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Controversy Over the Release of the Bush Era Torture Memos

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On April 16, the Obama administration released four secret memos detailing detainee treatment during the Bush administration. Simultaneously, the president pledged not to prosecute the US intelligence officials who were involved in those activities.

This is clearly a compromise that truly pleases no one, but it demonstrates President Obama's deft skill in the art of political negotiation. Republicans didn't want the memos released at all, but are relieved that the President agreed to take prosecution off the table by stating, "At a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."

On the other side of the political spectrum, the ACLU is dissatisfied by the compromise, stating, ""Enforcing the nation's laws should not be a political decision."

I cheer the release of the memos. For me, this half of the announcement is the easy one. There was never any valid excuse to make the memos secret, as there was never any justification for the acts the memos describe. The other half of the announcement, the decision not to prosecute for the acts of torture, is the difficult part.

So who's right and who's wrong regarding the decision not to prosecute? Oops, wrong question. By my own sense of moral behavior, the ACLU is right on target. Immoral acts and crimes against the laws of the United States were committed. But that's not a workable and practical answer. If President Obama had held to that position, he would have created a pitched partisan battle which would have destroyed his ability to get Republican acceptance of any of his appointees or his agenda.

So was the compromise worthwhile? In my opinion, yes. While my sense of justice demands punishment for the guilty, my desire for at least a modicum of bipartisan agreement on the future of our country trumps the value of prosecutions. So, very reluctantly, I endorse President Obama's decision to compromise and forgo prosecution of those who carried out the torture.

Unfortunately, the President's decision is going to weaken his support among his most ardent and idealistic supporters. They expect and demand that he hold fire to the feet of all those of the previous administration who broke the law. Will that hue and cry quiet soon? Probably not. How soon unappreciative Liberals forget the vast improvements we have already seen under President Obama, including the January 22 Executive order that reversed the Bush era torture policy a mere two days after President Obama's inauguration!

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About Jonathan Lockwood Huie

  • Doug Hunter

    I think Obama is right on this one. If you are going to pursue legal action it should be against Bush, not the people at the bottom. If you get a memo from Justice and have the president’s approval to do things like put a caterpillar in a prisoner’s cell, then you believed what you were doing is legal and should not face punishment.

    Also, a little history for you. Waterboarding, and alot of the techniques mention in the memos have been used in training american pilots and other critical personnel for decades in SERE training. The purpose is to prepare them for some of what they might face if they are ever interrogated.

    If these methods are torture then we’ve been torturing our own military men and women for years. This system might have desensitized them to the ‘torture’ aspects of these techniques (ie. if they had to go through it why don’t avowed terrorists?)

  • Right. The orders usually originate at the top. To punish the underlings is just a cop-out.

  • Mark

    Wrong — we are responsible for our actions as individuals. When ordered to torture, just say no.

  • To punish the perpetrators and to let Bush and the higher echelon off the hook would be a miscarriage of justice – nothing but a pretense that something is being done and, ultimately, but a PR job.

    I wasn’t commenting on the culpability of everyone involved, only on the reality of the situation.

  • Cindy

    That criminals like Bush and Cheney have never really been been on the hook shows a lot about what justice means in the US.

  • Mark

    While it is important to indict those who issued the orders, it is equally important to point out that final responsibility rests with those who carried them out.

  • Doug Hunter

    “When ordered to torture, just say no.”

    Again, that’s a grand platitude, the question is what constitues ‘torture’. If tomorrow they decided that putting someone in jail constituted ‘torture’, you could then turn around and prosecute everyone in the prison/jail system. It’s arbitrary and that’s the point. You can’t punish people for actions taken in good faith when there is no clearly defined law for them to reference in the first place.

    These aren’t tortures in the old sense of physical harm, this is a new age and a new realm of mental torture.

    If you think using a caterpillar to interrogate a suspect constitutes torture then by all means drag Bush through the streets and crucify him on the closet pole, but leave those who weren’t aware of the horrific dangers of caterpillars to their own ignorance.

  • Right, the Nuremberg Trial argument. But the atrocities are not comparable. In addition, it wasn’t the foot soldier than was on trial there but the higher ups.

    By the same token, you could “indict” the whole German nation for standing by – at least on moral grounds. But you must distinguish that from legal/criminal proceedings.

    Human justice is not absolute or God-like. To pretend it ever could be like that is to ignore the ugly reality and the world of Realpolitik.

  • Mark

    Doug, I could get behind a prison system that no one would work in — acknowledged as the torture that it is for the vast majority of its guests.

    Rog, in the world of real politics, no one will be held responsible for the torture. In the end, all we will be able to do is to say, ‘don’t do that.’

  • Well, we’re past that era. There are new definitions now in effect, and new laws.

    Will we see more abuses? Of course. But I’d like to think there’ll be a legal ground.

    I just don’t think you can’t always rectify the past.

  • Cindy



    I agree with that and #3.

  • Don’t think, Mark, I am any less idealistic than you are – although we both know that our idealism springs from different sources. Our disagreement has more to do with what you and I think is realistic or feasible, not with the principle of the thing.

  • Cindy

    At a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.

    Laying blame? It’s a bit more than about laying blame It’s about justice for criminal acts against people–for war crimes.

    Somehow this is missed in what amounts to the repackaging of the real point made in such a statement. I am getting pretty sick of hearing this.

    Do you realize that there is no need at all now for any investigation? Some of the CIA members–I’ve read, up to 50%–supported release of the memos. I also read an interview with an ex-Gitmo guard who did not take part in torture and had some very telling things to say about those who did. Perspectives could be changed with testimony from these people.

    Aside from the miscarriage of justice involved, that this issue will not be opened is a travesty. We won’t hear testimony from people who actually did disapprove. The next potential recruits into a similar government scheme won’t have the opportunity to have learned anything from this.

    Burying things and moving right along isn’t a good way to change anything. Obama is guilty of helping to coverup war crimes and pardon criminals.

    Also, from what I read there was pressure from the CIA not to release the memos–so I am wondering was it the Republicans or the CIA or both? I don’t recall a story that mentioned both. Is your info from Scott Horton or somewhere else Jonathan?

  • Cindy

    The reality is (the real reality) that the only way a government can commit crimes, is with participation. If everyone refused to participate, the crimes could not have been committed.

    The Geneva Conventions provide for asylum for conscientious objectors to government crimes. Canada takes this seriously enough to have given asylum to a couple hundred US Iraq war objectors.

    Canadian court rules U.S. soldier forced to violate Geneva Convention

    Obedience to authority is not an excuse for ‘just doing a job’ that includes torture.

  • Mark


  • There’s no disagreement here about the principles, Mark, only as regards the effectiveness of their application. The world is improving, hopefully. But your Marxist ideology is getting the better of you. You want instant results, here and now. It ain’t gonna happen.

  • Cindy

    As I grew up, I noticed people moved, even to tears, when faced with dramatic stories, film, writings, music and events that imspired the ‘idea’ of principles. But often enough they did not try to apply the principles they cried over. Some of them even scorned others, who did try. It was as if there was some disconnect between believing in something enough to be touched by it and and believing in something enough to act like you believed in it.

