Tag Archives: patriarchs

This isn’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, either

Updated below

TK

No one photograph captures the totality of any one human being. Fucking duh.

A Massachusetts state cop has, apparently without authorization, released images that he took of the capture of the accused Boston Marathon bombing participant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in order to make a political point while blasting Rolling Stone for allegedly having tried to make a political point. (The image above is the image that has gone the most viral.)

“As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image [of Tsarnaev] that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,” Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy huffed and puffed when he gave the images to Boston Magazine, continuing, “The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

I get it that Murphy has a personal and political interest in protecting the authoritarian, law-and-order, “good”-guys-vs.-“bad”-guys, violence-loving, white-male patriarchy of which he is part and parcel, but it was unprofessional (and, hell, for all that I know, also illegal) for Murphy, on his own, to release the images to the media out of his own personal and political passions, and BBC News reports that Murphy apparently has been relieved of duty for having released the images without authorization.

Good!

Murphy is allowed his wingnutty opinions, but, when it comes to whether or not D. Tsarnaev’s attorneys can argue whether or not he can get a fair trial, a fucking Rolling Stone cover probably won’t factor into that argument, but a state cop’s having released photos of Tsarnaev and having called Tsarnaev “evil” and “the real Boston bomber” certainly could. So Murphy’s actions seem to me to be reckless at best, especially if he is interested in actual justice, as he apparently claims he is.

Yes, in his right-wing rant that the apparently right-wing Boston Magazine published, the leaker Murphy also proclaimed: “Photography is very simple, it’s very basic. It brings us back to the cave. An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we [who, exactly, is “we”?] see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

While I agree that “photography is very simple,” that is the fucking problem. Murphy, apparently without any self-awareness of this, is guilty of the flip side of what he accuses Rolling Stone of having done.

I agree that one emo-looking image of D. Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone certainly doesn’t tell the whole story about the young man, but neither does one image (or even several images) of a sniper’s red-laser dot on Tsarnaev’s forehead tell the whole story about him.

Each of us is a complex human being who cannot be summed up in one fucking photograph.

And neither can even someone like D. Tsarnaev tidily and neatly be summed up in the single word “evil,” as Murphy so helpfully has done for us, and, of course, the difference between people like Murphy — authoritarian, self-righteous, patriarchy-promoting-and-protecting, hypocritically-violent-themselves types — and the rest of us is that while Murphy would deny that he contains any evil within himself at all, the rest of us acknowledge that we do.

And it’s those who deny that they have any evil within themselves at all who, in my book, are the most dangerous of all, which is perhaps why our plutocratic overlords love to have these sociopathic types in the U.S. military and in U.S. law enforcement (and, let’s face it, most of the time “our” laws apply only to us commoners, and not to our plutocratic overlords).

Update: Via Slate.com, this is a clarification of what has happened with Sgt. Sean Murphy:

Though he’s been relieved of duty, Murphy has not been fired. The status of his duty is to be reviewed next week. Two lieutenants in an unmarked cruiser and a sergeant in a marked cruiser arrived at Murphy’s home about 7:40 [last night] and, during about 20 minutes at his home, took the following: his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest, cameras, police ID, license to fire arms, pepper spray, cellphone and computer. Murphy was also ordered not to speak to the press or discuss the capture of Tsarnaev with anyone else.

My guess is that he’ll get a slap on the wrist. At the bare minimum, in my book, he no longer should be allowed to photograph police activity.

Also, the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote a good piece defending Rolling Stone. Sure, you might say, of course he’s going to defend his employer, but nonetheless, he makes some good points, such as these:

… I think, on the whole, the people leveling these criticisms must not read the magazine, which is understandable. It would be beyond unreasonable to expect everyone in the country to be regularly familiar with the articles in Rolling Stone. On the other hand, pretty much everyone has heard of Rolling Stone, which is where the problem lay, in this gap between the popular image of the magazine and the reality of its reporting.

