9 years ago: No apologies

June 3, 2004, on this blog: No apologies

The pictures from Abu Ghraib — and the revelation that this goes far, far beyond the actions of a few “bad apples” or “morons” — has forced every American to react in one of two ways. We are either made to feel ashamed of our country, or else we are forced to rationalize away that shame by reassuring ourselves that we can condone torture and still be good people, and that anyway Saddam was worse.

Somebody owes us an apology for that.

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  • Eric the Red

    So Fred, champion of internet justice that you are, will you have harsh words for the Obama administration in the near future? Surely you’re not a hyperpartisan hack who would ignore opression when it comes down from people you like?

  • Jurgan

    It’s weird, reflecting, how “apologies” has become a bad word. We’ve been hearing for years about Obama “apologizing for America.” This has led many to use an odd two pronged defense that a) it isn’t true; he hasn’t apologized for America, and b) there are probably some things he should apologize for. I’m really not sure why, according to many (such as Mitt Romney), apologizing is now supposedly the worst thing a president could ever do.

  • Jurgan

    Obama has already said the targeting is an outrage and should be investigated as fully as possible. What more do you want? I mean this as a genuine question- what do you want Obama to do, and what do you want Fred to say?

  • aunursa

    Yes, the president is shocked, shocked to find that political corruption is going on in a federal agency!

  • Jurgan

    Cute. To reiterate: What do you want him to do?

  • JustoneK

    Do you ever read what’s in here?

  • mattmcirvin

    Indeed, using partisan-biased search terms when ferreting out possibly illegitimate requests for tax-exempt nonprofit status is exactly the liberal equivalent of torturing prisoners of war.

  • Because MURICA– *Chest thumps* AM GOOD.

  • Random_Lurker

    Anything Obama has ever done is now supposedly the worst thing a president could ever do.

  • Charity Brighton


  • For the folks not following the link in his post, Eric is complaining about the IRS issue wherein auditors sent letters asking for information, and put explicitly anti-tax groups under higher scrutiny for tax-exempt status.

    That’s right: mailing letters with unenforceable requests for donor information is just as outrageous as physically torturing human beings! Also, being forced to pay takes is just like rape.

  • Yes, and you were at the forefront of wanting to investigate the many malfeasances of the Bush administration, weren’t you, aunursa?

    See, this is where most Republicans get confused. They think most Democrats are like them. They think all we care about is sides — like it’s sports or something. The idea that someone might choose a side because of reasons rather than choose reasons because of a side doesn’t seem to make much sense to most of them.

  • The head of the IRS has resigned.

  • And they sent those things to left-wing groups as well. And it was caught right away.

    Government is run by human beings, and human beings make mistakes. Disaster! If we cannot control everything at all times, we must buy more guns, that’ll give us complete control of our lives, right?

  • People who are righteous and loved by God never need to apologize except possibly to him.

    I’m serious, I think that’s it.

  • John (not McCain)

    Fuck you and smelly meth whore who gave birth to you.

  • Donalbain

    Stop usurping the rightful position of a white Republican.

  • Charity Brighton

    I think they wanted President Obama’s head, not some bureaucrat that no one knows. Isn’t that the whole purpose of Congressional oversight nowadays? Either to blacken the eye of political rivals or… or that’s about it, actually. When was the last time Congress used the outcome of these hearings to actually enact some kind of reform of the executive branch?

    Even before the Tea Party, it was pretty much hearings and manufactured scandals. It gets to the point where even genuine complaints like the IRS thing all sound like “BENGHAAZI!!!!! BENGHAAAAAAAZZZZZZZIIII!!!” to me.

    (Seriously, the reaction to “Obama bowed to Saudi Prince” is just as hysterically angry and paranoid as the reaction should be to, “Obama burns dog alive”).

  • SisterCoyote

    Man, who gives a fuck about the IRSgate? (Have they tacked a ‘gate’ onto that one yet? I’m just gonna go ahead and bet they have.)

    Why aren’t we in uproar about the drone killings? About the fact that he’s pretty obviously gone to the other side of Gitmo – about the forced feedings? About the silencing and prosecution of the press? About the lack of transparency? About the treatment of Bradley Manning? About the FBI shooting an unarmed man? About the continued wiretapping? About the fact that he’s taken Bush’s policies and run them halfway down the field?

    I am incensed that I appear to be agreeing with Ragnar up there, but facts are facts. Obama isn’t holding up to his promises, and I’m getting pretty sick and tired of people defending that. I’m not trying to call Fred out, and yes, I know full well Romney would almost certainly have been as bad or worse. But this shit has got to stop, and as long as we’re all pointing at the Republicans and ignoring it, I don’t see that happening.

  • *Checks* Yup. They have indeed declared it IRSgate.

  • SisterCoyote

    …of course they have. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here, weeping quietly.

  • Medaka444

    Some people believe that it’s okay for good people to do terrible things because they’re good people. I’m fairly certain they don’t understand cause and effect.

  • Can Disqus apologize for now being more screwed up than ever?

  • Also TBH what the everloving seafaring FUCK is up with the Obama administration going after reporters like it was duck season in Looney Tunes?

  • Nesting levels Y U GET ALL FUCKED UP LIKE THIS.

    Srsly, there are now comment threads that scroll off to the right of the goddamn page so far you can’t SEE THE TEXT ANYMORE.

    What do we need to do to get Disqus to set a flat comment format again? Because I’m onboard with sacrificing a brand-new Asus GTX 680.

  • Lori

    I sent feedback about it. I have no idea if that does any good, although I doubt it. Disqus seems mainly focused on patting itself on the back and basking in the praise of a small community of sycophants (who in the world are those people?). It makes me feel better though, so every time Disqus does some new stupid thing to me I share the joy with them.