  • pablo

    Nice post Cindy.

  • Pablo,

    I command your sentiments, but even outrage and feelings of indignations have got to be directed at something, someone. Any expression of such in a vacuum as it were, is pointless and a waste of time. One should save it for times and occasions when it really counts. Otherwise, you’re only cheapen one of the few potent weapons available.

    So my question to you, Pablo, is this: Was I the object of this “religious conversion”? And if not so, then who? John Q Public?

    All discussions and debates are contextual. Even the treatises we write, because they’re geared to a particular audience. So let me see. There’s Mark here, already a believer. I’m in the same category, I should say. And good ole Doug Hunter. None other until you checked in, God bless.

    So unless these high-minded comments are directed at Doug, then I fail to see whom they are meant to convince. Of course, they may be meant for the benefit of posterity – all generations past, present, and future. Or simply to make oneself feel better. (The latter, by the way, I consider as bastardization of public communication and by and large juvenile in nature. It belongs more properly in a private diary than a public forum.)

    So my point, friend? And please don’t judge me.


  • I get it now, Pablo.

    So here is my suggestion. When you do get to answer this, let’s plan a march on Washington, you and I together, so we might reverse Obama’s decision.

    That will show ’em.

  • I think that:

    (a) Holder’s contention that it would be unfair to prosecute interrogators because they were following orders is bollocks. He knows full well what the precedent is.

    (b) The Justice Department’s pledge to provide legal counsel at no cost to any potential defendants is rather cunning. It absolves Washington of responsibility while leaving the door open for the possibility of private prosecutions.

    (c) Still, be it right or wrong that they should be prosecuted, notice that we are focusing on the little guys here? There won’t be any action against those higher up who authorized and ordered torture.

  • Exactly. (C) is the bone of contention.
    I’d regard it as a miscarriage of justice and the height of hypocrisy to stick it to the little guys – not that they’re blameless by any means, only that to do so would only create the impression that something is being done.

    IMO, it would be worse than a witch hunt, because unlike with witch hunt, the main culprits are well known.

  • pablo

    Is it just me, or did anyone else on here notice the conspicuous absence of Nalle weighing in on this article with his one cent’s worth. Where is the great libertarian when he is needed? hehehe

    What about it Nalle? Prosecute? Or perhaps let the goons slide for obeying their fuhrer. What say you?

    Roger, I do not really understand what your quetion is, since I only put in a one liner thank you on this thread to Cindy.

    As far as I am concerned Osama (Obama) showed his true colors once again (no that was not meant to be racist), and that he is nothing more than another paid employee of the Wall Street Gang whos henchmen are the CIA. Torturing other human beings is one of the most disgusting, vile, and inhuman acts in this world, and the fact that Obama is letting the torturers go speaks volumes about his true character, or lack thereof.

  • Pablo,

    My question is perhaps best expressed in my #22 (in response to #21). Which isn’t to question to validity concerning Cindy’s remark, with respect to which you expressed approval. But my point was that that remark, in this particular case, was beside the point – again for the reasons stated in my #22.

    I think it’s rather naive not to see the larger picture and be moved only by our sense of what’s just and right – not unless of course we have the means and the wherewithal to rectify all the abuses and injustices. And in the absence of that, it’s just dust in the wind.

  • zingzing

    roger: “By the same token, you could “indict” the whole German nation for standing by – at least on moral grounds.”

    they were pretty well punished, wouldn’t you say?

  • You mean by losing the war?

  • zingzing

    no… i mean the 40+ years of turning germany into a social experiment…

  • With what result, zing? I haven’t really been following what’s happening in Europe.

    Do you mean the “self-imposed sense of guilt” had turned the German nation into a kind of zombies? That’s one meaning I can attribute to what you’re saying, but I really and honestly don’t know. And forgive my ignorance of the subject.

  • zingzing


    nothing was “self-imposed,” roger. i’m referring to the partitioning of germany into east and west, the berlin wall, decades of occupation, all that.

  • I see. We’ve done it “the nice way.”

    I was referring, however, to German sense of guilt for the past. What was that the result of? It’s quite different from what happened in Japan, where the young(er) generations are not burdened so. STM, in fact, brought this up on another thread, expressing a kind of puzzlement that the Japanese have never come to terms with their aggression during World War II.

    So my question is – if the Japanese are oblivious of history (for whatever reasons), the Germans have been made to be overly conscious of it, to the detriment (I might say) of their national psyche.

  • zingzing

    guilt is for catholics.

    and the germans are doing fine now. if anyone has a guilt complex, it’s the japanese, although i’m not quite sure what they’re feeling guilty about (it’s not the war). still, they work it out in the bedroom. such perverts. mmm. japanese girls.

  • bliffle

    Doug says,

    “If these methods are torture then we’ve been torturing our own military men and women for years.”

    Well, yes we have. I suppose the putative idea was that they would be tougher, thereby, but I suspect it was just another opportunity for incipient torturers to get their jollies.

    Everything I’ve read says that torture doesn’t work, so I suspect that the enthusiasm for doing torture is supplied by people who just want to torture others, regardless of lack of results.

  • Well,

    Doug is going a little bit overboard here, and I’m sure he knows it.

  • UN torture investigator: Obama has broken International law

    UN official suggests US courts can still try accused torturers

    The United Nation’s top torture investigator has suggested it is illegal under International law for President Barack Obama to announce that the United States government has no intention of prosecuting low-level CIA officers who carried out torture sanctioned by the Bush Administration.

    Here’s the same story on BBC News, if one doesn’t like Raw Story (or if George Sorros owns it 🙂

  • Irene Wagner

    Whenever the subject of torture comes up, the response always seems to be “well, waterboarding isn’t so bad, that’s why we use it in military training to toughen ’em up for the horror of being…uh..waterboarded.”

    Why does a discussion about the US and torture so often end at a stalemate regarding waterboarding? What about all the other kinds of torture, the Iraqi on a leash, the cigarette stuck to the corner of the female tormentor’s lip. Bliffle may have a point.

  • pablo


  • Ma ® k

    Torture works. Always has. It produces (significant though limited) compliance and sends a message. The claim that its only purpose is information gathering is bogus.

  • zingzing

    yay! hey, mark, since you like torture so much, how about you have a dose?

    seriously, that’s a sick, sick thing to say. torturers get off on that shit too, you know.

  • Ma ® k

    PC much?

  • zingzing

    maybe, but at least i’m not stroking my dick while i’m doing it, big man.

  • Ma ® k

    Perhaps you should try it as it might improve your comprehension skills.

  • zingzing

    go torture an animal or something.

  • Ma ® k

    Go create your sanitized history in peace.

  • Are you saying, Mark, that one of the sideline objectives is ALSO desensitizing the underlings so as to mold them like clay in the potter’s hands?

  • Ma ® k

    Yup, that about sums it up.

  • See, Mark. I am capable of sympathetic reading as well. I thought all along that’s the deeper meaning.