If indeed we were just a celebrity/gossip mag that covered nothing but rock stars and pop-culture icons, and we decided to boost sales and dabble in hard news by way of putting a Jim Morrison-esque depiction of a mass murderer on our cover, that really would suck and we would deserve all of this criticism.

But Rolling Stone has actually been in the hard news/investigative reporting business since its inception, from Hunter S. Thompson to Carl Bernstein to Bill Greider back in the day to Tim Dickinson, Michael Hastings, Mark Boal, Janet Reitman and myself in recent years.

One could even go so far as to say that in recent years, when investigative journalism has been so dramatically de-emphasized at the major newspapers and at the big television news networks, Rolling Stone’s role as a source of hard-news reporting has been  magnified. In other words, we’re more than ever a hard news outlet in a business where long-form reporting is becoming more scarce. …

If the Rolling Stone editors had brought Tsarnaev in to its offices near Rockefeller center, wined and dined him, and then posed him for that Jim Morrison shot, then yes, that would be reprehensible.

But that’s not what the magazine did. They used an existing photo, one already used by other organizations. The New York Times, in fact, used exactly the same photo on the cover of their May 5 issue.

But there was no backlash against the Times, because everyone knows the Times is a news organization. Not everyone knows that about Rolling Stone. So that’s your entire controversy right there – it’s OK for the Times, not OK for Rolling Stone, because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication. …

[Regarding] the idea that the cover photo showed Tsarnaev to be too nice-looking, too much like a sweet  little boy[,] I  can understand why this might upset some  people. But the jarringly non-threatening image of Tsarnaev is exactly the point of the whole story. If any of those who are up in arms about this cover had read Janet’s piece, they would see that the lesson of this story is that there are no warning signs for terrorism, that even nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids can end up packing pressure-cookers full of shrapnel and tossing them into crowds of strangers.

Thus the cover picture is not intended to glamorize Tsarnaev. Just the opposite, I believe it’s supposed to frighten. …

I recommend Taibbi’s piece in its entirety.

It was clear to me immediately that Rolling Stone had repurposed an existing image of Tsarnaev for its cover. I have to wonder if Sean Murphy is so stupid as to not have realized that, or if he realized that but intentionally wanted to mislead others in his personal crusade against Rolling Stone, which his own words — his description of the image of Tsarnaev that RS used as “someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine” — suggest.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New pope, same as the last pope

Pope Benedict and Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the one-two finishers in 2005, meet again at the Vatican in 2007.

Reuters photo

Then-Pope Palpatine is shown with then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in 2007. The new pope, who is Italian, only technically is Latin American.

When I saw the initial headline that the newly minted pope is from Argentina, I thought: Yes! They picked a pope from Latin America!

But only technically did they.

When I saw the new pope’s birth name — Jorge Mario Bergoglio (he’s going by Pope Francis) — I thought, Wait a minute: Bergoglio doesn’t sound Spanish

Indeed, his entry on Wikipedia says that the 76-year-old Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 to Italian parents.

I was hoping for a native Latin American pope, but that was too much to hope for, apparently. We very apparently got yet another pope whose blood is that of the European white man. And as though we haven’t had enough Italian popes.

With his having been born and raised in Argentina, I’m not saying that the new pope isn’t acculturated as an Argentinian (he speaks Spanish as well as Italian, for instance), but let’s not be fooled into thinking that the Catholick church finally picked its first pope of color. It has not.

The Catholick church gets to say that it picked its “first Latin American pope” when, in fact, the Eurocentric church picked a guy with white European blood who only was born in Latin America.

That doesn’t count, in my book.

And I have to wonder if that’s why Bergoglio was picked: because of his appeal as a twofer. He could be called “the first Latin American pope,” on a technicality, but at the same time his selection did not break the looong chain of white-male popes.

Of course, no woman may head the Catholick church, so that’s discrimination against at least half of the human population, so maybe I’m splitting hairs here with the race thing.

Speaking of women, Pope Francis, although he looks like he’s a lot nicer than Pope Palpatine ever looked —

(indeed, in the photo above he kind of looks like Woody Allen playing a cardinal) —  toes the Catholick church’s lines on the issues of abortion (no), contraception (n0) and same-sex marriage (hell no).

