Friday, June 30, 2006

Goodbye to June....

The end of June but not the end of attempts by a number individuals and grassroots organizations, including this humblest of humble blogs, to raise, in some degree, public awareness of torture in the world today – but why do we do it?

Why? The despots of the world would only snicker even if they heard our cry. Mister Cheney would sneer, Mr. Bush would snarl and Mr. Yoo would come with yet another report on twenty-four pages of crisp white paper explaining why torture isn’t torture.

Why? One might as well accept slavery or cannibalism or treating women as chattel or war and violence as the accepted way to resolve conflicts between our petty tribes as accept torture.

Why? All that we do as individuals, groups and nations define what we are as human beings. Torture is something that defines our common humanity in a way we cannot, must not accept.

If we accept that our common humanity is defined by inhumanity, our species is doomed to the perdition of extinction and it will come sooner than later.

The religious master whose teachings are at the core of the culture in which I was born and formed as a human being taught that in the final analysis, when all had gone down to dust, many would come and claim salvation in his name. He said that his reply would be, no, these things you did and preached, the miracles you did in my name are nothing – departed from me, I never knew you. In continuation he also taught that many would be brought into his presence and enfolded into the Realm of Spirit. Surprised, these would ask, but when did we serve you? The reply will be, when you attended the sick, when you visited those in prison, when you gave succor to the wounded in body, mind and spirit – what you did for the least of these, you did for me.

Is it really that hard to understand?

Writing about torture these past thirty days, I came to realize that accepting torture being done in our name destroys something of that in us which makes us human.

I conclude June with a repetition of my thesis:

When the humanity of a single human being is destroyed, something in our common humanity is destroyed.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Two Seconds Before Midnight...

Just two seconds before midnight songs like this were heard echoing in the streets of Poosah City:

As I read the story of what we’ve done and do,

my heart breaks with sorrow,

my head bows for shame.

We have killed all our yesterdays and tomorrows

and today is busting into flame…

Just two seconds before midnight and the air was filled with the stink of the rotting seas of garbage in the streets.

Just two seconds before midnight and as muffled screams waft up from the Chambers of Secrecy buried far below the clicking relays, the finely manicured middle-finger of Ronald Rexona was poised above the Red Button.

Just two seconds before midnight and Ronald Rexona is muttering to himself, “Will this really start “Operation Total Cleansing”, or has old Dick Face been putting me on like he sometimes does – it’s hard to tell. Sometimes I get the feeling he thinks it’s him who’s running this show. Dammit, I’m the Supreme Hole and I can Wipe the Slate Clean if I want to – hope he’s not in one of his “secret locations”, ‘cause I’d really enjoy not seeing his crooked grin anymore – yeah, I’m gonna do it! One, tw…”

Just two seconds before midnight and the rain-sobbing clouds which had covered their poor polluted and ravaged earth in a death shawl since the Reestablishment of World Peace – those clouds suddenly parted!

Just two seconds before midnight and the strange ships of the Alien Veggies, ships of Cucumber and Squash, Eggplant and Rutabaga and all the rest of the Horticulture Crew suddenly filled the skies of their earth and the infernal machines of death and insane destruction were, in an instant, rendered useless…

The skies parted and a true cleansing began. Soon, new songs were heard in the streets of Poosah City:

Between the dawn and day

there is a place where I would stay,

rosy granite rocks are softly washed

by salty spray.

But you won’t find it on a map

or in the words I say.

As Dr. Seuss says in “Horatio the Elephant” (who was faithful 100%!), “…if only things were like that”. But no! As terrible as things were in the Third Galaxy, as fantastic the way all things turned for the better, as unlikely as a Ronald Rexona in our world will ever become Supreme Hole – just as unlikely are the very real problems and crisis in our world likely to be resolved in a flash of Intervention, supernatural or otherwise.

The best we can do, I suppose, is light a candle whenever the opportunity presents itself, attend the sick, visit those in prison, comfort the wounded in body and spirit as the Master told us we should.

It’s not two seconds to midnight in our world, not yet, but it’s much closer than the quaintly optimistic seven minutes the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists places it, closer than two minutes. Closer because the tick and tock goes largely unnoticed by the new media which dis-informs us. Closer as our leaders fight over hills of small beans as our common humanity drifts closer to perdition and hell.

Two seconds to midnight…

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gitmo Blues Revisited

What was I thinking? No, correct that, what was I thinking with? Whatever it was, it sure wasn’t what’s left of my shriveled brain!

True, no one has accused me of anything – yet – but I preemptively accuse and castigate myself and promise self-flagellation until the early hours of the morning.

In yesterday’s post I compared the Three Stooges to the three stooges who hung themselves in their luxury suites at the Hotel Gitmo’! Did I really think I’d let myself get away with that?

Moe, Curly and Larry are heroes!

These other stooges at the very least were vicious terrorists who presented a clear and present danger to the Security of our Beloved Country. Why else would our government hold them prisoner for over four years, without accusing them of any crime, not allowing their names to be known until recently -- or allow the prisoners know that legal measures were being taken on their behalf?

For our government to treat them like that, obviously they must be very bad people! The thought that they may have had connections with the notorious Boo-Boo Wankerman or even Ahsawyah Been-Lately gives me shivers and goose-bumps!

True, that isn’t certain – government spokesmen have only implied that it might be so. But government people can’t always say everything they know because our enemies might realize how little they really do know and then the terraists would win!

However, consider the way that they viciously attacked us and all of the Free World by hanging themselves in their cells hotel suites – that itself proves what kind of monsters they were, with no respect for the value of human life, not even their own!

Actually, hanging doesn’t give a good picture of how these three unfortunate men ended their time on the mortal coil. They dangled from strips of bed sheet tied to the top of their cages as they slowly strangled. They didn’t actually sing as many bars of “Hotel Gitmo’ Talking Blues” as I implied in yesterday’s post.

