Thursday, February 22, 2007

Other Subjects, pt. 1

Besides being a painter and a degenerate gambler, I'm also an unrepentant lefty and a jazz musician (I have a thing for Samurai movies, too, but I'll save that for another post). A few people have asked when politics and music are going to creep into the blog. Today is the day for the former.

When you're on the left, there are certain things that you get a little numb towards because of their ceaseless repetition, including (but not limited to): Legislation written by corporate interests and introduced by senators who are on the campaign-finance payroll (the bankruptcy bill is among my favorites), or massive tax cuts for billionaires and corporations, or trade agreements that crush domestic labor in favor of Asian or Latin-American underage sweatshop labor, or the way the major media barely covers these things.

But there are certain things that you can never get your mind all the way around, like the fact that we run torture chambers.

Tonight HBO is airing a new documentary on Abu Ghraib, and I hope a lot of folks see it. I'm always glad when things like this are addressed by a network that's associated with entertainment, because people are much more likely to watch it on HBO than on Frontline or CSpan.

Images move mountains. Lyndon Johnson, whose prowess as a politician is unrivaled, was no match for the images that started oozing out of Vietnam. I know we've all seen the Abu Ghraib pictures a million times, but now is a good time to take another look.

Yes, the Bush administration has effectively ended, but now we have to deal with the hangover. And among the many symptoms (the Iraq war comes to mind) is the fact that we're left with a law that legalizes torture. Many people say the law won't stand up to judicial scrutiny, including some members of congress who voted yes in order to appear tough-on-terror so they would be re-elected last fall. But that's a pretty flimsy consolation.

Congress needs to wipe this law off the books, but the new Democratic majority in the senate is having a difficult enough time approving a non-binding resolution on Iraq. I won't hold my breath, except of course if I find myself on a waterboard.