Indeed, the former Cardinal Bergoglio had come in at second place when Pope Palpatine was selected in 2005.

Expect no significant changes in the backasswards Catholick church, which I would say changes at a glacial pace, but since the glaciers are all melting, I’ll say at a geological (as in “geological time”) pace.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

We still have no real national leader on stopping the use of killer drones

This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Senate Democrats pushed Wednesday for speedy confirmation of John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director but ran into a snag after a Paul began a lengthy speech over the legality of potential drone strikes on U.S. soil. But Paul stalled the chamber to start what he called a filibuster of Brennan's nomination. Paul's remarks were centered on what he said was the Obama administration's refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes inside the United States against American citizens.  (AP Photo/Senate Television)

Associated Press image

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has aligned himself with the Repugnican Party, the “tea party” and the libertarians, filibustered on the topic of the use of killer drones from yesterday afternoon until early this morning. Unfortunately, Paul’s concerns about the use of killer drones apparently is limited only to their use on “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil, and it seems to me that the upstart Paul’s goal is to promote and position himself as a future president at least as much as it is to tackle the problem of killer drones.

It was a breath of fresh air to see Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Rand Paul filibuster on the topic of the use of killer drones, a topic that the spineless, useless Democrats in D.C. (who are only about protecting the brand name and who have no sense of right and wrong) have refused to touch, since Papa Obama wuvs his drones, and Papa Obama must not be crossed.

The first slaughter of a human being by a U.S. drone occurred in Afghanistan in November 2001, during the reign of the unelected Bush regime. Pretty much nothing but evil came from the unelected Bush regime, yet DINO President Barack Obama decided to continue with the use of drones as remote-controlled killing machines.*

Most of the the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. want to preserve the use of human-snuffing drones for use by future Repugnican Tea Party presidents, and while many if not most of the DINOs in D.C. probably have a problem with the use of drones to kill human beings, none of them has the balls to stand up to Obama in a public and meaningful way.

So it was great to see Rand Paul buck both party establishments and speak out against at least one of the obvious problems that the use of human-killing drones poses. (I might say that that problem is their “abuse,” but since I believe that they should not be used at all, I won’t say “abuse,” because that connotes that their use at all might be OK.)

Don’t get me wrong. I could never cast a vote for Rand Paul.

Among other things, he opposes a woman’s right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest, but would leave it to each state to determine whether or not to allow legal abortion, Roe v. Wade be damned.

At least at one time he held the view that Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits private businesses from engaging in race-based discrimination, is unconsitutional, because a private business should be allowed to discriminate by race if it so wishes.

Although Rand Paul claims to be a strict constitutionalist, he doesn’t like the fact that the 14th Amendment makes anyone who is born on American a soil a U.S. citizen, regardless of the child’s parents’ citizenship status, and so he wants so-called “birthright citizenship” to end (he supports a constitutional amendment to end “birthright citizenship” if it can’t be ended otherwise).

Rand Paul apparently wants to pick and choose among the constitutional amendments, because he vehemently supports the Second Amendment, opposing all gun control. (As I’ve noted before, no civilian needs an assault rifle, and when the so-called founding fathers crafted the Second Amendment, no such weapons 0f mass destruction existed, so to claim that of course the Second Amendment extends to them is quite a fucking stretch.)

Rand Paul personally opposes same-sex marriage but is OK with allowing each state to decide the matter. (I have a personal problem with his personal opposition to it, with his ignorance and his bigotry on the matter, his heterosexism and homophobia, and I also disagree vehemently that any state should be able to decide whether or not to honor any U.S. citizen’s constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil rights.)

All in all, although the term “libertarian,” which Rand Paul uses to describe himself, implies a love of liberties and freedoms, with the libertarians (most of whom are right-wing white males), it is the same-old, same-old: These liberties and freedoms belong only to white, right-wing, “Christian,” heterosexual men (especially those who have power and money). They were the only ones who (regardless of what the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents proclaimed) had liberties and freedoms at the nation’s founding, and it should be that way forever, right? Just like the rich, white founding fathers intended!

