Cheney: How The Grinch Stole Festivus!

• “I’m not talking about the actual country. I’m talking about the idea of America. The idea of America would never torture.” —Stephen Colbert

20 key findings about CIA interrogations from the Senate Intelligence Committee's report released December 2014 (NY TImes):
1 (torture) “not an effective means of acquiring intelligence”
2 “rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness”
3 “brutal and far worse than the CIA represented”
4 “conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher
5 “repeatedly provided inaccurate information”
6 “actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight”
7 “impeded effective White House oversight”
8 “complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions”
9 “impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General”
10 “coordinated the release of classified information to the media”
11 “unprepared as it began operating”
12 “deeply flawed throughout the program's duration”
13 “overwhelmingly outsourced operations”
14 “coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved”
15 “did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained”
16 “failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness
17 “rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable
18 “ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections”
19 “inherently unsustainable
20 “damaged the United States' standing in the world”
source: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/cia-interrogation-report/key-findings/

• Watch video below: “Dick Cheney's Mind Is 'The Scariest F--king Place In The Universe,' Says Jon Stewart” (after short ad)

• “(The CIA Torture Report confirms that) the CIA's actions a decade ago are a stain on our values and on our history.” —Senator Dianne Feinstein

• ”We didn't treat the Nazis like this. We didn't' treat the Vietcong like this. This is something that is without precedent in American history." —CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin

• “The Torture Convention (effective 1987) prohibits the United States from deporting an individual to a country where there is a reasonable expectation that he will be subjected to torture — physical, mental or otherwise. —Jonathan Shapiro

• “The purpose of torture is not getting information. It's spreading fear.” —Eduardo Galeano

• “There is still much debate about whether torture has been effective in eliciting information - the assumption being, apparently, that if it is effective, then it may be justified.” —Noam Chomsky

• “Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management. —Late Senator Edward Kennedy

• Watch below: Former President George W. Bush interviewed by Matt Lauer: Bush: "Look, first, we used the technique on three people. captured a lot of people and used it on three. we gained valuable information to protect the country, and it was the right thing to do, as far as i'm concerned."

• “One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture.” —Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

• “We are America; we don't torture. And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train.” — Fox News anchor Shepard Smith

• "We tortured some folks…We did some things that were contrary to our values." —Barack Obama

• “Torture didn’t just happen, after all – contrary to the president’s recent statement, “we” didn’t torture some folks. Real actual people engaged in torture. Some of these people are still employed by the U.S. government … It is bad enough not to prosecute these officials – but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the U.S. government to protect them is incomprehensible. The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA.” —Outgoing Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), Senate Intelligence Committee

• Watch below: Former VP Dick Cheney: "I have no problem (with torture) as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and to avoid another attack against the United States. I was prepared and we did, we got the authorization from the president and authorization from the justice department to go forward with the program. it worked. It worked now for 13 years. We've avoided another mass casualty attack against the United States ... I'd do it again in a minute".

• Watch below: Former POW, Senator John McCain speaks out against torture:

• Watch below: Senator Dianne Feinstein discusses release of the CIA Torture Report:

•” When you send the signal, as the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime that ought to be punished, it's just a policy dispute that you argue about on Sunday shows, of course it emboldens torturers like Dick Cheney to go around and say, 'What I did was absolutely right.’” —Glenn Greenwald 

Rosa Parks Can't Breathe

• On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York after a police officer put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by NYPD. Garner was initially approached by officer Justin Damico on suspicion of selling "loosies", single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. While lying facedown on the sidewalk surrounded by four officers, Garner is heard repeating "I can't breathe" 11 times. Garner was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital. —wikipedia

• “The coroner ruled Garner’s death a homicide. He suffered from asthma, and Pantaleo’s chokehold killed him.” —Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

• “Garner’s death is part of a … trend: The ‘broken windows’ theory of policing, which holds that cracking down on minor, nuisance offenses — such as selling loose cigarettes — is key to reducing serious crime.'"—Eugene Robinson

 President Obama in Rosa Parks' seat on the historic Cleveland bus

President Obama in Rosa Parks' seat on the historic Cleveland bus

• President Obama has refrained from direct comments about the merits of the Eric Garner and Micheal Brown (Ferguson) legal cases, but endorses Attorney General Eric Holder's civil rights investigation into Garner's death. 

