The Watering Hole, Monday, December 15th, 2014: Surreal

While the vast majority of the current political, cultural, and social events have become increasingly surreal, here’s just a few examples of the WTF? society in which we are floundering.

In the wake of the release of the Senate Torture Report (“Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Committee’s Study on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program”), the defensive reactions of some are wandering in the realm of surrealism. There was that, pardon the expression, bimbo on Fox screaming that “America is AWESOME!”, there’s Dick Cheney calmly and coldly dragging Dubya under the same bus that HOPEFULLY runs down Cheney.

There’s surreal hypocrisy, as in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (spit!) stating that there’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits torture. From HuffPost:

“Scalia…said that while there are U.S. laws against torture, nothing in the Constitution appears to prohibit harsh treatment of suspected terrorists. “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene…”

[How did this scumbag get to be a Supreme?]

“In 2008, he used the example of the hidden bomb [ala the fictional Jack Bauer in 24]. “It seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say you couldn’t, I don’t know, stick something under the fingernail, smack him in the face. It would be absurd to say you couldn’t do that,” he said.”

On the other hand, regarding a real imminent potential crisis situation:

“In January, Scalia seemed less concerned about the safety of residents of Los Angeles when the court heard arguments about whether anonymous tips could justify a traffic stop. Urging the lawyer for two suspects appealing their conviction to stand firm, Scalia suggested that not even information that a carload of terrorists heading to Los Angeles with an atomic bomb would be enough to justify police stopping the car, if the tip came from an anonymous source. “I want you to say, ‘Let the car go. Bye-bye, LA,'” Scalia said.

Then there’s surreal racism/white privilege in ‘law enforcement’. As this Daily Kos diary points out, why aren’t vicious white criminals called “thugs”? One particular white Texas criminal who brutally murdered a white prosecutor, the prosecutor’s wife, and the assistant prosecutor, was:

“…a felon who had a prior record of burglary and theft. Yet somehow he had amassed a veritable arsenal of weapons as prosecutors during the penalty phase of his trial revealed:

“On Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors assembled the arsenal of weapons found in Williams’ storage unit in the courtroom. The guns were displayed on three wooden racks in the middle of the courtroom, 42 handguns in the middle and 22 long guns flanking each side. In front of the racks were boxes of ammunition — thousands of rounds were recovered — and a crossbow. Bullets were loose in bags, as well as still packaged in boxes.”

Now let’s switch to more palatable surrealism: I ran across this assemblage of ’30 surreal photos’ while I was clearing out/sorting my emails at work–Wayne had sent me the link in a 2012 email, noting that he liked this photo:

"Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Snowstorm" - photo by Keith Williams

“Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Snowstorm” – photo by Keith Williams

While I found many of the “surreal” photos to be too contrived – I like the ones where a simple alteration of one’s perspective reveals a glimpse of other-worldliness (see “Towering”, among others) – I agree with Wayne, I love the swallows photo. For more of photographer Keith Williams’ bird photos, I highly recommend checking out his gallery – makes a nice palate-cleanser.

This is our daily open thread – go ahead, speak up!

32 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, December 15th, 2014: Surreal

  1. Some help for Scalia:

    Article VI. Clause 2:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Granted, the word ‘torture’ isn’t in that clause, but ‘torture’ IS parcel to the Geneva Conventions, i.e. “treaties” and therefore violation of said treaties is a Constitutional violation. Right?

    Now I ain’t no lawyer, so I’m clearly not skilled at the word manipulation techniques involved in reversing meanings to satisfy a particular lust or bias, but I mean really Scalia, c’mon!

  2. If Big Brother is watching then he is spending way too much time watching corn grow and tracking camels and antelope.
    Big Brother also has an obsession with Mickey Mouse.
    There’s a joke there I just haven’t found yet.

  3. Why do topographical google maps show the contour of the sea floor?
    Once you’re in over your head, it doesn’t matter how deep it is.

    • Unless you’re wearing scuba gear? I dunno, maybe some people can use that information for diving or fishing?