That’s where Rand Paul is coming from. Indeed, he is considered a member of the “tea party” also. (I suspect that he just jumped on to the “tea party” bandwagon because the “libertarian” bandwagon wasn’t going to get him into the U.S. Senate, but if he says that he’s a member of the so-called “tea party,” and he does, then I’m going to hold him to that.)

While there is nothing that the “tea party” traitors believe that I also believe — far from being “revolutionaries” who are fighting for “freedom,” the “tea-party” dipshits support our corporate oppressors, which makes them treasonous fascists, not revolutionaries, and their belief system, if fully implemented, would bring about the even further enslavement of the American people, not our further freedom — the so-called “libertarians” are right on a few issues.

Rand Paul’s libertarian daddy, Ron Paul, for instance, although a patriarchal, misogynist homophobe also, opposed the Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, a rarity for someone aligned with the Repugnican Party.

Of course, Ron Paul’s reasoning for his opposition to the Vietraq War wasn’t the same as mine. My main problem with the Vietraq War was the carnage — thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians as well as more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel died pointlessly in the bogus war — carnage that benefitted only Big Oil and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp.

From what I can discern, Ron Paul’s biggest problem with the war was not the cost in human lives, but was that the war, he argued in October 2002, was unconstitutional**; the U.S. Congress just giving the U.S. president carte blanche approval to declare war was akin to monarchism, he declared. I agree with that, but it was the foreseeable death and destruction, not the constitutional arguments, that were my biggest concern during the Bush regime’s run-up to its Vietraq War in 2002 and early 2003.

It also has been the gargantuan fiscal cost of the Vietraq War to the American taxpayers that has concerned Ron Paul and other libertarians — and that has been a huge problem, too, as the cost of the Vietraq War is a nice chunk of our federal budget deficit — but it troubles me that Ron Paul and his fellow libertarians haven’t focused on the human costs of such bogus warfare.

Still, I suppose, although we did our calculations very differently, at least Ron Paul came to the same, correct answer: The United States never should go to war unless it absolutely, absolutely is necessary, and, as the U.S. Constitution mandates, the U.S. Congress must keep the U.S. president in check when it comes to waging war, and must never abdicate its sole constitutional authority to declare war to the president, under any circumstances.

And wars of choice for war profiteering — robbing the U.S. treasury via bogus warfare — are intolerable. And they are treasonous. Knowingly taking the nation to war with another nation based upon lies cannot be anything other than treason, except, of course, also war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On the topic of the use of drones to slaughter human beings, Rand Paul, much like his daddy, at least partially comes to the right answer, but with calculations that are too cold.

In his nearly 13-hour filibuster, Rand Paul’s main or even only concern about the use of drones, I understand from the media coverage of his filibuster, is that killer drones might one day be used on “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil, in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that no U.S. citizen shall be deprived of his or her life or liberty as punishment for an accused crime or crimes without first having been granted a fair trial.

That’s way too narrow a problem to have with the use of killer drones.

Why should only American citizens be granted such fairness, decency and justice? Is not every human being on the planet worthy of such fairness, decency and justice, or are Americans superior to other human beings? Are only American lives valuable?

Further: Drones are a cowardly, lazy and sloppy way to kill, and their use quite foreseeably could explode to the point that innocent people all over the world (including in the U.S., of course) are being maimed and slaughtered by drones, like something out of one of the “Terminator” movies.

Therefore, the use of drones to slaughter human beings should be prohibited worldwide. Their use should not be prohibited only against American citizens, whether on American soil or whether on foreign soil, whether they are deemed “combatant” or “non-combatant,” but should be prohibited against any human being. You can’t trust the average adult with the “proper” use of a killer drone any more than you can trust the average child with the proper use of a shotgun.

Sadly, however, even Rand Paul’s public stance on killer drones is to the left of the public stance taken by the DINOs (which mostly is an eery silence).

