
the vicious? If Bill retires, it'll be less of a crowd.
That, at least, is what I thought when I first read it. But I see that my new friends on The Corner would disagree with me
— Jonah Goldberg calls this “a silly, manufactured, attack on Bennett.
Maybe he could have phrased it differently, but the point he made is
rational . . .”
Of course, the rationality of the point
depends on what your definition of “rational” is. Personally, I don’t
think that conducting involuntary mass abortions on the basis of race
is a very rational solution to the problem of crime in this country,
but what do I know — I’m just one of those kooky bloggers, not a former
U.S. Secretary of Education with a nationally syndicated radio show and
a “philosophy professor’s hat.”
At any rate, though the import of Bennett’s words are clear to most of us, the spin he uncorked after a controversy broke out is a little bit harder to follow.
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY DISTANCES HIMSELF from Massachusetts with jokes. [story] Willard Mitt Romney briefly thawed out long enough to warm the hearts and fire the flame in some potential Presidential primary voters in South Carolina.
I WANT TO LIVE IN AMERICA I Want to Live in a Place Where People Do Absurd and Ridiculous Things to Protest Absurd and Harmful Things. Absurd and harmful things is a euphemism for a horror. What we have done and what we do is torture people abroad. Some people had something to say about that to someone who did not want to hear.
Demonstrators interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday by recreating an image of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in which a hooded prisoner stood with his arms outstretched attached to electric wires.
Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined U.S. prestige abroad.
Rice initially continued her speech on American foreign policy under President Bush but paused when the protesters shouted "Stop the torture. Stop the killing. U.S. out of Iraq," as police led them out of the auditorium. ....................... COMMON DREAMS May 28, 2005
If we are so convinced of the correctness of our policy on torture, maybe we should do in the light of day at home what we do in the shadows of the dark abroad. We should bring the detainees here. We should do it out in the open and make a show of it. And not just for terrorists. We need to be consistent in the fight against evil. If torture is okay for terrorists abroad, why not for murderers here? And everyone knows an accused child molester is guilty, right? Littering is a problem? We could end our crime problem quite quickly.
We could end all our national problems. With the right marketing, we could solve the national debt and save social security too. Put it all on television. Nobody likes getting it bad but everyone likes seeing someone else get it good. Morality and ratings are an inverse proportion. Reality TV would have a whole new meaning. Sell advertising to the highest bidder. Some soaring vulture wants in on this flayed flesh.
Need a host for this horror? I heard Ashcroft is looking for a job. Ari Fleischer could do the color commentary. Watch what you say, watch what you do. What a bloody success that would be.
This is my ridiculous and absurd contribution against ridiculous and harmful things. I will coast for the rest of today. Or not. There are so many mad, bad things that make an opportunity for action. What is the most ridiculous and absurd thing you have seen today? What ridiculous and absurd thing will you do today?
Q On various reports of abuse, whether it's at Guantanamo Bay or
Afghanistan, you've often said that those are isolated incidents. Are
there any U.S. policies, though, in place currently that have lead to
those isolated incidences that should be reevaluated?
MR. McCLELLAN: We are a society based on laws and values -- it's
not just laws, but also values that we hold dearly. And certainly,
what you bring up has been a stain on the image of the United States
abroad. But if you look at how we address these matters, it shows our
commitment to human rights and human dignity. We hold people
accountable when there is abuse. We take steps to prevent it from
happening again, and we do so in a very public way for the world to see
that we lead by example, and that we do have values that we hold very
dearly and believe in.
Q So the current policies aren't contributing to the problem?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. No.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Yet governments are failing to confront their lack of success in
addressing terrorism, persisting with failed but politically-convenient
strategies. Four years after 9/11, the promise to make the world a
safer place remains hollow," said Ms Khan.
administration’s attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through
new policies and quasi-management speak such as "environmental
manipulation", "stress positions" and "sensory manipulation", was one
of the most damaging assaults on global values.
Despite the US administration’s repeated use of the language of
justice and freedom there was a huge gap between rhetoric and reality.
This was starkly illustrated by the failure to conduct a full and
independent investigation into the appalling torture and ill-treatment
of detainees by US soldiers in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and the failure
to hold senior individuals to account.
"The USA, as the unrivalled political, military and economic
hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide. When
the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of
law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse
with impunity," said Irene Khan.
I COULD LAUGH ON THIS UNTIL I CRIED. What is the comedy or tragedy of your life today?