  • zingzing

    who’s talking about sanitizing history? i’m sure there are people out there who enjoy torturing. i’m sure there are people out there that think torture is necessary. i’m sure that those who actually order, take part in or condone torture suffer horrible nightmares, because life isn’t a fucking james bond film.

    what next, mark? you going to tell me that you’re listening to metallica, playing with your xbox, talking with one of your old frat brothers and drinking a ice-cold brew of some sort?

    try and deny it, but i think we all know that you’re a walking cliche.

    (i’ve got you either way on this one. wiggle wiggle.)

  • “i’m sure that those who actually order, take part in or condone torture suffer horrible nightmares, because life isn’t a fucking james bond film.”

    I’m not so sure, zing. Humans are very malleable. You do it once, you might suffer conscience pangs. The second and third time, it becomes easier. After a while, you don’t think about it anymore.

    The trick is not to do it the first time.

  • zingzing

    “Humans are very malleable. You do it once, you might suffer conscience pangs. The second and third time, it becomes easier. After a while, you don’t think about it anymore.”

    that’s when you know you’re a frat boy. i mean zombie.

  • Isn’t that a pretty fair description of “the average”?

  • Clavos


    i’m sure that those who actually order, take part in or condone torture suffer horrible nightmares…

    Probably not. More likely, they go home at the end of the day, play with their kids and the dog, have dinner, make love to the wife, and drop off into a deep, dreamless sleep.

    It’s easy.

  • Ma ® k

    Zing, about all that I can make out of all that is that at least you realize that I am a walking cliche…

    better graffiti for a better world

  • Ma ® k

    The reason not to torture isn’t that it doesn’t work — it is because it is wrong.

  • zingzing

    mark: “The reason not to torture isn’t that it doesn’t work — it is because it is wrong.”

    and thusly, i take it all back.

    clavos: “More likely, they go home at the end of the day, play with their kids and the dog, have dinner, make love to the wife, and drop off into a deep, dreamless sleep. It’s easy.”

    and move it to miami.

  • Touche! Pragmatic arguments are of no consequence when morality is at stake.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Gee…WHERE ARE ALL THE BC CONSERVATIVES???? Dave? Arch-Con? et al?

    I’ve made it a practice to not be afraid to answer ANY question…but methinks that answering up to the unanswerable is beyond the pale for some….

  • I’d keep Dave out of that. I’d say he’s a cut above.

  • zingzing

    he’s still a lowdown, dirty, stinking conservative.

  • Clavos

    …a lowdown, dirty, stinking conservative.

    Tautological, zing…

  • For those of you who are still discussing the nature of the guards and the prisoners, I recommend reading about the Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971. The one liner is: College students were arbitrarily assigned roles as guard or prisoner. The experiment had to be shut down half way through because both groups so identified with their roles that the situation had become dangerous. Google it, it’s worth reading the whole story.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Tautological, zing…”

    of course it is.

  • Clavos

    I read the report on the Stanford experiment long ago.

    It’s the reason for my #51; most who participate in administering torture (yes, even americans — even religious americans) enjoy it.

  • That was one of the studies I consider the three most important I’ve seen, Jonathan.

    Zimbardo and Stanford have a site about the study and relates it to Abu Ghraib. He’s also testified on behalf of some of the guards.

    Stanford Prison Experiment.

    It’s why it’s very upsetting to keep hearing that Obama message about “no sense laying blame now”.

    With no investigation and therefore no examination by the culture. These deeds fade out and get swept under the rug with no learning.

    I think Obama would rather sweep the entire past under the rug. Why else would he pardon these people but to keep from having an investigation that would lay out a very ugly mess on his “we can do it” watch? I suspect it worked for Obama to pardon these people quickly before an investigation.

    Sweeping behavior like that under the rug has never been a good idea on an individual, family, community, society, or any other level.

    He is supposed to be smart. How can he think that a nation’s people could commit atrocities and not have to face them and deal with their consequences.

    This is how the myth that America is so Exceptional has been allowed to continue. By constant sweeping of its crimes under the rug so they can’t be seen by the population at large. People who look for them will find them. But many people are in such a state of adherence to their own firmly held beliefs they won’t go and look.

    Something like this coming into the open might open the whole culture to a re-evaluation of itself.

    But no one wants to fall all the way off the high horse. Certainly Obama doesn’t.

  • I suggested on another thread that authorizing The Hague to proceed might be one way of “saving face” without hampering the workings of justice.

    To do nothing in the face of these documents is indeed unconscionable. It would destroy whatever credibility and good will they’ve tried so hard to establish.

  • pablo


    US military persons are not subject to the World Court.

  • Jet

    Has ANYONE actually read my article, which makes this article a moot point, considering that Bush can’t be prosecuted thanks to the GOP-led/controled congress giving him immunity years back when he started the damned war???

  • Yup, Jet. I remember your article very well. That is why I have bothered to comment here. The whole article is moot, as Obama, unless he assumes dictatorial powers, cannot undo the pardons the Republican dominated congress gave Bush and Co.

    That was a fine piece of news coverage you did, Jet.

  • Jet, that should have read, “that’s why I haven’t bothered to comment here”.

    The article’s author, Mr. Huie, who never tires of pushing the agenda of the “Blessed of Hussein” is, at least this time round, not goring my ox. So, for once I can ignore his less than stellar reportage.

    Jonathan, I don’t want to talk behind your back: that is called lashón ha’rá in Hebrew and is a major sin – worse even than slander. Maybe you want to dig a little further into the machinations of your new attorney-general. If he can find a way round reversing the self-generated pardon of George W. Bush and colleagues, he probably has found a legal way to invalidate your constitution and the liberties it guarantees you. If so, reality is about to deliver you one swift and nasty kick in the derriere. It should be quite an inspiring experience, and if you still have the freedom to write about it, a fine book for your devotees to read.

    Just please, do us a favor? I beg you, do not publish it chapter by chapter here.

  • Pablo, #55,

    Maybe not yet, Pablo, but I don’t see this option as too far-fetched. They’ve had precedences, like with Milosevic.

    Anyway, there is a push in that direction anyway, to slowly but surely adopt “international law.” Yes, I know, I know – the beginnings of the NWO we all so dread. But in this particular case, it might be to the good.

    Your thoughts?

  • And BTW, you know the process. It’s all gonna happen incrementally. Well, you may well be seeing one of the first steps, and soon.

  • Pablo – should be #65

  • Jet,

    I just read it. Did that bill pass, and when?

  • There must be a way of getting around that. I don’t think the Constitution is necessarily at issue.

  • Why, Ruvy?

    Don’t you care for inspirational literature?