Depending on how long their guards played cards, watched football, porno, or whatever they do instead of checking on their hotel guests, our three stooges swollen tongues stuck out like purple sausages. The lights are on 24/7 at Hotel Gitmo, so you would think the color would be easy to see. However, florescent lighting gives a false impression colors.

In this way mainstream media can be compared to florescent lighting.

How else to understand that most Americans now accept torture?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hotel Gitmo' Talking Blues

For reasons we’ll never know, the Three Stooges hung themselves in their rooms at Hotel Gitmo, where they had been engaged for three years. Some say that they were unhappy because of unpaid bills, others say it had something to do with the food – they were sick and tired of chicken breasts in lemon sauce every other day.

It’s a fact that Larry had a lawyer. But because of certain rules at the Hotel, he was never informed. Moe was scheduled to be sent to a different Hotel, but had not been informed of this, again because of Establishment Rules. Curly had no knowledge or contact with his film friends outside or that they were trying to contact him.

The Hotel Manager, Admirable Hayseed, told the press, just before he kicked all reporters out of the Hotel in order to, “Clear the air” that the suicides were a violent and vicious attack aimed at the Owners of the Gitmo’ Hotel chain.

Moe was found with a guitar clenched in his hands, so it seems almost certain that as they slowly died over seven or ten minutes, hanging from strips of bed sheets they had tied to the top of their cages rooms they sang, in a blatant take-off on "The Life of Brian", a song he and Larry had written just for the occasion, “Hotel Gitmo’ Talking Blues:

If you need a vacation but don’t know where to go,

why don’t you check out Hotel Git-Mo?

It’s got a reputation that kind of sucks, I know,

but it’s cheap and you can really get hosed

Just think of all the games you’ll get to play,

they’ll make sure you’ll really enjoy your stay.

When you first check in, they put a bag on your head,

and by next morning you’ll wish you were dead.

You’ll get to stand all day in the hot blazing sun,

while guards watch over ya with dogs and guns

You’ll really love the water sports,

let me tell ya ’bout ‘em, nice and short:

They put you on a board and strap you down,

then dip you in water till you think you’re gonna drown.

I hope you like music, ‘cause they play it kinna loud,

entertainment is what Git-Mo’s all about!

It’s not everywhere you get slapped around for free,

where no one outside even knows your misery.

If you don’t like the food, don’t worry bro’,

they’ll fill your tummy with a hose in your nose.

If you really dig this kind of fun,

we’ve got several hotels not just one.

Nobody knows where most of them are at,

’cause most of them are secret and not on the map.

You needn’t worry how you’re gonna get there,

we fly you for free in a shiny Gulfair

The hotel manager’s a real nice guy,

kind of roly poly with a dimple on his chin

When you hear his name I know you’re gonna grin,

they call him Dr. Thor Churrin...

20th UN Anti-Toture Day

Torture is the abusement / mistreatment of people who are under your complete control.

I’m ready to look at other definitions, if you have one, but I’ll tell you up front that anybody who comes with a definition that waffles on how much pain or physical injury is incurred determines if it is torture will automatically recieve an F double minus zero and utter bullshit stamped in red across the top of the page.

When something of the humanity in one human being is destroyed, something is destroyed in the common humanity of all people.

Today, June 26, is the date assigned by the United Nations for International Support of Victims and Survivors of Torture.

Or, to put it bluntly, boys and girls, today is the 20th International Anti-torture Day. Nobody told me that, I figured it out all my self, by counting on my fingers and toes from 1987 to 2006. Next year, I guess I'm shit out of luck.

Only 20 years and what great strides have been made! For example, I first heard of this day six weeks ago when I signed up on the anti-torture blog roll. It won’t be long before thousands of people know about this day and take a stand against torture even stronger than that of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney!

But what of the other great strides!

A number of despots in the Middle East whose regimes were propped up with the help of torture and American military aid have been deposed! The number happens to be one, but hey, one is more than none!

As the deposed despot was personally responsible for torture not only his own country but throughout the Middle East, torture is rapidly disappearing in his country and throughout the Middle East. True there are a few die hard countries where torture is still visited upon political opponents, true, the list includes all these countries, including the country of the former despot. The bright spot, however, is that most of them are American allies, except for a couple who are axis of evil countries and therefore scheduled for regime change.

The United States continues to reaffirm its leadership and brave stance against torture with a number of clever moves. Renaming the School of the Americas where South American military and police forces are trained in the use of torture to subdue and control their populations was a stroke of sheer genius! Imagine, you don’t close the school, just give it a new name! That’s sort of like killing two birds with one stone, or in this case, zapping two testicles with one electrode.

America has also shown brave leadership by removing itself from the jurisdiction of international tribunals which try war crimes, including torture – such foresight takes my breath away!

But the best move by far has been prisoner of war camps which aren’t prisoner of war camps and therefore not covered by such quaint things as the Geneva Conventions. The genius thing here has been keeping name and location of most of the camps secret as well as the names of many of the people kept there.

One concentration camp is there out in the open. It’s so bright and shiny we like to call it Hotel Gitmo’. Chicken breasts in lemon sauce are served every other day to the guests who get to partake in fun games and water sports with the guards…

Please excuse The Crazy Bird while he goes outside to puke. He’ll return in a moment with the “Hotel Gitmo’ Talking Blues.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

No Room for Conscience...

...perhaps there is no room for conscience
in a world run by criminal negligence?
As a robber-and-a-thief,
I swear: there is a wound – and a night beyond relief.

Hate is much too mild a word
for that which I despise, to which I weld this curse:
Prince-of-this-world! Your feet are lice!
Your cloak is rot! Your halo – buzzing flies!

-- by an unknown poet from the Third Galaxy. In the Third Galaxy,
being unknown is a survival requirement. Synonyms for "known" poet are "disappeared" and "forgotten".

Don't know why I post this just now from the grab-bag of poems poems and scribble transmitted to me by the unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy, Man-u El-Ishman.

Perhaps I do it just to remind myself that, as bad as things seem sometime in a world so much under the rule of incompetent popinjays and outright socio-paths, things are much worse in the Third Galaxy, though small comfort that may be...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cut Mr. Bush Some Slack, Please!