• "I'm being pretty explicit about my concern ... about the fact that this is a systemic problem … I’ll leave it for people to speculate on what I’m saying to myself or Michelle when we’re alone at night.” —President Obama, 12.8.14

• Watch 60-second video below: George W. Bush, Joe Scarborough and Charles Krautheimer agree the Garner tape is persuasive:

• “Only 1 in 20 white (police) officers believe that blacks and other minorities receive unequal treatment from the police. But 57 percent of black officers are convinced the treatment of minorities is unfair.” —David Brooks, New York Times

• Below: CBS News poll Dec. 2014: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-brown-and-eric-garner-the-police-use-of-force-and-race/

• In the absence of official statistics, it is estimated there are as many as 1,000 police killings in the U.S. each year — compared to no fatal police shootings in Great Britain last year and only eight in Germany over the last two years. Canada, with its own frontier ethos and no great aversion to firearms, averages only a dozen police shootings a year. —Eugene Robinson (paraphrased)

Calvin, Hobbes & Mitch McConnell

     Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  Senate Majority Leader  as of January 2015     Washington Post 11.4.14

    Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Senate Majority Leader as of January 2015     Washington Post 11.4.14

 Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

• "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."  —H.L. Mencken

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

• “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” —George Carlin

• “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” —wall poster by Despair, inc. 

 Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

• “Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?” —Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Watterson

• “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.” —Albert Camus

Scary-As-Hell Creatures

 Above: “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park” (1962) by Diane Arbus. In 2005 an original print of the photograph sold for $408,000.

Above: “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park” (1962) by Diane Arbus. In 2005 an original print of the photograph sold for $408,000.

 www.marcjohns.com/

www.marcjohns.com/

 Source: TheFunnyPlace.net

Source: TheFunnyPlace.net

• Below: For Trick or Treaters who fail to wear an actual costume, are over 16, or fail to say "Thank you" or "No problem."

 Source: unknown from tumblr

Source: unknown from tumblr

  Atlantic.com photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder

Atlantic.com photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder

Churchill's Scathing Sense of Humor

 fizzdom.com winston churchill england british stafford cripps virtues vices sense of humor

Quotes by Sir Winston “Winnie” Leonard Spencer-Churchill (11.30.1874 - 1.24.1965)
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1940-45, 1951-55

 source: notable-quotes.com

source: notable-quotes.com

"He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened." (re: Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin)

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”

"He has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought." (re: Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald)

“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

"If you wanted nothing done, Arthur Balfour was the best man for the task. There was no equal to him." (re: Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Balfour)

 With wife, Clementine

With wife, Clementine

“My wife and I tried two or three times in the last 40 years to have breakfast together, but it was so disagreeable we had to stop.”

"In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable." (re: Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery)

 Winston and wife Clementine (left), Lawrence of Arabia (3rd from left)

Winston and wife Clementine (left), Lawrence of Arabia (3rd from left)

"An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street and when the door was opened Attlee got out." (re: Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee)

“A joke is a very serious thing.”

High Price of Free Speech

 Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

• The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a student protest at UC Berkeley in 1964-65 resisting the ban against on-campus political activities and other archaic restrictions of the repressed post-WW2 era. FSM leaders included Mario Savio, Michael Rossman, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg —Wikipedia

• The FSM, an outgrowth of civil rights and anti-war activism, marked a revolutionary national shift from paternalistic oversight by college administrators to the current era allowing on-campus political activities, free speech and academic freedom. —Wikipedia

  Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

 Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

• Below: Major tipping point 10.1.64: Jack Weinberg's arrest for on-campus political activism: manning a table to raise funds for the Congress of Racial Equality. 

“The car was held hostage for 32 hours. With Jack inside, the police car became the platform for a continual rally. Art Goldberg and his sister Jackie, both experienced student activists, were the leaders of the United Front (campus activist coalition), but from the top of the car new people emerged who captured the loyalty of the crowd. Mario Savio, a junior who had transferred from Queens, New York the year before, was soon recognized as the most charismatic speaker.” —Jo Freeman, JoFreeman.com

  Jack Weinberg  under arrest. Photo:  Occident,  thx Curtis Mekemson

Jack Weinberg under arrest. Photo: Occident, thx Curtis Mekemson

• "We have a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anybody over 30." —Jack Weinberg (1965 interview with San Francisco Chronicle reporter; many others co-opted the phrase). 

• Below: Mario Savio (12.8.42 - 11.6.96), iconic leader of the FSM, most famous for his revolutionary speech (excerpted here, two months after his speech atop the police car) at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza 12.2.64.

