Raining fairly-heavy this way-early Tuesday on California’s north coast — chilly, too, as we experience spring splashing out all over the place.
We received more than half-an-inch of rain already, according to the local weather people, and more is expected the rest of the week. Although, supposedly tomorrow should be dry — yeah, right.
Today is the first of April — some dicks call it April Fools’ Day, as in plural-possessive for a reportedly shitload of assholes who are either a ‘fool’ themselves, or attempt to ‘fool’ people. Reportedly, you shouldn’t call anyone else a fool, lest you be one yourself — or an asshole.
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Tete d’homme du XVIIeme siecle,’ found here).
In celebration of this brainless day, we look at foolishness in an age of technological marvels, where information can be researched and presented in an orderly, factual motion, and then scorned by assholes. Huge case in point — climate change.
On the very heels this week of a massive UN-sponsored report, which laid out the bare-ass essentials for a coming environmental catastrophe, some of the more-foolish, nasty, sarcastic and coal/oil soaked assholes make much-merry with cruel jest.
For instance, last Wednesday the horror of the future was pinched hard during a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology — laugh, hahaha, laugh.
From Science Magazine:
Even in a Congress noted for its polarization and lack of comity, members of the panel seemed more interested in name-calling than numbers.
As a result, the 2-hour hearing was more evidence of how entrenched and extreme views are dramatically remaking what was once one of the most rational forums in Congress for discussing science policy.
Several members, for example, appeared to be trying to mock rather than engage Holdren on climate change.
“I may want to get your cellphone number, Dr. Holdren,” said Representative Randy Weber (R–TX), “because, if we go through another few cycles of global warming and cooling, I may need to ask you when I should buy my long coat on sale.”
Weber, a freshman from the Galveston area, began his interrogation by asking Holdren whether “when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific postulate or theory and work forward from that? Is that right?”
Holdren gamely played along, explaining that “it depends on the type of science, but the notion of posing a hypothesis and then trying to determine whether it is right is one of the tried and true approaches in science, yes.”
One freshman on the Democratic side couldn’t resist adding his own brand of insults, aimed not at the witness but at his Republican colleagues.
“I have to say that, frankly, Dr. Holdren, at this point you should be prepared to address whether the Earth is round or flat, or whether indeed gravity is happening. You just never know what could fly at you,” said Representative Eric Swalwell (D–CA), whose northern California district includes two Energy Department national laboratories.
His scorn also took him far afield from the subject of the hearing.
“And I have to say that, with 97 percent of scientists stating that climate change is manmade, I’m encouraged to see that some of my colleagues from across the aisle have given voice to the minority 3 percent,” Swalwell continued, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“This is encouraging for the other minorities that my colleagues across the aisle have not helped out, including immigrants waiting for comprehensive immigration reform, women who have not received equal pay for equal work, and those who are affected by changes in the Voting Rights Act.”
What a freakin’ mess. The US is as screwed as screwing can get.
On top of that, a couple of our agencies are way-way-out-of-control — one is the NSA, the other the CIA, not caught lying to not only Congress, but to us the people.
From the Washington Post:
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.
The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.
“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report.
“Was that actually true? The answer is no.”
And, of course: A spokesman for the CIA said the agency had not yet seen a final version of the report and was, therefore, unable to comment.
Marcy Wheeler adds:
Ultimately, CIA got DOJ to authorize “water dousing” — in the manner that CIA always got DOJ to approve mere shadows of what they actually did, and the approval more closely matches the description of the LIFG prisoners — in the Bradbury Techniques Memo (see page 10).
But not before it got used over and over at the Salt Pit (the same place where water dousing had already contributed to Gul Rahman’s death).
Which is, I’m quite certain, one thing that CIA was doing with the Legal Principles document, a set of legal guidelines the CIA wrote for itself (with John Yoo’s freelance help) as the CIA’s legal problems started to mount.
As I’ve noted, the first draft of the memos got hand-carried to John Yoo on April 28, 2003, just as these detainees were in the Salt Pit.
There were several more discussions internally at CIA in anticipation of litigation before they tried (unsuccessfully) to create a fait accompli with Pat Philbin on June 16, 2003. At that point, the document only generally approved techniques equivalent to those already approved.
I guess, in similar fashion, John Yoo and his CIA buddies believe ice-drowning is equivalent, as another kind of simulated drowning, to waterboarding, which had been approved?
Then the next year, when Scott Muller tried the same trick with Jack Goldsmith — trying to get him to sign off on the techniques CIA had freelanced its own legal opinion — he asked to include water dousing (and another water-based technique and one still-redacted technique) explicitly.
Of course, the description of water dousing fell far short of what the CIA was actually doing — dunking men in ice-water repeatedly — though the outlines, especially the concern about detainees ingesting water and hypothermia — show the outlines of the torture such language was meant to gloss.
To understand the CIA’s torture program, you have to understand what these bureaucratic maneuvers were meant to cover.
Now we know they were intended to authorize controlled drowning of men in ice water.
Another horrible, freakin’ mess. Yet, this a perfect feast of fools to chow-down the bat-shit crazy, but it must all be over by lunch:
The day, considered as one of the most interesting days of the year, often include wearing disguises and playing stupid pranks on family and friends.
It is a time when normal behavior is not allowed, while mischievous and tomfoolery behavior is absolutely acceptable.
But did you know that according to tradition, the time for pranks and jokes must stop at 12 noon on 1 April?
An afternoon prank is just so rude. Unless you’re an asshole.