I’m not one to complain, but I really wish people would get off Mr. Bush’s case and just cut him a little slack.

He’s only been on the job for going on six years, so give the guy a chance! He’s bound to get something right, I mean even he can’t fuggup everything he touches, can he?

All that stuff about him not being properly elected -- forget it! The 2000 vote in Florida was rigged/fixed/stolen? Forget it! The 2004 vote in Ohio was rigged/fixed/stolen? Forget it! Mr. Bush is not just the President any more, get it? 9/11 changed everything, get it? He is now our Commander-in-Chief. He’s our Commander-in-Chief and you darn well better not forget it!

Him being our Commander-in-Chief kind of puts us all under his command, how hard can that be to understand? That was lots better than hitting a crummy old trifecta – heck, for all we know maybe that was the trifecta he was making those funny jokes about!

Yeah, yeah, there’s nothing in our Constitution that specifically states that when hijacked planes fly into a couple of skyscrapers the President automatically becomes Commander in Chief. But you can’t expect the Founding Fathers to have thought of every thing when they did their best to lay the foundation for a stable democratic republic.

As everybody knows, the Bible supersedes the Constitution. If only we could find a Bible verse or two which supports the Unitary Power of the Executive going automatically into effect when planes fly into tall buildings... All we need is to find a couple of obscure verses nobody can understand, then get us a couple of them high-powered TV preachers to just squeeze and twist them Bible verses until they yell, “Jeeezuus!”

True, the Founding Fathers tried to put an iron rod reinforced brick wall between Church and State. They were afraid that money grubbing, power hungry religious figures might try to take over the country. But they didn’t have preachers back then of the quality, honesty and rock-solid character of the God-Committed money grubbing, power hungry Christians that we have today! So where’s the problem? I don’t see any problem, do you?

The Founding Fathers were intelligent, well-educated and highly literate people who knew their history. They were well acquainted with the fact that kingly and religious powers had bloodied Europe for centuries. However, they lacked the advantage of having the Scofield Bible to guide them and never had the chance to read the “Left Behind” books, that God-Awesome well-spring of inspiration to love your fellow man, that is those of them who are saved. Can you imagine? The Founding Fathers never heard of the Rapture! As a matter of fact, neither have most of the Christians who ever lived – now that is food for thought!

When Mr. Bush, as he signs a bill into law, states that he isn’t going to abide by the law it unless he happens to feel like it – that upsets some people who come on with loose talk about “impeachment”. Don’t they know that impeachment was designed for serious things like lying about getting a blow-job?(!)

Besides, impeachment only applies to Presidents. A Commander-in-Chief is more than a “President”. He’s a “Decider”. What deciders do is decide, which is really hard work, so deciders are decidedly not responsible for their deciding, which means they can’t held accountable, which means you can’t be impeached.

Stop your whining and complaining – stop it! The way some folks are carrying on you’d think America was turning into some sort of nightmare from the Third Galaxy.

That is ridiculous! Things are a lot worse in the Third Galaxy than they’ll ever get here – I hope.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ronald Rexona

Yesterday, in a fit of brainfart, I promised to post anecdotes received from my unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy, a few episodes showing something of Ronald Rexona’s charming character. I realize my folly now, because people want to hear things that have pertinence to the realities of our world, such as they are.

On the other hand, since such a fine fellow as Ronald Rexona could develop into a terrible tyrant, it may help the reader understand that even Supreme Leaders and Deciders must be held accountable. So, straight from the horse’s mouth or should I say the wings of Man-u-El-Ishman, I give you:

Ronald Rexona, a Loving Portrait

Despite what some rather nasty people might try to get you to think, Ronald Rexona is a rather likeable fellow.

Despite the handicap of being born into the wealthy and well-connected upper crust of Arrogant society with a silver spoon stuck up his nose, he’s not above associating with ordinary people, as long as they don’t get too close and personal.

Sometimes, when he wants to wind down after a month’s vacation, he grabs a hamburger at a local place near his ranch and maybe even chats small talk with the hamburger flipper there as if he had a Security Clearance – which he does, actually.

On the campaign trail, he knows how to shake hands and exchange noncommittal small talk with the consummate ease of the best politician you ever saw.

Of course, now, with Arrogance in a Declared State of Clear and Present Danger in the War Against Terraism, there won’t be any campaigns for the time being – or elections, for that matter!

But still, when he makes the occasional appearance on television to Speak to the Nation or answers Prepared Questions at a Nationally Televised Press Conference, every one hangs upon each syllable as it sneers from his mouth. Everyone is hoping, of course, that this time he’ll be able to pronounce all the difficult words, even the ones with three or four syllables.

And then there’s the famous smirking grin which disarms most people and leaves them thinking, “Wow! And this is the fellow who is going to lead us to Victory in the War on Terraism!

The reality is that Mr. Rexona is a simple, plain-folks kind of guy, completely void of inflated views of himself.

For example, have a chuckle with me over the funny things he sometimes says:

“I used to party a lot and sort of coasted through life, but since I gave my life to the Great Potato – all that has changed, I realize now, that, in the greater scheme of things, I’m just a little french fry like everybody else. I’m just trying to do what the Great Potato wants me to do and try to help make the world safe for Democracy and Freedom – you know good stuff like that – and safe from Terraism and bad stuff like that.”

“Frankly, sometimes I feel like I’m really nothing at all and that’s maybe why some smart-ass reporters used to call me a hole. Well, they aren’t doing that any more, and I’m sure you can understand why! Even if I am a hole, I’ve got to be the biggest hole around, maybe that’s why they’ve started calling me the Supreme Hole!”

No portrait of Ronald Rexona would be complete without one of the many humorous anecdotes he seems to be a bottomless source of. For example, let us hear how he, in his own charming way, brought new meaning to the concept of meeting etiquette:

At a meeting of the Security Committee on Foreign matters, Hown Daugh, when he was still Deputy Secretary of Defense, was drawing to the end of a presentation regarding plans for a yet-to-be-announced Liberation Invasion of yet another Resource Rich Dictatorship on the Barbarian Peninsula.

