Open thread

Speaking of skippy the bush kangaroo

Woohoo, now we’re two degrees of separation from a mention on the great John Amato’s Crooks & Liars blog. It’s fun being so small and unknown, but there are about 150 different people a day reading here so I guess that’s enough of an encouragement to keep going.

Also, I’m adding Majikthise to the blog roll here.

Whaddaya thinking about?

Update: I neglected to mention that Shakespeare’s Sister mentioned us here too, and that they are also going on our blog roll.


Do I talk about torture too much?

No, I don’t think so. But I’ll get to some other things again shortly. Right now your Republican Congress has made it pretty clear they have no real problem with it, as long as it’s done secretly and the victims aren’t given a chance to go to court and expose what sort of violations they’ve been forced to endure.

Oh well, as Billmon says, at least we have moral clarity now. And this.

Update: Publius gives the side-by-side view and analysis of the supposed “compromise” language that purports to give the Bush administration authority to torture and deny any legal rights to whomever the president designates.

Hat-tip to Thehim.

Torturers at home

Do you understand that an administration that can make people “disappear” and then torture them, is a far greater terrorist, and does far more harm to you, your family, your community and your country, than all the al Qaeda members in the world?

Chiaroscuro has more.

And yet another tip of the hat to skippy, who I’m tempted to tell you to just forget following my links to him each time and just read his site every day. Actually, I think I just suggested that.

Strange things happen on 4/20

Just this past April twentieth, el Presidente Bush celebrated in fine style, appointing his former girlfriend (who once sold Viagra) to be Ambassador to Hungary.

How’s that working out?

Hat-tip to skippy.

Update: More on Hungarian Indymedia.

Popular culture

This is a guest post by Paul Peterson, who has given me permission to republish his letters here. He is responding to an article by Dana Larsen which I brought to his attention, on the cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man.

There is no way Popeye was not a metaphorical advocate of marijuana usage. I mean, really, all the green stuff goes through the pipe-he gets supermanish, he finds always the “proper intent” he only uses his powers for good, and only after he has given a number of chances for the bad guy (a beer guzzler no less) and he is always chilled out otherwise. No road-rager there, nope, un-uh, nada.

He always cleans up his messes, and you never see him smoking real nicotine products, do you? In 2001, in fact, I tried home grown green, undried, as a “tea” infusion. I was immediately stricken with the realization that “blanched” green tastes remarkably like steamed spinach-then it struck me just what Popeye was into.

You see, in pre-hippy societies in North America, the repression was almost as bad as it is today in some conservative bent circles. Writers and animators and film makers had to hide their messages embedded in the media.

Two good examples? Sergei Eisenstein (sorry if I butchered the spelling) was a Stalin era film-maker in the Soviet Union. He got the project to do a film about the Russian Revolution-the name: “Battleship Potempkin”. He was also quite gay, which was forbodden in that era and place. So he would insert these scenes in the film of soldiers polishing long, phallic symbols-like shiny missiles, long guns, artillery stuff-you get the message.

Another example comes to us from that “Bible” book. There, certain authors would do a narrative-but with say 4 or five levels of meaning. The auspicious “historical” narrative, the logical, rational analysis of reality, then a “pesher” level, with social commentary & beneath that, a true statement (you have to dig for it) as to what cannabis had to do with the happenings. Remember, of course, that the Catholic Church, by the time they got possession of the visual “metaphors”, strung Jesus up on a cross for every church. Then they dashed all around the coast-line, pillaging and murdering every “priest” and accolate in every competing religious practice-especially the ones that used “mysteries”.

So the only evidence of the “mysteries” in the Bible, at least, is that evidence that was occluded and sent just outside the radar zone of the Council of Nicea (325 AD) and other councils of conservatism.

And by the way, right after I had my first experience with “Spinach” someone told me they had read a book about that Popeye writer-and yes, he was a strong advocate of this stuff.

That, boys and girls, is just the point. Each and every one of us watched those visual metaphors for hours each week. Which is maybe why we have the strong visual affinity to pipes and such, being so well indoctrinated to the supporting visual metaphorology. And that is the story for today.

Doublespeak: Straight is crooked

I want to thank Lindsay Beyerstein for writing about the very sick case of Mel Sembler, a former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, fundraiser for former Democratic Party member and defeated-in-the-primary-but-running-anyhow senator Joe Lieberman, close personal friend of Dick Cheney, and the founder of the brainwashing-and-child-abusing Straight, Inc, which purported to be a residential drug treatment program.

I just wanted to mention, as well, that the evolution of Straight, Inc., after several renamings, is now known as the Drug Free America Foundation. This is the organization that has led the propaganda effort for cannabis prohibition, which is very profitable for them, especially with the current approach of courts referring people charged with possession of marijuana into “treatment” programs just like theirs.

Let me make this really clear for those who do not understand the difference between cannabis and drugs like cocaine and heroin. When you are a user of addictive drugs, especially over a prolonged period, withdrawal does have unpleasant consequences which can even be dangerous, and having a place to detox can be very helpful. There is no such thing as cannabis detox, nor does anyone require “treatment” for what is, in essence, a personal choice. Cannabis is not physically addictive. It would make as much sense to forcibly “treat” someone for ice cream addiction.

Betty Sembler (wife of Mel Sembler) runs the DFAF with Calvina Fay, neither of them holds a medical degree or any certification in drug prevention.

More on Majikthise.

Update: See also Gen. JC Christian.

Lies of the inner party

There is a general tendency when people are keeping secrets for one another, for there to become an inner group of people who share a common belief. This is essential in fact for any coordination of large scale activities which depend upon knowledge of things that are not to be made public to those who are believed to be adverse.

When the inner party is driven by an agenda to help themselves at the cost of others, it becomes a conspiracy. The people who are not privy to those secrets, but who share the same belief, may be brought into the conspiracy if they discover it. Those who do not share the same beliefs, however, must be misled, to prevent them from discovering the secrets.

There is another kind of organization, indistinguishable in some ways from the party, but totally opposed. This kind of group is made up of people who will not mislead you, because they are not out to harm anyone.

The purpose of dialogue like this is not to persuade you by logic, but a higher level of reasoning. I understand that many people do not believe there is a higher reason, but it is this. Seek what is real, what is perceptable, and do not rely upon mere words.