  • Jet

    Duncan Hunter and 19 Co-Sponsors

    Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8]
    Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44]
    Chris Chocola
    Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]
    Rep. Kay Granger [R, TX-12]
    Robin Hayes
    Joel Hefley
    Rep. John Kline [R, MN-2]
    Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R, NJ-2]
    Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10]
    Rep. Jeff Miller [R, FL-1]
    Jon Porter
    Rick Renzi
    H. Saxton
    Rep. Jean Schmidt [R, OH-2]
    Rep. F. Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]
    Rep. William Shuster [R, PA-9]
    John Sweeney
    Rep. Addison Wilson [R, SC-2]

    House Judiciary
    House Armed Services
    House International Relations

    This bill has no amendments. Amendments to H.R.6054

    Added to calendar on Sep 25, 2006: Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 409.

    Sep 25, 2006: Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Judiciary. H. Rept. 109-664, Part II.

    Sep 22, 2006: Committee on International Relations discharged.

    Sep 20, 2006: Ordered to be Reported by the Yeas and Nays: 20 – 19.

    Sep 18, 2006: House Committee on International Relations Granted an extension for further consideration ending not later than Sept. 22, 2006.

    Sep 15, 2006: House Committee on International Relations Granted an extension for further consideration ending not later than Sept. 18, 2006.

    Sep 15, 2006: House Committee on Judiciary Granted an extension for further consideration ending not later than Sept. 18, 2006.

    Sep 15, 2006: Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Armed Services. H. Rept. 109-664, Part I.

    Sep 13, 2006: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 52 – 8.

    Introduced on Sep 12, 2006.

    Sep 12, 2006: Referred to House International Relations

    Note: For further action, see S.3930, which became Public Law 109-366 on 10/17/2006.

  • Jet

    Note that 10/17/2006, just after the mid-term elections, urgently before the new Democratically controlled congress took over.

  • Fucking Duncan Hunter. So it’s the law and you say it can’t be countermanded?

  • It should be fucking illegal to pass anything while the new Congress is in waiting; or at least to be able to reverse these acts, just like presidential executive orders are reversible.

  • Jet

    For me, this raises the questions:

    1. Why did President Bush so urgently need pardon/blanket immunity for crimes dating back to September 11th 2001 that no one has proven that he’s committed yet?

    2. Why wasn’t the presidential pardon section mentioned out in the open and above board?

    While it’s understandable that protections would be put in place to provide immunity to CIA interrogators that are only following orders from the President, it is not reasonable to pardon the issuer of those dubious orders as well. So determined and so urgent was President Bush’s need, apparently, that Republican Congress members were vigorously attacking anyone who opposed the legislature as un-American and soft on terrorism.

    —–This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven’t passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session. —–

    Military Commissions Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)



    This Act shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and shall apply retroactively, including–

    (1) to any aspect of the detention, treatment, or trial of any person detained at any time since September 11, 2001; and

    (2) to any claim or cause of action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

  • t should be fucking illegal to pass anything….

    Welcome to the wonderful world of law-making, Roger. This tune, poplar with the younger set in the United States, gives an idea of why lawmaking and sausage-making are similar, and why you do not really want to see either.

  • Don’t you think I know, Ruvy, they’re all a bunch of whores?

    Jet – I can’t read all this mumbo-jumbo. It’s for Dan Miller’s kind of mind and all nonesuch. Cut to the chase and say it in a word or two. Can anything be done, or is it a fait accompli?

  • Don’t you think I know, Ruvy, they’re all a bunch of whores?

    Maybe, Roger, watching a whore “satisfy” her “trick” should be added to things not to be watched – like lawmaking and sausage-making….

  • Well, no wonder they’re all whores. How can you not be when the legislative process is as cumbersome as displayed in Jet’s purported response to my simple questions (see his comments above). It will drive even the sanest and most conscientious person either to whoring or drinking or whatever.

  • Consider this report, e.g., as to how even mainstream reports are skewed. The quote is from the first paragraph:

    “CIA interrogators used the waterboarding technique on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, The ADMITTED PLANNER of the September 11 attacks, 183 times and 83 times on another al Qaeda suspect, The New York Times said on Sunday.”

    What we don’t know of course, because they don’t tell us, is whether the so-called “admitted planner” had become so as a result of waterboarding techniques. And if so, then in what sense can we legitimately regard them as “admitted planner” if the admission was obtained as a result of torture.
    And if it wasn’t obtained in some such fashion, then why would the suspect admit such a thing?

    For a bar of Hershey’s perhaps?

  • Maybe, Roger, watching a whore “satisfy” her “trick” should be added to things not to be watched – like lawmaking and sausage-making….

    That depends how upright the person is. But that’s less objectionable than the other activities. There’s nothing wrong with sex for sale if there’s a market.

  • Roger,

    What appears to be happening is that regular procedures are breaking down in America and a “steering committee” mentality (not dissimilar to a nomenkatura or central committee mentality) is taking over – just like here in Israel, and in the Soviet Union.

    Nothing here is legal. It’s all “sorta” legal – k’ílu as they say in Hebrew. I don’t know if they used that word back in the 1960’s here.

  • That shoulda been nomenklatúra. Seems I can’t spell worth shit today….

  • There’s nothing wrong with self-degradation as long as someone wants to pay you to do it. Right?

    Just yesterday I was thinking of telling my niece, if you can’t get a job at the pizza place, there’s always the sex slave market. It’s booming. It’s capitalism; get with the program; exploit that demand.

  • You’re right, and these are sure signs of a crisis in the making – beyond economics. Anytime when institutions experience signs of strain and are beginning to break down, you know you’re in a heap of trouble. And especially legal institutions which are supposed to constitute the fabric of society.

    It simply means that the old institutions can no longer support and/or accommodate the new practices.

  • If you wouldn’t want your own child or mother or sister to be a prostitute, what does it say if you don’t mind that the child or mother or sister of someone else is.

  • #88

    You can’t stop people from being self-destructive. You can try to educate them, etc., but not force them against their will. (unless their self-destruction is hurting others) Not even God has such powers, because he gave us free will.

  • There’s nothing wrong with self-degradation as long as someone wants to pay you to do it. Right?

    There were other points i wanted to make about whores “satisfying” their “tricks”, Cindy – but some things are left to the imagination. Like why I put quotes around the words “satisfy” and “trick” in the previous sentence. You’re a smart gal; you can figure it out….

  • Ruvy, Yup. I understood that.

  • If the question is as to whether it’s a constructive kind of life for any person to be selling themselves – not just their body but any aspect of their personhood – then the answer is no. But that was not implied in my previous remark(s), unless people want to make that implication. So be it.

  • You can’t stop people from being self-destructive. You can try to educate them, etc., but not force them against their will. (unless their self-destruction is hurting others) Not even God has such powers, because he gave us free will.

    I agree. You can’t force people.

    Looks here though like you support the cause of that self-destructive choice.

    There’s nothing wrong with sex for sale if there’s a market.

    Is stopping people from being self-destructive quite the same as supporting a market in self-destruction?

  • It’s a matter of decision between consenting adults – and that makes it a market. I have neither the power nor the right to stop that. As to whether the government should or should not have the right to stop that – I haven’t given it much thought. There are touchy moral/politica issues, not that different, I suppose, from legalization of certain drugs. The very fact that there is a controversy surrounding these issues shows that they’re touchy and far from having been resolved on the conceptual level.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Just yesterday I was thinking of telling my niece, if you can’t get a job at the pizza place, there’s always the sex slave market.”