He flicked on his laser pointer and made the red dot circle around the text which summed up the conclusion of his presentation: “As you can see, it will be a simple matter to accomplish our mission with a small fraction of the troop strength those scaredy-cat generals have been telling us...”

Ronald Rexona, stopping in the middle of an apnal snore, suddenly opened his eyes and blinked disoriented for a moment – “Huh? Didn’t I order a cheese burger? Where in the hell is my fuggin cheeseburger! You, Hown, you’re the depity sekretary of something ain’t you?
“Well, er, uh, yes sir!

“Well, gawdamit, do what any fuggin sekretary with an ass half as pretty as yours would do and scarf me the gawddam cheeseburger – now!”

Letting his laser pointer fall on the conference table with a clatter, the then Deputy Secretary of Defense scampered out of the room as fast as a little boy who had forgotten he had to pee.
The other participants of the meeting did their best to look nonchalantly out the window; stifle and hide laughter and chuckles behind the backs of their hands or with coughs and sneezes; assiduously studied the polish of their finely manicured fingernails; or, with intense concentration, examine the fine grain of the rare tropical wood (not veneer, mind you, but solid wood!) of the conference table.

A brief moment later, Deputy Secretary Daugh returned with a platter, sat it carefully down in front of Ronald Rexona and lifted the lid with the casual elegance of a waiter in a fine restaurant.
The conference room quickly fills with the mouth watering smell of cheeseburger on hot toasted bun and the tummy rumbling fragrance of freshly fried french fries. Shortly afterwards, munchy crunchy sounds are heard and satisfied sighs of Epicurean delight come from Ronald Rexona.
Then, around a mouthful, he snarls: “Where’s the gawddam mudderfuggin dill pickles? Don’t none of you reusable azzwipes know a fellow needs dill pickles with his cheeseburger?

There are many more funny stories we could tell about Ronald Rexona’s unique form of dazzling leadership – for example the time he threw up in the face of the ambassador from a closely allied country, flicked a string of spinach from the ambassador's lapel and smirked, “Sorry about that, boy, must of been something I ate!”

Indeed there many delightful stories we could tell. However, pressed as we are for space, we will conclude our brief sketch with the usual and proper coda that Arrogant citizens can “sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that their security is in the hands of a dedicated leader such as Ronald Rexona, the Supreme Hole of Arrogance.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


If you think I’m laughing when you hear me cry,
When I tell the truth, you’ll think it’s just another lie:
The fools who rule our world will all kill you for a dime
They’re sending us all to hell and they’re working overtime.

Are you feeling helpless? Is there nothing you can do? The time is mad, the time is sad and everything is coming UNGLUED!
-- by an unknown poet from the Third Galaxy --in the Third Galaxy,
being unknown is a survival requirement. Synonyms for "known"
poet are "disappeared" and "forgotten".

I’ve been asked if an unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy really transmits material to me. Well, dammit, of course it does! You might as ask if Santa Claus really visits good little boys and girls or if the Tooth Fairy really leaves money when you put a tooth under your pillow!

I have also have come to the understanding that some people are assuming that Ronald Rexona and the United States of Arrogance are snidely satirical references to a leader and country in our world.

That is so ridiculous! Ronald Rexona is a hopeless clutz born with a silver spoon up his nose. When he became Supreme Hole, he declared War Zones and went about spreading not only Democracy and Freedom but the universal right to hot buttered popcorn throughout his world. How could he be compared to any person or country in our world?

To prove I really mean what I say and that I’m not putting you on, gassing you or writing tongue-in-cheek, tomorrow I will post an anecdote which will show, despite a few minor character faults, what a lovable fellow Ronald Rexona really is and at the same time demonstrate that he has no counterpart in our world. Well, not that many, and not that close.

If you scroll down a bit, you should find on the right hand side, a logo which shows that this blog is anti-torture. If you are for torture, boy, have I got just the place where you can spend your vacation. Actually, I’ve got several places, all run by the U.S. Gov’t, where you can relax and enjoy such fun sports as water boarding. If you have problems with the food, the hosts, without extra charges, will be happy to strap you down and shove a tube down your nose four times a day and fill your tummy with a nourishing liquid chock full of vitamins and minerals. I don’t know how many stars these hotels have, but some of them have three star generals!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Just a Number -- Final Cut, 18 June, 2006

This is the final cut of the text started on the Friday morning train to Copenhagen and was finished in a little red cottage I have around noon, Sunday. The melody is just about down pat also. It starts like "On Top of Old Smokey, but then goes other ways. This is the first time I've pulled a song down this quickly and easily in a decade at least. The last song I finished before this, Tickling the Dragon's Tail, was 15 years in gestation before it fell out of my hat last month.

To be fair (it's best to be fair, but not be obsessive about it) Mr. Snow did not actually say, "That's just a number" (that is if the transcripts are to be trusted, which, believe me, they are not!). On the other hand, the phrase captures the tone and meaning of the graf where whatever he actually said was said. In any case, the phrase used here fits the meter pefectly and besides I'm a poet and I got me a poet's license, so cut me some slack.

Just a Number (final cut, 18 June 2006 Chuck Cliff)

Two thousand five hundred flown home in a box,
but, “That’s just a number” said the bastard from Fox!
Two thousand five hundred fresh graves in white rows…
but, “That’s just a number”, says Mr. Snow.

Two thousand five hundred, lives thrown away,
but, “That’s just a number”, we all heard him say.
Two thousand five hundred names to write on a Wall,
but, “That’s just a number”, as if that was all.

Two thousand five hundred, cut down in their prime
but, “That’s just a number” what a helluva line!
Two thousand five hundred times how many more,
but, “That’s just a number” sneers the media whore!

Two thousand five hundred and many more maimed,
bodies & minds broken, driven insane…
Two thousand five hundred, names burn in my mind,
brothers and sisters, are we deaf are we blind?