  4. The Democratic party is at a crossroads.
    It can continue to be the corporate shilling factory that the Clinton experience has shown us, Continue the Obama continuum, where some modicum of deference is paid to FDR’s vision, but major accommodation made to the existing corrupt political systems in place, or move to the left to provide an avenue for the majority of American workers to gain a fingertip grasp of power in the political process they’ve been cut out of.
    If they continue either of the first two paths, more and more disenfranchised people will just say F**k it, and the Repugnicants win.

      • That makes better sense than the explanation:

        Ezra Klein:

        ‘Why it’s called “the CRomnibus”: The bill is being referred to on the Hill as the “CRomnibus”. That’s because it’s a mash-up of an omnibus bill, which is how Congress funds the government when things are working normally, and a continuing resolution (CR), which is how Congress funds the government when it can’t come to a deal. In this case, the CR only affects the Department of Homeland Security, which, as mentioned before, will see its funding expire in February.’

      • I could never tell the difference between what she was saying for real and a Bad Lip reading parody.

    • Our ex-governor Transvaginal Bob McDonnell is due to be sentenced after Christmas, the recommendation is 10-12 years. That is also sweet. Why are these holier-than-thou types always so corrupt?

      • You answered your own question. The really whacky religious types BELIEVE that they can operate under their own rules because they are entitled by God. Their internal dialogue goes something like; “God wouldn’t have made me so awesome if He wanted me to follow other peoples rules”. This is compounded by the fact that they can deceive themselves so easily. Some years ago I read an article about polygraphs and the researchers found that religious fanatics were the group most likely to be able to fool the machine consistently. I have no doubt that Batscat Bachmann believes the stuff that pours out of her mouth and nothing short of heavy doses of medication and/or shock therapy are likely to disabuse her.

        • Therein lies the really BIG reason that I’m not interested in heaven. Each and all of those crooked and two-faced lying SOB’s, when forgiven, will be there. Screw that. As we used to say in college days, “I want to go to hell cuz that’s where all the hookers will be.” The response was, “Yeah, but you can’t get close to ’em. That’s what’s hell about it” It still sounded GOOD, though.😉

          And fifty years later, today, it beats the hell (sotospeak) out of any heaven filled with dudes like Pius XII, Sick Rantorum, pHuckabee, Dubya, Bryan Fischer, Oral Roberts (and his brother Anal), Falwell, Graham(s), Phyllis Schlafly, Ronnie Raygun, . . . etc. et al. Heaven will clearly be contaminated with the forgiven. But not with me!😯

  5. Now he tells us. DickDick, BabyBoyGeorge and Yoo can huddle in the corner of hell.

    Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo said the sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and other harsh treatment outlined in a U.S. Senate report last week could violate anti-torture laws.

    • Why is it they’re not all in a slammer somewhere as punishment for being the prime movers of that whole torture mess? They haven’t even been charged, for chrissake, much less appeared in court. Seems odd that Michael Brown is shot ten times because he’s black and might have some stolen cigarillos on him, and odder yet that Cheney gets a new heart because he’s Dick Cheney.

  6. Borowitz:

    Warren’s Display of Backbone Threatens Career as Democrat
    WASHINGTON – What some insiders are calling a “rash display of backbone” last week could endanger Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass)’s career as a Democrat, leading party operatives said today. “She stood up for what she believed in and didn’t try to water it down,” said Democratic strategist Harland Dorrinson. “That is a serious violation of the Democratic playbook.” The strategist said Warren could possibly salvage her career as a Democrat if her advisers dissuade her from having further outbursts of integrity in the future: “Someone needs to sit her down and say, we are the party of Dukakis, the party of Mondale. This is not how we do.”

  7. The Supreme Court ruled today, in a 8-1 decision, that a police stop based on a officer’s false beliefs about the law can lead to a legally valid search. So essentially, cops can make it up as they go along.

    Sotomayor was the lone dissent.

  8. San Jose police officer placed on leave after controversial tweets

    An online petition at change.org demanding his firing gained over 5,000 signatures in less than a day. Civic leaders questioned how he can continue to be an effective cop. Menlo College, where White was an assistant basketball coach, cut ties with him.

    “Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you. #CopsLivesMatter” and “By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun.”

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