    Good on you, you wouldn’t want to be a stuffy old conservative trying to force your morals on others. How dare anyone interfere with her RIGHT to do with her body as she pleases… nazis!

  • But the main thing is – “there’s nothing wrong with sex for sale if there’s a market” remark was addressed to Ruvy and in a certain context. Whether I would have said such a thing in another linguistic environment, probably not. Which doesn’t make me a hypocrite. It’s just a matter of fact that most utterances are directed at someone and in specific context – they’re not meant to be taken as “stand alones” as though in a vacuum. Especially one-liners.

  • In a sense, you are right there, Doug. How can the Left on one hand tell women they have a right to abort while at the same time denying them the right to charge money for sex? It is hypocritical. And you can’t make that argument stick on moral grounds either – i.e., that abortion is good and sex for sale bad. That’s the problem with rights. At which point do you make the dividing line?

  • Doug Hunter

    Roger, if there is one thing that could save alot of yapping all about, it’s the realization that morals are not logically defensible. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them, just be prepared to take a rash of shit from those they don’t share them.

    What are morals and values in the face of the realization that we are simply tiny collections of hydrogen, oxyen, and carbon molecules chemically reacting in a predetermined sequence according to the laws of physics, our destiny is defined and free will is simply an illusion, right? (did I really have to post this? Can I fake out my ‘destiny’? akbjf;ibe;ifl, didn’t see that coming did you destiny?)

  • Doug, they’re not logically defensible – because but they are linguistically, part of our language. And yes, a moral argument will work with most honorable people – not with Nazis, of course.

    But Cindy is not a Nazi. It’s just that sometimes people don’t see certain contradictions and/or inconsistencies in their beliefs. So you just need to bring it out, and if there’s good will, you can have a resolution.

    As to who we are? Sure, a bunch of chemicals on a sub-atomic, molecular biology level. But at another level, we’re also persons. And as persons, and with respect to persons, moral arguments apply.

  • Clavos

    Morals are not logically defensible because moral standards are not universal and immutable; they vary from culture to culture, from person to person and even day to day.

  • If one leaves aside Biblical considerations, in the end prostitution is about sexual slavery. And slavery means degradation. For example, in this country, where prostitution is legal, pimps control the business. When pimps run the business, there is a forced dependence on them – forced violently upon the prostitutes by the pimps. In this country, prostitutes are often women from Moldova, Ukraine or Byelorussia, controlled by Russian pimps who sit on their passports, effectively making them illegals here.

    So, for all the “market” bullshit between “two consenting adults” the reality is that the prostitute is a slave to the pimp. She’s nothing but merchandise pushed on the street. And often, she does not “consent” at all.

    My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that the pimps and other organized criminals in Israel need to be lined up against a wall and shot – alongside the judges, cops and politicians they’ve bought out. Such a purifying event could make for quite a massacre….

  • “Not logically defensible” because you can’t use logic to enforce sensibility (or beat it into somebody’s head). Which is not a weakness or defect of any kind, because moral sensibilities come part and parcel with the language and they’re therefore shared more or less and to greater or less respect by the community of speakers – excepting Nazis, psychopaths, freaks, and nonesuch.

  • But Cindy is not a Nazi. It’s just that sometimes people don’t see certain contradictions and/or inconsistencies in their beliefs. So you just need to bring it out, and if there’s good will, you can have a resolution.

    Ah, so I am the left you referred to.

    denying them the right to charge money for sex [you]

    Did I say that?

    I think I said this:

    I agree. You can’t force people. [me]

    How do you reconcile your analysis of me being inconsistent with what I actually said?

    Why would you presume I would want to deny people their liberty or have a government do so?

  • Not at all – “The Left” reference had nothing to do with that. And number 2, “not a Nazi” was in response to Doug’s lumping.

    Again, context, context, context – never stand alones!

  • Nazis and there were mostly ‘normal’ people. What does that say about psychopathology and culture/society?

  • correction: Nazis were mostly ‘normal’ people. What does that say about psychopathology and culture/society?

  • They stopped being “normal” once they became Nazis.

  • Now I am confused. You just said I was inconsistent or contradicting myself. So, if you did not arrive at this conclusion through the path I suggested.

    How did you arrive at it?

  • How did they stop being ‘normal’? The whole culture of nazis and nazi supporters just turned into psychopaths?

    What is ‘normal’ anyway?

  • My remark to Doug about inconsistencies was a general remark – not pointing at any person – as to inconsistency between e.g., the right to abortion and denying the same right with respect to sex-for-sale. Whoever insists on those two beliefs at once is inconsistent, IMO.

  • #111 Precisely. Which only goes to show the thin line separating humankind from the beast; and false ideologies – left or right – when taken to extreme have the ability to turn some people into senseless, thoughtless animals.

  • But Cindy is not a Nazi. It’s just that sometimes people don’t see certain contradictions and/or inconsistencies in their beliefs.

    Okay. Thanks for explaining. Can you see how this is confusing?

  • Again, this is addressing Doug’s lumping (when he said that some people have no morals and seemed to have included Cindy in the bunch).


    And the latter part – about inconsistencies, was, again, a general comment – to Doug – to oppose his claim that one cannot resolve moral issues.

    My answer to Doug: Yes you can, but not with logic but with appeal to common sensibilities which are shared in common by most (except Nazis, etc.)

  • #113

    Okay so, you think it is a matter of just subscribing to a false ideology.

    Could it happen to just anyone? What kind of ‘normal’ people subscribe to a murderous ideology?

  • #115

    So, I guess that means you don’t see how it was confusing.

  • How did they stop being ‘normal’? The whole culture of nazis and nazi supporters just turned into psychopaths?

    Nazis were never normal. They were satanists who took the concepts of the Holy Zohar, turned them upside down and inside out so that the Jews were the evil people to be cleansed from the planet, and proceeded to act like barbarians inflicting their version of hell on Germany – and then the world.

    They started out as “idealists” pursuing a satanic ideal of extermination in the name of racial purity and planetary cleanliness. They were always psychopaths.

    Very few people ever want to investigate the religious side of Nazism, assuming wrongly, that they were mere ideologues. I expect one of you to make just that claim momentarily. Thus, do you bury yourselves in your own ignorance.

  • I can see it to the extent that you read much of what I say as making a reference to you. But I wasn’t doing that in these comments. When I spoke to Ruvy, to spoke to Ruvy and on that level; when to Doug, the gears have changed. And so on and so forth. All conversations are negotiations of meanings between the communicants; and all those meanings are contextually defined. Meanings and references never stand in isolation – as some kinds of absolutes – but are always being defined and redefined in the context of any given exchange. And they don’t carry over from one exchange to the next. Any next exchange constitutes an occasion for restarting the whole process – from scratch.

  • Ruvy,

    …they were mere ideologues. I expect one of you to make just that claim momentarily.

    Don’t expect that from me.