Two thousand five hundred fists full of red sand
can you tell me why monsters are running our land?
For WE are the people and this land is our land,
and we’re not just numbers, like dollars to spend!

Brothers and sisters, please let us join hands,
with all of our numbers we can take back our land!
Brothers and sisters, please let us join hands,
with all of our numbers we can take back our land!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Just a Number -- take two

Now dear hearts you get to see, before your very eyes the logical extention of the folk-process.

Yesterday, full of inspiration and pissed off by my disappreciation of the White House Press Secretary's off-handed remark to number 2500 getting a last ride home in a flag-draped coffin, "It's just a number" (or maybe he said, "It's a number", but big deal.

Anyway, what I first wrote was POS, at least unsingable -- how can you sing lines of alternating pen- and tetrameter? Soooo, I redid the thing today and although it could maybe be sung to "On Top of Old Smokey" I've got a better tune. In fact, I think it is as good as anything I have got from my unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy.

Just a Number (take two, 17 June 2006 Chuck Cliff)

Two thousand five hundred fresh graves in white rows…
but, “That’s just a number”, says Mr. Snow.
Two thousand five hundred, lives thrown away,
but, “That’s just a number”, we all heard him say.
Two thousand five hundred came home in a box,
but, “That’s just a number” said that bastard from Fox!
Two thousand five hundred names to write on long walls,
but, “That’s just a number”, as if that was all.

Two thousand five hundred, cut down in their prime
but, “That’s just a number” what a helluva line!
Two thousand five hundred times how many more,
but, “That’s just a number” sneers the media whore!
Two thousand five hundred and many more maimed,
their bodies & minds broken, driven insane…
Two thousand five hundred, questions burn in my mind,
brothers and sisters, are we deaf are we blind?

For two thousand five hundred fistfuls of red sand
can you tell me why monsters are running our land?
For WE are the people and this land is our land,
and we’re not just numbers, like dollars to spend!
Brothers and sisters, please let us join hands,
with all of our numbers we can take back our land!
Brothers and sisters, please let us join hands,
with all of our numbers we can take back our land!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two Thousand Five Hundred

Sometimes you think you’re going to write about one thing, but then an angel grabs you by the back of the neck, rubs your nose in something else and says, “Write about this piece of shit”

Actually, it wasn’t a piece of shit, although the difference can be hard to tell -- it was Tony Snow, the guy from Fox who molted in to a White House Press Secretary. Neither was it an angel -- it was a James Raven post on Psychotic Patriot that blew my mind out of the water when I read it this morning on the train.

I’ve never liked seeing what I felt was snarky picking on Mr. Snow because of his colostomy. I know people who have been that route and I’ve always felt that it was, so to speak, below the belt.

But, then I read that his response to combat death number 2500 in the illegal war in Iraq was, “It’s just a number…” – at that moment, I decided he deserves all the shit he gets because he really is indistinguishable from a bag of shit.

Not knowing what to do with my outrage, I then composed this:

Just a Number

Two thousand five hundred – graves – lined up in straight rows…
but, “That’s just a number”, says Mr. Snow.

Two thousand five hundred – lives – have been thrown away,
but, “That’s just a number”, we all heard him say.

Two thousand five hundred – bodies – sent home in a box…
but, “That’s just a number” said the bastard from Fox!

Two thousand five hundred – names – we can scrawl on a wall,
but, “That’s just a number”, as if that were all!

Two thousand five hundred – lives – cut down in their prime,
but, “That’s just a number” what a helluva line!

Two thousand five hundred – times – how many more?
but, “That’s just a number” sneers the media whore!

Two thousand five hundred – dead – and many more maimed
bodies & minds broken, driven insane…

Two thousand five hundred – questions – are filling my mind,
brothers and sisters, are we deaf are we blind?

Two thousand five hundred – fistfuls – of blood-stained sand,
can you tell me why monsters are running our land?´

For, WE are the people – WE! – it is OUR land,
and we’re not just numbers, like dollars to spend!

Brothers and sisters – please! – let us join hands,
with all of our numbers we can take back our land!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fearing the Night

…I moan for the children in their innocence

Who are forced, too quickly, to experience

The burning sands of the desert and

The inhumanity of man to man...

But still I say: there will come a better day!

& these insanities will be washed away!

These concluding lines of a sonnette composed by an unknown poet from the Third Galaxy are dedicated as a sort of prayer for Mohammed Al Gharani. This boy was 14 years old when he received, without trial, a sentence of undetermined length to a maximum security prison for reasons no one knows, least of all himself or the lawyer who is trying to help him.

Last week, three men hung themselves in that very same prison. They had been held there, without charge, for over four years by the government of the United States of America. The un-admirable admiral who is the warden of that prison called their suicide “…warfare against the United States”. I ended yesterday’s post by quoting some brilliantly bitter satire from the keyboard of Jonathan Schwarz.

Today I post excerpts from a letter I wrote to Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve in response to his latest article on Common Dreams.

Dear Zachary,

I want to thank you…for writing about how the gov't keeps prisoners without writ or warrant or anything that even resembles due process…

As you may well know, June has been declared by several organizations as Torture Awareness Month, and of course the 26th of June has been a UN day for remembering survivors and victims of torture since 1987 (think I got the year right!)

.…something I have learned these past two weeks is that there is a grave misunderstanding in the public mind as to what constitutes torture -- usually given as a scale of various ways people can abuse other human beings. I think this misses the point entirely.

…my working definition at the moment: Mistreatment of people you have under your total control is torture. All other definitions such as "torture is permanent damage" or "organ failure" are utter and complete bullshit.

The key is when people are under your control. I remember when the Abu Ghrib finally surfaced in the mainstream media after bubbling on the internet for half a year. Then came the glib, in fact monstrous remarks that it wasn't much worse than "fraternity hazing" -- this is ridiculous! Prospective frat boys want to get in, so what's a cigarette burn or two between friends?. I haven't seen any polls, but I assume most prisoners would, if asked, like to get out, even if the mistreatment they received was "only" some euphemism as ”restriction of caloric intake".