A 1999 report revealed that Savio was followed and investigated by the FBI for more than a decade “because he had emerged as a prominent leader,” although there was not evidence he was a real threat. The FBI justified their pursuit “because they thought he could inspire students to rebel.” (SF Chronicle)

• Below: Overview of the FSM from the doc, "Berkeley in the Sixties"

• "The rights you enjoy on this (Berkeley) campus did not come easily. They had to be won by unrelenting agitation, by disturbing the peace, and much of the credit belongs to a generation of UC students often denigrated for their excesses." —Leon Litwick, activist, UCB professor emeritus of American history and Pulitzer Prize winner, who quit his campus library job in 1965 to protest the UC system's loyalty oath. 

 The  five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment  to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

The five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

• "You (President Obama) recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in. —Joint letter to President Obama from most major professional journalism associations, 7.8.14

• Example: "US Military Banned From Reading (Pulitizer-winning journalist) Glenn Greenwald's New Website" https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ — David Gilbert, International Business Times, 8.21.14

• “When the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” —Thomas Jefferson

 Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

• “No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 1941) 

• “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” ―Oscar Wilde (paraphrasing Voltaire)

Speaking of the high price of free speech on campus:

• “Thanks to intense bank lobbying, student loans are uniquely punitive. Most can’t be refinanced, which means that people who borrowed at 8 percent in the 1990s are still paying 8 percent (when banks are paying almost zero). Unlike other loans, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, and a borrower’s salary, Social Security and even disability checks can be garnished.” _Barbara Gerson, SF Chronicle

  Wall Street Journal  Graphic

Wall Street Journal Graphic


Blacks Talking Funny Like Whites

 Above: Samples from hilarious  Buzzfeed video below

Above: Samples from hilarious Buzzfeed video below

• A different language is a different vision of life. —Federico Fellini

 Above:  2010 Census : Blacks as Percent of Population

Above: 2010 Census: Blacks as Percent of Population

• “Yeah, I love being famous. It's almost like being white, y'know?” ―Chris Rock

  1860   C  ensus of Slaves . source: retronaut.com    Slaves outnumbered "frees" in some states and comprised a third of the South's population.

1860 Census of Slaves. source: retronaut.com   
Slaves outnumbered "frees" in some states and comprised a third of the South's population.

• “Race is there. You're tired of hearing about it? Imagine how fucking exhausting it is living it.”
― Jon Stewart

 Above: Growth of Hispanics (purple) outpaces  Blacks (red)  and all others.  Whites (blues) decline .

Above: Growth of Hispanics (purple) outpaces Blacks (red) and all others. Whites (blues) decline.

• “Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” ―Tiger Woods

• “A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.” ―Barack Obama

 Above: Increased  polarization  over three decades

Above: Increased polarization over three decades

• "Words are my language." —Patty Warren

Jon Stewart Explains War on ISIS

 Islamic State in Iraq Syria ( ISIS ) = Islamic State in Levant ( ISIL )

Below: Enjoy Jon Stewart's dark humor about the dilemma:

Below: Jon Stewart remarks about ISIS as the most feared terrorists in the world:

Below: Michael Scheuer, Former CIA Intelligence Officer, Chief of the bin Laden Issue Station: ISIS wants to lure us in. 

Below Michael Sheurer explains why Americans and Brits are joining the fight with ISIS.

• “The Islamic State (IS) … formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) … or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) … is a Sunni jihadist group in the Middle East ... (that) claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control” —wikipedia

• Under its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (b. 1971), ISIS has grown significantly … we've seen figures on the low side of 8,000, on the high side over 50,000. Go figure, they're a loose group. 

• "By the start of this summer (2014) there were as many as 12,000 foreign fighters, from more than 70 countries, fighting for ISIS." —I.C.S.R., King’s College London/NYer

• “al-Baghdadi was held at Camp Bucca as a 'civilian internee' by US Forces-Iraq from February until December 2004, when he was recommended for an 'unconditional release' by a Combined Review and Release Board. A number of newspapers, in contrast, have stated that al-Baghdadi was interned from 2005 to 2009. These reports originated in an interview of Army Col. Kenneth King, the former commander of Camp Bucca, and are not substantiated by US Department of Defense records.” —wikipedia

• “German Chancellor Merkel said Germany would arm the Kurds — a semi-independent ethnic group in northern Iraq – fighting ISIS militants. This is what you could call a big deal: Germany hasn’t gotten involved like this in an ongoing conflict since WWII.” —theSkimm.com 

British PM David Cameron after the UK raised its terror threat level to severe for the first time since January 2010: “ISIL is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before.”