  • #118, right Ruvy – idealism to extreme can lead to psychopathological condition. But the conversation above concerned the whole German nation. Theodore Adorno did a whole study on it, “The Authoritarian Personality,” where he argued for certain predispositions and tendencies of the pre-War Germans to the Nazi movement, but that’s dealing with predispositions.

  • #119 Okay Roger.

    How about we talk about #116. And what do you think ‘normal’ is?

  • One definition – “not a Nazi.” Meaning, sensible enough, not monsters, that you can reach though reason or appeal to moral sensibilities.

    Again, “normal” has not been used in any absolute kind of sense but only in contrast. There are no absolute meanings in ordinary conversation.

  • How you cross the line? Easy. When you adopt values that are not primary “human” values. When you think things like “patriotism” – just to give one example – are more important than honestly, integrity, sympathy, fairness, justice, love. It’s not that people originally are deprived of these human values. It’s rather that other values – like false sense of patriotism – eventually blind them to the point that they consider other things – like defending their country against real or imaginary enemies – more important; and in the process, they become dehumanized – like Nazis.

  • Theodore Adorno did a whole study on it, “The Authoritarian Personality.

    Well not a scientific study then. Just a theory of ‘personality clusters’ and things?

    The problem for me with theory like that (personality clusters and things..and Freud too), is anyone can notice some things (and exclude other things) and then fashion those things one selects in such a way as to justify one’s presumptions. Sometimes that might result in truth. Sometimes it just results in justification for what one already believes.

    Having said that, I haven’t read his work.

  • It was just a profile study of an “average German male” – a petty official, bureaucratic mind, no sense of real self-worth and bossy and abusive at home towards wife and children; just waiting for someone with a charismatic appeal (such as Hitler) to give them meaning and direction in life; that’s why so susceptible to authority, especially when it instilled in them a sense of self-importance. I don’t know what “scientific” means here because it was not a “clinical study”; still, a kind of study that is acceptable in parts of the psychological community.

  • Wouldn’t using ‘normal’ like that be a circular argument?

    Are Nazi’s ‘normal’? No, because, being ‘normal’ means (implies) not being a Nazi.

    Does that accomplish anything?

  • I’m sorry. There’s always a point at which explanations come to an end. And if “the Nazi” vs “normal folks” fails to make register or draw the desired contrast, then I’m opting out.
    I’m not my intent here to arrive at the theory of what is normal – only to reach an understanding of a kind. And once that understanding cannot be reached, that’s when further conversation and explanations are useless (Wittgenstein) and my intent has not been realized. I really don’t know what else to say.

  • Okay I need to think about #124 and #126 for awhile. So, I would respond right away.

  • #128


  • But the conversation above concerned the whole German nation.

    Roger, the racialist movement that led to the creation of Nazism developed in AUSTRIA, after the defeat of the Austrians by the Prussians in 1867. This defeat precipitated the creation of Austria-Hungary, with the Kingdom of Hungary as virtually independent of the Empire of Austria.

    In the crown lands that remained to Austria the Germans in living there were a minority (like southern Poland and Bohemia-Moravia), and this minority felt very insecure in a population of Slavs and Italians who were gaining in power by the year. That is why the Anti-Semite Party started in WIEN and not Berlin.

    It was only after the defeat of the German Empire in WWI that the racial theories of the proto-Nazis gained traction in GERMANY.

  • Clavos


    Sure sounds like stereotyping…

  • OK, Ruvy. But you wouldn’t want to argue, I think, that each and every German (or even Austrian) was a “Nazi” whether prior to the start of the war (or whatever starting point you care to pick), or even after the war. There surely were exceptions. But yes, the pact of Versailles, and plenty plenty other things did make the German nation susceptible to the racialism propaganda in that the country was almost ready-made at a certain point for fascism.

    But even that is not to say that each and every single German was or ended up a Nazi. At least I wouldn’t like to think that.

  • #132: It was “a profile” study and I can’t comment on how comprehensive it was – a study of a type.

  • Here’s the link from the Wiki.

  • Roger,

    Though I’m not fond of theories that detail discreet ‘personality clusters’ with the force of them being seen as actual material objects, I’ll refrain from judging Adorno’s work without looking at it closely.

  • I don’t have any stake in this. It was only a side point with Ruvy who, for a while at least, seemed to have argued against German guilt wholesale. So it was in this context – again, context! – that I brought up Adorno: to divert/diffuse the discussion from application of guilt to predispositions. That’s all.

  • Which is to say – I have less interest in general at arriving at some immutable truths in the course of these or other conversations than in reaching a certain level of understanding, if possible, in order to be able to proceed further. Common understandings is a base one can built upon; without them, the whole enterprise collapses.

  • And common understandings imply agreement. Dealing with truths before reaching a level of agreement is like putting a cart before the horse. It is a painstaking and gradual process. There are no shortcuts.

  • #137

    Great. Looks like someone interesting to read. I’m glad you did.

  • Agreement about what? I don’t think I understand that part.

  • Agreement as to get away from the inessential, the immaterial, the peripheral, the obfuscating – so as to get at what’s the real issue. It’s a matter of pulling teeth, in a matter of speaking, with some people, because of all the static they throw your way rather than get down to cases.

    In short, to get at what’s the real bone of contention rather than beating around the bush.

  • So what is the real bone of contention as you see it, in this case or some other example.

    (I’m asking because I still don’t see what you mean. And an example helps to clarify things.)

  • It’s like getting beyond the games people play, stripping their defenses. getting down to the nitty-gritty – things like that. To reach a true understanding, you’ve got to eliminate all sense of falseness, pretense, rationalization – all of the above – and bare the subject matter naked. Mind-to-mind, fuck all the rest and whatever psychological hangups, insecurities or pet beliefs we all bring into the conversation.

    There’s no other way.

  • Mostly, it’s matter of rationalizations. And rationalizations are logical at face value. In Ruvy’s case, because of his personal experience – and I’m not talking behind his back – he is liable to be quite general in his indictments. Personally, I don’t think it’s fair because individuals have to judged as individuals, not on the basis of ethnic or national association. So in order to even begin to have a conversation with him, I have to mellow him somewhat – which is why I bring up the matter of Adorno study (and predispositions). And once I get him to agree on this (rather minor) point, I am in a better position than (than before) to reach an agreement with him to the effect that not all Germans are Nazis (which is a more radical proposition.)

    Again, it’s all a matter of strategy and securing agreement.

  • All communications are one-on-one, person-to-person, at least they ought to be. And likewise with the intent. It ought to be reaching a common ground – again, one person at a time.

  • Who decides which points need agreeing on? And to what end does all this securing lead?

    Or, put another way. What does Ruvy do to get past your rationalizations and get you to agree to his minor point and so on?

  • Somebody’s got to take the lead. Usually, for lack of takers, it happens to be me.

    The rationalizations were not mine, in the first place, but Ruvy’s. It was he who seemed to have intimated that the whole German nation is guilty.