Kind regards,

Chuck Cliff


p.s. Please, if possible [and if you can] let Mohammed Al Gharani know there are people in the world who wish him well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Torture Tortilla

Torture is like a bad tortilla. It looks okay, until you unwrap it and see all the crap, pain and wicked sickness inside.

I use a tortilla wrap here to describe the image in the public mind of what torture is, an illusion actually, which hides the sickness and inhumanity, the abusement of people hidden away in places known and unknown -- that which hides the reality of torture.

That torture is wrapped in a tortilla is what makes me able to reluctantly comprehend the appalling degree of acceptance of the use of torture by the American people.

Many other things are wrapped in tortillas. Perhaps this explains why so many people accept the most outrageous things as long as they are done in the name of Liberty, Freedom and Democracy.

Such wrapping doesn't happen by accident. The tortilla is generated in the public mind through spin, mis- and dis-information, psy-ops -- all working through main stream media with its passive if not active cooperation.

Maybe you think I’m laying it on a bit thick, but have you ever heard of VNRs? This acronym stands for Video Ready News, “news” programs produced by private and government agencies which promote an agenda for the company or government agent paying for the video’s production. The problem is that many (=most) stations, poorly staffed with reporters and strapped for funds, show these videos as actual news items. It is common knowledge how ordinary obnoxious advertising affects the world view of the public mind – how do you think our common vision of reality is perverted by adverts presented as real news?

Well maybe it doesn’t affect us at all. But how is it that I suddenly find myself trapped in a world where three people who have been held prisoner and exposed to torture for over four years kill themselves and a real US admiral says that their suicide was “…warfare waged against us”.

Pardon me, dear hearts, but I feel reality stripping gears and wonder if I’ve somehow been transferred to the Third Galaxy...

Sometimes the only defense against bullshit is snark, sarcasm and satire.

Jonathan Schwarz posted a shot on This Modern World that blew my boat out of the water so cleanly I feel no need to end today’s blog with a trifle from my unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy.

I quote: But this doesn’t exhaust the asymmetric tactics they’ve adopted. Reliable sources indicate our terrorist foes are also using these even more appalling methods to attack us:

1. Crying

2. Begging for Mercy

3. Getting Tuberculosis

4. Forcing Us To Torture Them

5. Not Being A Terrorist

6. Being Four Years Old

Monday, June 12, 2006

Taking Dictation

I continue to blog with the theme of June as Anti-Torture Month, but I need to pull some threads together which may at first seem off topic. Perhaps even when I’m done, they will still seem off topic – but hey, they don’t call me Crazy Bird for nothing!

First I want to recap a few points made in earlier posts:

  • Mistreatment of people you have under your complete control is torture. All other definitions of torture where you draw lines like “no organ failure” – all definitions of this sort are bullshit on a waffle.
  • Situations where people are incarcerated and cut off from the outside world will always attract goons who like to do a little free-lance torture now and then, but systemic torture occurs because of political will to use torture.
  • As information obtained through torture is notoriously unreliable, the primary reason for the political decision to use torture is obviously not made for gaining information. The political use of torture is basically to terrorize a population or a subset of a population by making people afraid, atomizing the social networks where opposition might arise.
  • Torture dehumanizes its victims. When the humanity of a single human being is injured or destroyed, something in the common humanity we all share is injured or destroyed.

In my post from June 6th we saw how Jamal Palooka was detained and learned that the reason his terrible ordeal was a glitch the MERDE computer systems.

I used to think that the unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy who relates such things to me was more than a little bit off the wall. But then I ran across this that Jesus General posted from the New Scientist telling that NSA is planning how to monitor the social networks of websites and I must say I am most amazed.

The NSA spooks who (illegally) fished through our telephone logs since 9/11 now want to trawl through all internet data (logs, posts, chats, links, etc.) compiling databases on our individual intimacies, quirks and quaints. Their noble purpose is to be able to “connect the dots” – that is if you have a connection with a “bad person”.

It’s a nightmare I had thirty-five years ago when I first lost my mind. It’s not that I think Mr. Bush would ever even dream of abusing the power this could give. But a later president just might! In fact, this is exactly the sort thing that allowed Ronald Rexona to become the Supreme Hole of Arrogance.

If I listed all the people I know, then all the people they know and so on, by the time I get to the sixth level, I can have a connection with anybody, the Queen of England or a master terrorists like Ahsawyah Been-Lately and Boo-Boo Wankerman. From there to being put on a watch list or getting a free vacation like poor Jamal Palooka is just a blip on a computer screen.

One of the problems with citified life is the loss of a public face and the atomization of personal interchanges which lead to rips in the social fabric. The internet is a great tool that could really help to bring the global village together. But now, we’re supposed to be afraid, hide our identity and become even more anonymous than before?

Fug them! Fug them and the boat they came in on!

Anyway, here is another sonnette from the same anonymous poet from the Third Galaxy. That is seems to refer to a song written by a man of the same name in our world can only be a coincidence. Odd, but a coincidence all the same.


Many years ago, Tom Paxton said:

“What will it take to change your mind,

Mr. Blue, a broken heart – a broken head?”

I give you prophecy of a similar kind:

We’ve had a draft-dodging veep, an AWOL chief

And an attorney general who’s a flaming creep!

But don’t you worry – just go back to sleep!

That’s not a boogey or a Tom that peeps

Outside your window – it’s the guy from TIPS,

Who’s checking to see if your email encrypts!

They’ll swear to God that all they want to do

Is make the world safe from people who say “Boo!”

& transform this land into a “Holy Nation”

Of boy scout salutes taking dictation...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Upon a Biblical Fate...

I’d be against torture even if it wasn’t Torture Awareness Month, even if I hadn’t signed up to the blog roll against torture and even if I hadn’t thought that it would make me famous overnight, well-liked and rich.

I assume that, except for some really strung out characters and free-lance sadists, that nobody thinks torture is, in itself, a good thing.