• “ISIS poses a threat well beyond the region. With a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations, the cancer of ISIS will not be allowed to spread to other countries.” —Secretary of State John Kerry 

 BBC map June 2014

BBC map June 2014

•  “Saudi King warns ISIS will reach U.S. in 2 months.” —Fox News 9.2.14
• “There are new fears that (ISIS) could aim at ‘soft targets’ within the U.S.” —Fox News 9.2.14

“The only clear lesson from all of this is that no matter the propagandistic script used, U.S. military action in that region virtually never fulfills the stated goals (nor is it intended to do so), and achieves little other than justifying endless military action for its own sake … Does anyone really believe that ‘limited’ bombing of Syria and Iraq in a rage against ISIS will result in anything other than more justifications for military action in that region?” —Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

• Below: Watch the Marx Brothers rally for war (worth a minute or two):

Celebrating Labor - Out Our Window

 All photos taken from inside Fizzdom's San Francisco studio 

All photos taken from inside Fizzdom's San Francisco studio 

• “If all the cars in the U.S. were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.” —Doug Larson

• “If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.” —Abraham Lincoln 

  Film crew  sets up a chase scene around our block.

Film crew sets up a chase scene around our block.

• “I think organized labor is a necessary part of democracy. Organized labor is the only way to have fair distribution of wealth.” —Dolores Huerta

• “Of all the American educational system's problems, none is more severe than the academic year beginning before Labor Day.” —P. J. O'Rourke

  Emergency responders  deal with a grounded cabin cruiser on SF's Ocean Beach highjacked by drunk man celebrating his 35th birthday. He travelled over 20 miles through the Bay and the Golden Gate before calling it a night. 

Emergency responders deal with a grounded cabin cruiser on SF's Ocean Beach highjacked by drunk man celebrating his 35th birthday. He travelled over 20 miles through the Bay and the Golden Gate before calling it a night. 

• “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” —Ovid  

 Source: The Century Foundation tcf.org

Source: The Century Foundation tcf.org

The Maniacal Mind of Richard Nixon

More Nixon:

• "You don't know how to lie. If you can't lie, you'll never go anywhere." — Nixon's advice to a political associate

• "I'm not going to be the first American president to lose a war." — Nixon in October 1969, six years before the Vietnam War finally ended

• "The only place where you and I disagree is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about civilians and I don't give a damn. I don't care." — to Henry Kissinger — quoted in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg

• "I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry and he has his hand on the nuclear button." — quoted in The Ends of Power by Robert Haldeman

• "I don't give a shit what happens. I want you all to stonewall—plead the Fifth Amendment, cover-up, or anything else. If that will save it, save the plan." — Watergate cover-up

• Below: Stephen Colbert looks back at the ups and downs of the Nixon presidency. Gives Nixon credit for notable accomplishments. Worth 4 minutes.

Yet More Nixon:

• "Reagan is not one that wears well ... on a personal basis, is terrible ...  isn't pleasant to be around ... strange." — in 1972

• "The Irish can't drink ... they get mean." — to Chuck Colson

• "The Italians, of course, those people course don't have their heads screwed on tight." — to Chuck Colson

 August 9, 1974

August 9, 1974

Still more Nixon: 

• "Well, did you do any fornicating this weekend?" — to David Frost before a 1977 interview

• "I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue." — Nixon reflecting on the Watergate scandal in 1978

• "Voters quickly forget what a man says." — Nixon

flag pin for label.jpg

• "The tradition only goes back about 40 years, when Richard Nixon started wearing a flag lapel pin regularly ... got the idea from Bob Haldeman — who picked it up from Robert Redford’s 1972 film, “The Candidate.” — Stephen Ambrose per Washington Post

"The Justice Department has agreed to pay $18 million to the estate of former President Richard M. Nixon in compensation for presidential papers, photographs and tape recordings that were seized after Mr. Nixon's resignation in 1974." — New York Times, June 2000

• From USA Today: Corrections & Clarifications:
"A story Feb. 21, 2005 wrongly attributed a quote to Richard Nixon as saying Hunter S. Thompson was that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character. It was Thompson who made the remark about Nixon."

(additional sources: hbo, about.com, wikiquote.org, brainyquotes.com)