    Well, I find that statement less than fair. Once I soften him up so to speak – by throwing Adorno’s study as a curveball, I stand a better chance that he might back off his original statement about “all Germans being Nazis.”

    Whether I have succeeded or not, I don’t know, but at least I tried. And that’s what I say communications ought to be about – reaching an agreement (in this case, that not ALL Germans are Nazis.)

    Why did I care to sway him away from this view? Because I think it’s unjust and unreasonable. And unless I sway him, we have far fewer things to discuss on this or any matter whatever – because I’d take him then as a prejudiced and umcompromising bastard with whom all future discussion would be useless.

    Therefore, I have a vested interest in keeping Ruvy as part of the discourse community (insofar as I am concerned) because he is a human being and I don’t want to give him up for lost.

  • Thanks. I think I understand your idea.

  • I’m glad.

    It’s more about intent than anything else. And you can usually judge the intent after a while. The idea is winning people to your side – but you’ve got to believe in something (outside yourself). Otherwise, it’s self-serving at best.

  • You know Roger,

    I think there is a lot in your #124 that makes sense to me and fits with my thinking (so far), on how people embrace Nazism, among other things.

    I’d add to that that I think the internalization of a culture that promotes adherence to authority, objectification of people (dehumanization), and nationalism acts as a precursor.

    (Some of both Zimbardo’s prison studies and Milgram’s ‘obedience to authority’ shock studies, figure in my thinking.)

    That’s what all this says to me about a society that indoctrinates people in such a way. It’s why I’m opposed to it.

  • To point is to unlearn these things and to embrace the kind of values that really matter; it’s nothing new. It’s part of the classics, the wisdom of the ages. In short, the process of growing up, as an individual and not an automaton.

  • I’m not sure the classics, alone manage to undo the effects of being indoctrinated into a both a state, and capitalism.

    And those are the real issues that I think need addressing. Therefore, I believe most people are asleep, without really recognizing it. Hopefully, no authority will ask them to shock anyone to death. About 70% of people will at this point.

    I just learned, Milgram’s shock study was replicated after Abu Ghraib came out. They got around the unethical problem. Milgram found that everyone willing to shock the ‘learner’ to 150 volts was willing to go all the way–450 volts. So, they limited the new study to 150 volts where the emotional impact was lessened and calculated based on that.

    The results for average American is the same today as in the 1940s. Just over 2/3 of people will obey authority and shock someone to death if there is an authority figure that says to do it and acts like it’s okay.

    Here is the way I see things:

    Their are ways that work to grow people who won’t shock anyone to death, torture anyone, or become Nazis. And who will embrace all the good things you wrote in #124. They have to do with either not enculturating or with disassimilating the conventional wisdom. (as Galbraith called it)

    As long as there is an authority, like government, this wrong relationship to people and power continues to be reproduced.

    And as long as you have capitalism, you have objectification of other humans (dehumanization), among many other problems.

    Nothing with a basis in authority–like a state–or a reliance on free market capitalism can correct these things. The culture cannot both embrace an authoritarian state and capitalism and at the same time escape the problems that are inherent in them.

    These are what anarchism can correct. So, if classics do work the way you say…that’s great…it means they would have to make more people into anarchists.

  • Cindy,

    I think you’re just being too theoretical. It’s simply a matter of maturing/growing up. The values I’m talking about are real; one just has got to come to a point in their life when they realize they’re more important than other stuff. Above all, you’ve got to be (self) reflective, always. Remember, people always come first. Politics and other stuff is a secondary concern.

    Of course, easier said than done; and perhaps some people never reach this point.

    Anyways, I’ll be disengaging from this process for a while. Right now, it just about preempts everything, and I don’t want to be deluding myself that it’s good enough for me, because I know it isn’t. So I’ll be checking in sometime later.

    Meanwhile, take care.


  • It’s simply a matter of maturing/growing up.

    Of course, easier said than done; and perhaps some people never reach this point.

    I think I’ll take my nephew’s advice. Too many people have ‘grown up’. Adults have learned not to think straight or see clearly anymore.

    Having spent almost half my life ‘grown up’. It’s a state I’d avoid at all costs.

    Good luck Roger.

  • No they haven’t Cindy. That’s the problem. But I’m sorry you want to put such a twist on this; because you do seem to be reacting rather trying to understand my meaning. I did by the way explain what I meant by “process” on my thread, because I feel you might misunderstand that reference too. Nothing to do with you – just BC, period. It’s too preemptive at this time and it’s not good for me.

  • Ruvy,

    You haven’t posted all day.

  • Jet

    How could he get a word in edgewise?

  • Clavos

    Touché, Jet.

  • Your usual antics, Clavos.
    I’m waiting for the day when you’ll surprise me.

  • Clavos

    Don’t hold your breath, Roger.

    Not interested.

  • That’s OK, Clavos. I know better than that. “Smart alec” is all you’re capable of.

  • Ruvy, you haven’t posted all day.

    I’m like Mr. Ed; if I’ve got nothing to say, I keep quiet.

  • Clavos

    “Smart alec” is all you’re capable of.

    Only with those who merit it, Roger.

  • I haven’t seen any depth yet, except kiss ass with respect to those you regard as superior. Usual Clavos.

  • Three loud cheers for Mr. Ed!

    Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    I always suspected that horses had the edge on intelligence and communications skills, a suspicion which is enforced daily.


  • Baronius

    I’ve never seen Clavos regard anyone as his superior.

  • You’re missing the “kiss ass” comments.

  • Actually, it’s a matter of wanting to belong, to the good ol’ boys club, you know what I mean? Poor Clavos – had gone to the good old school, tries to speak Queen’s English, perfect in every way. If he could only change the fact of his birth or perhaps his Latin complexion.

    Oh well, we can’t have everything.

  • Jet

    Does that mean that Clavos has been “Rogerred”?

  • You’re right, Jet. I withdraw. If I imitate my opponents, I only descend to their level. So please forgive bad form. My only excuse was – I was addressing anonymous pixels on the screen, foolish me trying to endow them with personality and character.

  • And please forgive inferior English, but I try my best. As a matter of fact, I’ve just enrolled a brand new course in the local community college, ESLFIL (English Second Language for the intellectually challenged), so you all should be seeing significant improvements in no time.

    I hope.

  • Baronius

    This is crazy. Can I get a free pass to break the comments policy too?

  • Baronius,

    I have a better idea. Why don’t you apply to the editorial board?

  • Irene Wagner

    I think we should play Finish My Limmerick.

    I’ll start.
    There once was a maid from Wisconsin:

  • Irene,

    Talk to me. I was hoping you were gonna to check in today.

  • Irene Wagner

    That doesn’t rhyme with wisconsin, roger.
    But OK. Only for a few minutes though. I’m avoidance behavioring.

  • Cindy

    Can Roger get away with saying that to Clavos?

  • Well, take your time then; read the thread above, from about #82 on and get back to me – whenever’s convenient. I mean it. OK?

  • Irene Wagner

    …Who grew a moustache like Charles Bronson…

    It sounds like Baronius has been reading some CS Lewis. I overheard him mention one of his quotes about newspapers.