For people to accept torture, you have to bamboozle them with qualifiers. One is to use word that mean the same, but don’t sound so bad.

Another is to say/imply that some greater good will be achieved by using torture.

A third is to dehumanize the people who will be tortured – the corollary being that we are especially good, even perhaps chosen by God to realize some noble cause or destiny.

This is why, depending on which poll you read (I don’t), whether you trust them (ditto don’t) a lot of people, some of them Americans, approve the use of torture.

The ends justify the means, right? No, wrong!

The ends never justify the means. It is the means which justify the ends!

The way you go about trying to accomplish something, the means you use, determine the results you actually achieve.

I think this was put quite nicely by an unknown poet of the Third Galaxy who addresses the Supreme Hole of Arrogance in this sonnette,which could be applied to several leaders in our world who suffer from the delusion that God has appointed them to serve the causes of Liberty, Freedom and Democracy.

Upon a Biblical Fate

My considered guess is that he thinks that God

Has handed him, upon a silver platter,

A role to “save the world” and a rocket rod

That he alone, like Zeus, has the right to hurl...

And that he, somehow, supposedly fulfils

A prophecy in the Apocalypse?

And for that he needs most of all a will

As hard as steel, sharp -- and merciless!

He’s not afraid to break the egg or three

He needs to make an omelette, the taste

Of which is fired with the desire to be

The ruler of a Universal State!


The role which,

in the end,

he meets,

May not exactly be the one he seeks!

In the final analysis, my dear friends,

It is the means which justify the ends!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Disclaimer!

If the month is June, it is still Torture Awareness month, and June 26th will still be Torture Awareness DAY (actually, United Nation’s Day for Remembrance of Victims and Survivors of Torture).

If you want to see a blog more explicitly devoted to information about torture instead of my satire, sarcasm, snide and snark, you should visit Rummys Diaries.

Although Elendil comes up with what seems to be good documentations, we all know that no real American would approve of and that Mr. Bush and his handlers certainly would not condone, approve or wish for anyone to be tortured.

At least I’m sure they would not approve or condone if they themselves were the lucky participants in water boarding, sleep-, warmth-, sensory and/or caloric-deprivation. And that would certainly be true if they were one of those to hit the trifecta, and win a government paid vacation which includes a free plane ride to sunny lands such as Syria, Morocco, Egypt or even our Loyal Ally in the Long War Against Terror, Pakistan.

Imagine, winners of extraordinary rendition often get, without extra charge, special hotel suites in the form of underground, unlit cells which, despite what some irresponsible people have said, are somewhat larger than a coffin. True, there are visits by rats and people looking for a good time beating you with electrical cord – but hey, everybody needs company!

I’m a bit concerned that the casual reader of the small tales included in this series of posts might get the impression that they somehow refer to our world in general and the United States in particular – nothing could be further from the truth, therefore today’s post ends with:

A Disclaimer!

These stories, although somewhat adherent to the facts (such as they are) have virtually nothing to do with our own world. They refer to occurrences which may someday happen (or perhaps are happening even now!) in a universe parallel to our own.

The events described here were channeled to me by an unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy who refers to itself as Man-u-El Ishman. Although, it seems to be a rather likable fellow, as far as angels go, I’m not really all that convinced as to its reliability.

The reader would also make grave errors in inferring that events and characters delineated here are a parodies of people, places, states or events in our real world – nothing could be further from the truth! Such a thought is not only completely ridiculous – it is probably illegal, or soon will be.

In any case, I want to make it perfectly clear that it is not my intention in any way, shape or form to satirize, make fun of or ridicule any person, living or dead, in the real world (with the possible exceptions of Attila the Hun and Otto the Orkin Man).

My sole justification for presenting what is found in these few pages is, in some small way, to contribute to the prevention of such things ever happening in our world.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Holy Kubark

All three of us who read this blog regularly (I, me and myself) know by now that “Torture is Bad”.

It is bad, not because we say it is (although we do – torture is bad, torture is bad, torture is bad…). It is bad because the evil intent behind torture is to destroy to destroy the humanity in people.

When the humanity in one human being is destroyed, something is destroyed in the common humanity of all people.

I could give you quotes from Jesus and Mohammed – but I won’t.

If you call yourself a “Christian”, a “Muslim”, a “whatever”, and can’t see that what I’m saying is at the heart of the message given to all of us through all normative religious figures – well I don’t want to say things about hell fire, but you’re going to have some explaining to do on that Ultimate Day about exactly why you thought it fit to call yourself a “Christian”, a “Muslim” or a “whatever”.

I don’t know why I rant like that! We all know that Americans would never torture, that our gov’t would never and that our President would never condone torture or allow others to do it for us by proxy or by sending people on unmarked airplanes to Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and other vacation spots. In any case, the only times it has happened is when some damn nosy investigating reporter or smart ass blogger has dug down and documented that it has.

Reality is much worse in the Third Galaxy, where, according to my unemployed angel, this meeting took place…

Somewhere in the Mystical Grey Building

“So, these are the final designs?”

“Yes, the main difficulty has been in getting the Cubicles to function properly and at the same time to make efficient use of space – we don’t have the kind of room in a MIAOW that we have in a PIF.”

Dr. Churrin interrupted, “The biggest problem was the soundproofing combined with the machinery to adjust the size of the room containing the individual detainee.”

“Dr. Churrin is absolutely correct – soundproofing is critical to controlling a detainee’s aural sensory input. It’s crucial to attain complete control over sensory deprivation – if we can’t get that right we might as well go back to pulling toenails and electrifying gonads.”

“And that would be torture...”

“And torture is forbidden!”

“Unless, of course, the Supreme Hole says it’s in the National Interest, then it’s okay!”

“Or in the in the name of National Security!”


“All hail the Holy Kubark!”


