Hypocrisy With An Extra Helping of Stupid

woman-scolding-childOh, the irony is just dripping off the pages here… the NYT has a harsh editorial lambasting the lunatics in Tehran for their conduct in the ongoing “errant hikers” affair. Agonizing over their 264 days in jail, the editorial highlights how:

The Americans were hiking in the Kurdish region of Iraq when they crossed into Iran accidentally, according to family members. Detained since late July, they were sent to the infamous Evin prison, where political prisoners are routinely incarcerated and often abused.

Really? They where “hiking”, huh? And “accidentally” crossed into Iran, huh? How do we know that they’re not enemy combatants? Why should the Iranians treat them any differently than the Americans continue to treat hundreds of prisoners in Bagram and Guantanamo?

The fact that Iranian officials cannot agree on charges against the hikers, or back them up, is a sure sign that something fishy is going on.

Really? Using the logic of the NYT, doesn’t that mean “something fishy” is going on when the United States holds dozens of people for going on a decade now, with no charges? Where’s the moral outcry in an editorial about the conduct of the current administration? Or the previous one, for that matter, since the strategy appears to be largely the same. Because rather than change this unconscionable policy from the Bush era (as he promised during his campaign for the job as leader of the “free” world), Sir Change-A-Lot and his justice department continues to fight tooth-and-nail to maintain the right to treat prisoners exactly the way Tehran is treating these so-called American “hikers.”

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out recently, the hyporisy just grows richer when we wag our big finger in Pakistan’s face and tell them that we’re upset about them doing the same thing and will cease giving them billions of dollars in military aid if they don’t stop doing things the way we do.

Really, now. Ahmedinedjad may be a complete whackjob surrounded by even whackier mullahs, and Pakistan clearly is a runaway ex-democracy headed over the cliff. But as long as they are merely following our own example when it comes to “prolonged detention” with no apparent cause, no right to representation, and a bit of random torture thrown in for good measure, then Obama and his fellow travelers in the “do as we say, not as we do” clown car really need to STFU.


First, They Came For The Photographs…

This kind of shit really bugs me. Having been the editor of a student paper in my time, I can imagine Thisdell’s dilemma in the face of some over-zealous prosecutor and her goons. Too bad Thisdell didn’t stand firm — it appears she had the law on her side and could have insisted on time to acquire proper legal counsel before agreeing to letting the search warrant be served.

Of course, in this day and age of waterboarding, illegal wiretapping, and impunity for any and all who are involved in it, it should come as no surprise really that the message being heard further down the judicial food chain is: “I can do anything I want, who’s going to stop me?” And so, increasingly, the police will taser anyone who clears their throat (check out this little doozie from my neck of the woods: a guy got tasered for “shouting in public” — yeah, there’s a real menace to society, let’s zap the fucker), while prosecutors will push for extreme measures to be taken.

Yes, Because R.J. Reynolds Peddles Slow Death for Profit

smoking-kidLong piece from CNN about the latest farce in the “no, we only fight those other bad drugs” saga. R J. Reynolds — the friendly people who have brought the joys of cancer to so many people for so many years with impunity and the explicit blessing of their friends in Congress — have realized that it is time to shake things up. With Joe Camel forcibly retired and the look of a cigarette dangling from your lips about as attractive and socially desirable as genital warts, they’ve decided to go with a sure winner: candy. Mmm, nicotine in your breath mints. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, first of all, CNN goes into much detail about a study from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the Harvard School of Public Health that shows the inherent risk to kids from the ingestion of these little nuggets of addiction. A spokeshack from R.J. Reynolds is then given the opportunity to strike a pose of mock indignation and claim that, gosh, they’ve done everything they could to prevent kids from getting their hands on this stuff, so really, it’s all the parent’s fault if it happens.

But thankfully, CNN isn’t fooled this time, and they go on to state that:

While accidental infant poisonings are certainly cause for concern, purposeful ingestion of smokeless tobacco products by kids and teens may be a larger problem, [assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School] Winickoff points out. As the study notes, the use of smokeless tobacco products among adolescents increased 6 percent per year from 2002 to 2006.

Well, by jove, methinks they may inadvertently have stumbled on something here. Could it be that R.J. Reynolds are first and foremost concerned with getting a new generation of tweens hooked on a “cool” nicotine vehicle? After all, if their existing customers are dying more rapidly than most precisely because they’re smokers, then R.J. Reynolds and friends have all the more reason to fill the pipeline at the other end. Doesn’t take a lot of imagination on the part of a scrupulous marketing hack in North Carolina to realize that the best way to get kids is with candy. Works for pedophiles, it’ll probably work for drug peddlers, too. Birds of a feather… So, yes, it’s pretty bad when a four-year-old accidentally eats a bag of Joe Camel jelly beans, but it’s not really a whole lot better when his teenage brother decides that those jelly beans aren’t really like smoking, and they’re awfully cool and surely not made for adults because, hey, it’s candy… Congratulations, R.J. Reynolds, you’ve got yourself a real winner here. Too bad the nicotine is still addictive and lethal — but, then, that’s your core business model, isn’t it?

Of course, if the same hypocrites (cough, Obama, cough) who laugh at the thought of reforming our current counter-productive and failed “war on drugs” really cared about, you know, drugs, then they’d put R.J. Reynolds on the same list as the Cali Cartel and Pablo Escobar. But since R.J. Reynolds has lobbyists and pretty much owns the congressional delegations from the South, a move to outlaw tobacco would require the kind of courage that’s sorely lacking among Democrats.