  • I’d wish he’d acquire the wisdom as well.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, I sort of have the gist of what’s been going on. Some of it’s way over my head, but…

  • Clavos

    If he could only change the fact of his birth or perhaps his Latin complexion.

    I am very proud of both of my passports, Roger. And I’m not a naturalized US citizen, I was born one. Also, my complexion (which you can see in my photo at the ends of all of my articles) is very typical of a Swedish-Irishman.

    But, other than that, you’re a great pop psychologist.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, I used to be a computer programmer for a long time–before the Internet came around.

  • So now we have a committee. Gosh, I’m sure glad I got out from under the Soviet regime.

  • Irene Wagner

    Maybe it’s because I wasn’t a great programmer, or maybe it was because I was an extra thorough one….but I used to do a heck of a lot of debugging. (This is going somewhere, stay with me…

  • I’m at your beck ‘n call.

  • Irene Wagner

    Sitting there for hours on end, in front of a computer, as the lines scrolled by, I’d find a line of code that I thought was causing a problem, and I’d carve it up, recompile,…then run the program again to see if it was doing what I wanted it to do…

  • But Clavos, I was only exercising my imagination. Besides, how can I trust mere pixels? So I do my best to dress ’em up with flesh and blood. And who’s to say I’m wrong?

  • Irene Wagner

    …and nine times out of time of course, it WOULDN’T, so it was more sitting in front of the computer, trying to get the output from the computer that I wanted. I’d get SO angry.

    I formed some habits that were very difficult for me to break after I discovered message boards.

  • And actually, Clavos, MY complexion is Mediterranean and I’m proud of it. See, I don’t worry what the Anglos think of me.

  • Clavos

    But Clavos, I was only exercising my imagination. Besides, how can I trust mere pixels? So I do my best to dress ’em up with flesh and blood. And who’s to say I’m wrong?

    I am. And have. And will.

  • There once was a maid from Wisconsin
    Who said, ‘Alas! I let handsome Alphonse in.
    The result of our lovin’
    Is a bun in the oven –
    We skipped church the day they preached on sin.’

  • Irene Wagner

    There weren’t very many programming problems I encountered that I couldn’t fix if I spent enough hours wrestling with them.

  • For all intents and purposes, there may be no such a thing as “Clavos.” So I have to try to personify the pixels to make sense out of ’em. Otherwise, I’d just have to pretend they don’t exist. You wouldn’t want me to do that, would you? Besides, please bear with me while I brush up on my English.

  • Irene Wagner

    The meter is ALL wrong in the last line, Dr. D…..
    I’ll fix it.
    …And it has a moustache like Charles Bronson.

  • Well, the problem I’m having, Irene, is not exactly with iron-clad logic? You do understand.

  • I do sort of look and talk like one, at least in person. By my writing can be divine.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger Nowosielski, have you ever done any computer programming? It’s like editing on paper, but if you’d done it and could compare it to the “feel” of trying to persuade people on message boards, you’d know what I’m talking about. The computer program “talks back to you” right away, the way something you’ve merely edited can’t.

  • Irene Wagner

    That’s EXACTLY it, Roger, we’re not dealing with logic here. When you write essays, or when I was debugging programs, we were up to our necks in logic.

  • Now I see what you’re getting at! I should have known that nothing you say is in vein. A heck of an analogy. So where do we go from there? The whole thing is futile.

  • Then there’s definitely something wrong with the meeting of the minds model. It don’t work in a vacuum.

  • Irene Wagner

    Well, you know where I’D go from here, and often have. Sometimes, you need to just go someplace in solitude and get some input. Not just from books, Roger.

  • Irene Wagner

    And Roger, it’s not just you that needs that input.
    It’s everyone. But you happened to be the one who asked me.

  • Cindy

    He awoke in his cot,
    his mustache in a knot.
    Thus, he ended like Lyndon Baines Johnson.

    (yeah, yeah, it’s a stretch)

  • Irene, most of my input hasn’t been from books but the life of hard knocks. Experience and thought, thought and experience. So don’t misread me. What I am really saying, this whole thing isn’t real. And I was deluding myself.

  • Clavos

    There once was a maid from Wisconsin
    Who was quite fond of Honky-Tonkin’
    When queried as to why,
    Replied she, nothing shy
    “It’s almost as much fun as bonkin'”

  • Cindy

    Wait! It was a maid! With a mustache? Sorry I got confuzzled.

  • Cindy

    Now I have to start all over again.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cindy, Clavos, Dr. Dreadful, excellent limmericking, all of you!

  • That’s OK, Irene. Get back to me when convenient. I don’t consider this discussion as closed.

  • Cindy

    There once was a maid from Wisconsin,
    who grew a mustache like Charles Bronson.
    She was careless one night,
    and she caught it alight.
    But her family thought it was arson.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, its as real as it is. It’s as real as anything you read. Fiction can be real if it changes you.

    You just don’t have as much control about what Pixels on the Internet say when they talk back to you do when you’re debugging a program or re-reading drafts of your writing.

    You and I are used to having a WHOLE lot of control when we’re creating something when we’re writing. It’s a whole different process when you’re talking to people online.

  • Cindy

    Goodnight Irene…goodnight Irene…..

    Thanks for the fun. 🙂

  • And now, on to the cities of Wisconsin:

    There was an actor from Milwaukee
    Who appeared in the very first talkie.
    But his movie career
    Threatened to disappear
    When it turned out his voice was too squawky.

  • Irene Wagner

    You’ll see me in your dreams about Wisonsin moustaches….See ya Cindy. See ya BC fam’bly feuders. Love to all.

  • Well, it’s not a matter of control, because you don’t really have that much of it in a conversation, except other clues in addition to what’s being said. But it would seem that in this environment there are no rules to speak of … so how in hell can you get anywhere. The pixels just refuse to be persons.

  • It’s like a “disembodied conversations.” Shatters my idea of heaven. If that’s what’s like, I want none of it.

  • Clavos

    I really rattled you with that “pixels on a screen” remark a few weeks ago, didn’t I, Roger?

    I get the sense that the concept hadn’t occurred to you before that.

  • No it hadn’t in that extreme sense. All my online communications prior to BC have been with people I personally knew. So no, there was never that kind of a problem.

  • Jet

    Doc was silly, he tried to get a word in edgewise too… he he he he he

  • Baronius

    There once was a maid from Wisconsin
    Who grew a mustache like Charles Bronson
    She said, “no man will care
    about my facial hair
    as long as I’m shaved where he wants in”.

  • You’re the one who had started it with your clever remark, Jet, about Ruvy not being able to get in a word edgewise. Now, you ought to know that no force on earth could possibly do that. So thanks, buddy, for being the shit disturber. But then again, perhaps we needed the action.

  • A perfect case in the study of ignorance, or how the gung-ho team from Texas has hijacked the country.

  • More of the same.

  • A petition-form from ACLU to the Attorney General authorizing the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations re: Bush’s torture policy.

    I urge you to sign and make your voice be counted.