The KUBARK mentioned here has no connection in any way, shape or form with the KUBARK of the CIA of the United States. What is being referred to is a handbook on the use sensory and sleep deprivation, heat, cold, regulation of caloric intake and “moderate” violence in the coercive interrogation of detainees. The usefulness of these methods is that detainees can be broken quicker and more reliably than with the bloody and invasive techniques usually associated with torture. True, this is more or less exactly what the CIA’s KUBARK is about – but still, we must insist that any supposed apparent connection with what happened in the Third Galaxy is completely coincidental!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Regarding Jamal Palooka

Torture is bad, it was bad yesterday, it is bad today and it will be bad tomorrow. Torture is bad if it is a punk dictator we support or the President of the United States at top of the food chain of responsibility.

Torture is bad because at heart of the American Dream is the vision that there are basic human rights – rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

With out human rights, in the end, there is no humanity left!

And now, we return to yet another scene from the Third Galaxy. After his release, he was able to tell something of his story to foreign papers. The following is an example of the sort of attention he received in the mainstream media of the Arrogant States:

"The whole point of the Mobile Torture Wagons is to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture - bruises heal after a week - but the other stuff stays with you." – Jamal Palooka

The above “quote” is a typical example of the kind of inflammatory hearsay and uncorroborated statements served up as if it were truth and certainty by irresponsible elements of the press outside the Arrogant States.

This quote is presented as fact and attributed to an individual supposedly released after two years confinement in a so-called “Mobile Torture Wagon”.

First of all, official records show that Mr. Palooka was “detained” for little more than two weeks. This claim of a two-year Detainment is as much a fantasy foster as the rest of the ridiculous allegations he has made to gullible persons associated with foreign “news-agencies” to which the title of “journalist” can hardly be applied in any meaningful way.

Secondly, there is absolutely no record anywhere that a “Mobile Torture Wagon” has ever existed let alone been used by the Armed Forces of the Arrogant States. How could they? Torture is abhorrent to the very ideals of Democracy, Liberty and Freedom upon which the Arrogant States are founded!

It is possible – though it must be through some gross misunderstanding – that this disgusting term refers to something else entirely: the Mobile Interrogation Aggregate On Wheels – also known as a MIAOW.

However, a MIAOW is not a “torture wagon”!

These vehicles were designed and built to facilitate interrogation in a mobile fashion in the often difficult environment of a newly declared War Zone.

Interrogation is not torture. Our MIAOW units were designed for the careful, scientific and, most important, humane gathering of important intelligence through a series of ongoing conversations with a few selected detainees.

Since these conversations are carried out by trained and highly qualified personnel, there can be no question of mistreatment or abuse of basic Human Rights.

On the other hand, although their rights are respected, we may well ask what kinds of people are detained and what is it that necessitates Extended Coercive Interrogation?

Interrogations are necessary and critical to the gathering of intelligence needed to be able to effectively fight and eventually win the War to Eliminate the Need for War Zones. Are we supposed to just sit back and wait for terrorists to send us a post card?

Some silly people have seized upon the undeniable fact that Requested Individuals are usually detained at night. There is nothing strange about this! We are not trying to hide anything which could not stand the light of day!

It is for the safety of the RIs that they are usually detained at night before being rendered to a MIAOW or a PIF (a Permanent Interrogation Facility). The fact is that everything humanly possible is done to ensure the safety and rights of each and every RI, before, during and after interrogation!

It we detained Requested Individuals during the day, or let them go home while Interrogation was in Progress, they would obviously be in clear and imminent danger of grave bodily harm or even death.

Think: if an RI is actually in possession of Valuable Information (and be sure, they may not even know it themselves!) if they know something, some little, but important brick in the puzzle which we need to unravel the skein of an ugly terror spider web and it was common knowledge, the ruthless henchmen of kingpins such as Been-Lately or Boo-Boo Wankerman would likely kill both them and their families.

Therefore it is best for all concerned, the guilty as well as the innocent, that they be constrained to a MIAOW or PIF until completion of interrogation proceedings. When they are finally released, there should be no problems. If they had any information, it is in our possession – and the terrorists know this.

The terrorists also know that the RI’s haven’t “squealed” or “ratted” on them. Our methods of interrogation, while humane and using nothing that even vaguely resembles real torture are both scientific and very effective.

We mentioned before the question of innocent and guilty and in this context, and now we must also ask: who is this Jamal Palooka?

This “Jamal” a rather strange fellow, a misfit who, some years ago, while in prison for a minor narcotics crime converted to Masherism and changed his given name from Joe to Jamal. Turning his back on the Great Potato, he embraced the muddled and plagiarist teachings of that false prophet, the so-called, “Mashed Potato”.

As freedom of religion is one of the corner stones of democracy in the Arrogant States, we do not, of course, hold that error against him...

But when we discuss the questions of guilty and innocent, we think it only fair that honest persons know the kind of person Mr. Palooka really is.

Shiftless, often unemployed, committed to the teachings of a strange sect which, although many Mashers are decent, law-abiding citizens, has produced many terrorists. In turn, terror and the threat of terrorism are what have necessitated the establishment of War Zones in places like Guanocow – where Mr. Palooka was living when brought in for interrogation as an RI.

One of the guiding principles of Arrogance is that one is “innocent until proven guilty”. God forbid we should ever relinquish or deny this or any of the other high ideals on which Democracy in based!

That said, these people who shout so loud and seem to be so concerned about the “rights” of Mr. Palooka, have they ever paused to take a moment to consider the nature of the charges and crimes of which Mr. Palooka has never been accused?

True, Mr. Palooka has never been formally accused of any wrong doing other than the minor narcotics crime mentioned before. On the other hand, just because he has been charged with or proven to be, does not mean Jamal Palooka is not, in fact, a hard-core pedophile!

The crimes we are not mentioning here are far worse, in fact, at the end of the day, the indisputable fact is that some crimes are so horrible and despicable that “unspeakable” is hardly a word one would care to use.

Therefore, although not actually charged with any crime, the crimes of which he could have been charged are so evil that not being charged with them is enough to leave a lasting and disgusting odor clinging to both his name and reputation.

Therefore, we can only conclude that his so-called “testimony” is unreliable and suspect as well as irrelevant.