DINO Nancy Pelosi, for instance, on the subject of the use of drones to slaughter human beings, to my knowledge only has offered a reassurance that of course Barack Obama never would use a drone to kill a “non-combatant” American citizen on American soil.

That’s not nearly good enough, Nancy.

Maybe Obama would not, but what if another election-stealing would-be war criminal like George W. Bush got into the White House? That could happen in less than four full years.

It would be wonderful if our “representatives” in Washington would actually lead, which means having an eye on the future — fuck, even the near future.

As Rand Paul stated himself during his filibuster, it’s not about Barack Obama (whose handlers constantly are asking us if we have his back when it sure would be nice if he had ours). It’s about the principle of the use of drones to slaughter human beings becoming so widespread and so out of control that we Americans or we human beings anywhere on the planet can’t fucking leave our own homes without worrying about whether or not a fucking drone might maim or kill us that day, accidentally or intentionally.

Neither Rand Paul nor any other member of U.S. Congress, to my knowledge, has stated publicly that that is the issue here.

And I’m still very leery of Rand Paul. I have no idea how much his filibuster actually was about the use of killer drones against “non-combatant” Americans on American soil and how much it was showboating because he has presidential aspirations.

It fairly clearly was such showboating when he remarked during a hearing in January to then-Secretary of State Billary Clinton on the subject of the September attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya: “Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I  would have relieved you of your post.”

He came off as a major prick because, well, he apparently is a major prick.

Although he’s only in his third year in the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul already was talking about his being president one day while he was attacking a woman who has been in national politics far longer than he has been. Would he have talked like that to a white male secretary of state? I doubt it. It was a sickening, nauseating display of that stupid-white-male sense of entitlement again.

While I’m glad that someone finally spoke out against the use of killer drones in some meaningful way in D.C., the patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic and apparently racist/white-supremacist Rand Paul would make as awful a president as his daddy would have, and, because he limited his argument against killer drones to the protection of only “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil — and, of course, whether or not someone targeted for slaughter by drone is a “combatant” or a “non-combatant” in many cases could be up for interpretation, and thus is wide open to abuse — we still have no real leadership in Washington, D.C., on the subject of drones used to slaughter human beings.

*DINO Barack Obama’s having continued the use of drones to slaughter human beings is one of the many reasons that I could not cast a second vote for him in November 2012. Obama is an immoral man, perhaps not immoral as most of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are, but still immoral. The lesser of two evils is still an evil.

**In his October 2002 speech in which he stated his opposition to the U.S. Congress giving then-“President” Bush the power to declare war on Iraq, Ron Paul also stated, “There is no convincing evidence that Iraq is capable of threatening the security of this country, and, therefore, very little reason, if any, to pursue a war.”

That is common knowledge now, and during the build-up to the Vietraq War it was clear to me, also, as just a consumer of the news, that Iraq posed no threat to the U.S. and that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime were lying through their teeth (“aluminum tubes,” “yellowcake from Niger,” “mushroom clouds,” “anthrax,” etc.) and were dead-set upon invading Iraq no matter what.

In his speech Ron Paul also interestingly stated that the impending Vietraq War did not pass the “Christian” litmus test for a “just war.” He said:

First, it [the “Christian” litmus test for a just war] says that there has to be an act of aggression; and there has not been an act of aggression against the United States. We are 6,000 miles from [Iraq’s] shores.

Also, it says that all efforts at negotiations must be exhausted. I do not believe that is the case. It seems to me like the opposition, the enemy, right now is begging for more negotiations.

Also, the Christian doctrine says that the proper authority must be responsible for initiating the war. I do not believe that proper authority can be transferred to the president nor to the United Nations.

In his speech Ron Paul also, besides engaging in the usual libertarian United Nations-bashing (the U.S. should call the global shots, not the UN, you see), attacked the Bush regime’s neo-conservative concept of “pre-emptive war,” stating, “No matter what the arguments may be, this policy is new; and it will have ramifications for our future, and it will have ramifications for the future of the world because other countries will adopt this same philosophy.”

It’s too bad no one is that far-sighted when it comes to the use of human-slaughtering drones!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized