You ought to be kept in a cage

I was watching an American Masters PBS special about Preston Sturges ( writer, director – 1898 – 1959) and was reminded about how far cinematography and acting have progressed, but I was also reminded how clever that generation of movie writers and directors was. I’m not the first one to make the observation that the American movies of the thirties and forties came from a literary tradition. Dialogue was paramount for the most part and the visuals followed. That tradition pretty much continued unbroken up through the seventies. Where movies after that placed their emphasis on the visual. That isn’t to say that stories were not told or that the dialogue didn’t push the story, only that the anticipation of the clever line, the emotional epiphany, the great revelation took back seat to the crash of the car or the spaceship explosion. I’m not of the school of thought that one is vastly superior to the other or that we have to choose which is the best. There is something to be said for the visceral sensational of watching the psychopathic bad guys chased off a cliff at a hundred miles an hour and going down in a ball of exploding flames. Its a matter of mood, sometimes you want to listen to Charlie Parker and sometimes Link’n Park. Speaking of cognitive dissonance, one of Sturges best films and one of my favorite’s was “The Lady Eve ” which presented a wealth of things to think about, among them is what we want to see and believe about people in contrast to the reality. James Harvey has an imaginative critique of The Lady Eve here, The Lady Eve – James Harvey

Stanwyck’s communication with camera and audience was peculiarly direct and unmediated. And yet just because of this she illustrates Norman Mailer’s insight into the star-personality perhaps better, more simply and clearly at least, than anyone: the sense the star gives us of having other things on his mind. Stanwyck always seemed very sensible, and rather sad. And in The Lady Eve, all her energy and activity—her flights of comic enthusiasm, her self-delighted feats of impersonation and deception—seem superimposed on an essential reserve, something final and deep held back. Her voice is both flat and eloquent, oddly both nasal and husky, and most at home perhaps in assured declarative statements. But its huskiness suggests not so much whiskey or disillusion or sexual provocation as it does the quite unsentimental sound of tears—which have been firmly and sensibly surmounted but somehow somewhere fully wept.

“Conservative”, what an odd name to call the modern cabal of extremist miscreants. Lying a nation into an unnecessary war in Iraq as it lets Afghanistan and a large portion of Pakistan fall back into the sway of the Taliban. These “conservatives” that turn their backs and have a little snicker as Bush scribbles little signing statements to over 200 pieces of legislation which effectively gives him unchecked king like powers. So what does a king need, these “conservatives” ask as they roll over on their backs and ask the king to scratch their weaselly little bellies; how about powers like the Soviet KGB had, the ability to place to the entire nation under surveillance unaccountable to anyone, GOP Leaders Back Bush on Wiretapping, Tribunals

With prodding from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 8 along party lines to approve a bill negotiated with the White House to allow — but not require — Bush to submit the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program to a secret court for constitutional review.

Frist and Hastert are conservatives in the same way that the politburo was conservative. They stand four-square for the power and privilege of the state over that of the individual. And the WaPo is doing its part to spread the doublethink of the administration by repeating its talking points,

At the same time, the House Armed Services Committee voted 52 to 8 to ratify the White House’s version of legislation creating military commissions for trying terrorism suspects. The measure would give Bush the authority he seeks to withhold classified evidence from defendants, admit testimony that defendants might maintain was coerced, and protect U.S. intelligence agents from legal action over their interrogation methods.

Intelligence agents are under no such legal shadow or at least when certain folks aren’t leaking the names of classified agents, their identities are a secret or its more like they’re afraid their dear leader maybe procecuted for war crime,

His profession of concern for military and intelligence personnel was utterly misleading.  Military personnel charged with war crimes have always been, and continue to be, prosecuted under the Universal Code of Military Justice rather than the War Crimes Act; and the likelihood of CIA interrogators being identified and prosecuted under the act is remote — they are protected by the secrecy that surrounds all CIA operations

War and Piece notes this news from Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV

“As one of the few members who have received the most detailed information to date, I can say that the Administration has not been able to document convincingly the benefits of the program,” Rockefeller said, adding, “I support all efforts to track down terrorists wherever they are – using all of our best technology and resources. But, it must be both effective and legal, and it must be conducted in a way that protects the rights of all Americans.”

“For the past six months, I have been requesting without success specific details about the program, including: how many terrorists have been identified; how many arrested; how many convicted; and how many terrorists have been deported or killed as a direct result of information obtained through the warrantless wiretapping program.

“I can assure you, not one person in Congress has the answers to these and many other fundamental questions,” Rockefeller stated emphatically.(emphasis mine)

Our government is secret, what they do is secret, how effective they are is secret. The Secret United States of America. The great thing about all these secrets is that the average citizen only gets glimpses of how badly they’re failing. One imagines that they’d throw a big black out tent over the entire country of Iraq if they could. Nearly 100 Killed In Baghdad Over 24 Brutal Hours

update: Raw acquires NSA wiretap talking points

The National Security Agency has taken the unusual move of sending members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee a list of “approved talking points” regarding its warrantless eavesdropping program, RAW STORY has learned.

Some of the talking points urge Senators to imply that they have personal knowledge of plots foiled by the wiretap program, or that the Senators–seven of whom responded by writing the NSA a letter blasting the move–had other personal knowledge that the program was legal or necessary.

“I have personally met the dedicated men and women of the NSA,” one point reads. “The country owes them an enormous debt of gratitude for their superb efforts to keep us all secure.”

There is more and a photocopy of the document at the link. I have no doubt that the emplotees of the NSA are dedicated, but that isn’t the point. And what the hell the intelligence operations of the Pentagon doing sending propaganda to Congress anyway. That would seem to cross the line as far as military encroachment on civilian and constitutional issues.

I don’t expect Google, Yahoo or any internet company to be pure as the driven snow, but why are they putting pure evil on the payroll.

Jean: We’d better get back now.
Charles: Yes, I guess so. You see, where I’ve been, I mean up the Amazon, you kind of forget how, I mean, when you haven’t seen a girl in a long time. (They stand together and remain close together.) I mean, there’s something about that perfume that…
Jean: Don’t you like my perfume?
Charles: Like it! I’m cock-eyed on it!
Jean: Why Hopsie! You ought to be kept in a cage!

from the screenplay The Lady Eve by Preston Sturges