  • Lori

    My father claims in all seriousness to “never have seen anything like this” in his life. He’s 85. That means that he’s seen a lot of things, among them the Great Depression, WWII, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Watergate and Iran Contra. The only thing he’s seeing now that he never saw before is a black guy in the White House through the lens of Fox News.

  • Lori

    Bowing to a Saudi Prince is bad, but holding hands with one* is no problem because reasons that’s why.

    *Bush did that and everyone was told that saying anything about it was rude and homophobic. Which some of the comments were, but some were not.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    There really isn’t anything he CAN do that won’t piss them off.

  • Charity Brighton

    Disqus has sycophants?

    I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a sycophant for an online discussion program but then my eyes started bleeding and I had to stop.

  • Charity Brighton

    It’s been trending this way for a while ever since Wikileaks. There’s probably an ‘official’ administration excuse though but press freedom in this country is definitely weaker than any time it has been since the last declared war.

    Oh, and you may never get to read this reply.

  • Charity Brighton

    This is in reply to Invisible Neutrino’s comment at the bottom of the nesting chain thing:

    Also TBH what the everloving
    seafaring FUCK is up with the Obama administration going after reporters
    like it was duck season in Looney Tunes?

    It’s been trending this way for a while ever since Wikileaks. There’s
    probably an ‘official’ administration excuse though but press freedom
    in this country is definitely weaker than any time it has been since the
    last declared war.

    I think we might have to Mardoll this and just not use the reply feature extensively any more.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which has its advantages to the people who read on the website. I am typing this reply into Gmail because I read and comment by emailed comment notifications. I have to while I’m at work, because work won’t load Disqus but will load Gmail, and it’s easier to stick with one method than to participate via website at home–and, hey, emailed notifications let me have chronological flat view.

    You notice I don’t participate at Mardoll. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s that while at work I can’t, and I hate getting involved in a discussion that I can’t stay involved in.

    Maybe I’m the only one. In that case, if the community wants to go to never replying to comments and always replying to the post itself, go for it. My preferences shouldn’t dictate the community’s behavior. But I don’t think I’m the only one, and I’d appreciate it if our preferences were taken into account.

    Of course if Disqus were less of a shitface none of this would be a problem.

  • Barely. At least I have them cc’ed to my email. :

    EDIT: And if the Obama Admin is that scared about what Wikileaks can do to them, they must have some major shit going down or are doing some serious rearguard ass-covering for Dubya Bush.

  • If you could VNC into your home computer and operate it remotely, you could do the flat thing with Disqus. That said, software like that is probably against corporate policy.

    Trick: VNC operates a Java-based remote control mechanism. That means all you technically need is a web browser to remotely do stuff to your home machine. Yes, it’s a security risk, but you can set all kinds of passwords, and the server software itself can be set to only run when you run it, and once you close it out, that’s it.

    I know I tried pioneering a voluntary flat-format thing a few weeks back, but it didn’t really settle in well. :

  • Copypasta of my reply above:

    Barely. At least I have them cc’ed to my email. :

    EDIT: And if the Obama Admin is that scared about what Wikileaks can
    do to them, they must have some major shit going down or are doing some
    serious rearguard ass-covering for Dubya Bush.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Corporate policy, hell, it’s probably blocked by tech support.

  • Test it. Try telnetting to an IRC server, which runs on port 6667 usually.

    irc.choopa.net port 6667 should respond with this:

    NOTICE AUTH :*** Processing connection to irc.choopa.net
    NOTICE AUTH :*** Looking up your hostname…
    NOTICE AUTH :*** Checking Ident
    NOTICE AUTH :*** Found your hostname

    If it doesn’t, then outbound ports besides 80 and 443 are blocked.

  • Foelhe

    Good job. You passed the test.

  • AnonaMiss

    Eh, Disqus has been pretty responsive about problems I’ve complained about actually. They’ve gotten the Oldest First bug sorted, as well as the Pointers To Null.

    I think their coders just aren’t the type to have long, involved discussions, and their QA lacks the power to stop new features being shoved through/may not even exist.

  • Yes. To both.

  • Yes. To both. (And they’re really afraid of any leaks or whistle-blowing they haven’t authorized. Micromanagement sux.)

  • FearlessSon

    I complained about having to create a Disqus account when previously my Twitter account would suffice. They said it was something about “enhancing features” or some such. I told them that the whole reason I signed in with my Twitter account was to avoid having to make a Disqus account because frankly I do not want to be that involved with Disqus.

    They told me that they would pass on my feedback.

    In any case, I made a Disqus account so I can post again, and now I am receiving unasked for Disqus updates in my email inbox. *Sigh*

  • MaryKaye

    I think there is a real possibility that by constantly hounding Obama as a bad President, the Right has contributed to making him a worse President. It is more difficult to do the right thing when you are surrounded by people who are blatantly adversarial, unfair, and malicious. It’s easy to slide into paranoia and defensive wrong-doing, and I think that Obama has. Which is not meant to excuse his wrongdoings, only to suggest that we REALLY need to remove the aggressive wreck-the-government types from public office, as they do collateral damage as well as the obvious direct damage.

  • Oh thank God. They reinstated the old nesting, which at least is a LITTLE better than the “improved” nesting, but can we please get a flat comment format again? (-_-)

  • Demonhype

    What precisely is wrong with you? Apparently you are one of those right-wing arseholes who can’t handle the truth, so you resort to foul-mouthed insults based on sexism and typical demonizing ignorance about drug addition (it’s a public health issue/disease, and NOT a moral failing or evil action, and should never have been made a law-enforcement issue in the first place). Let me guess, you’re one of those types who thinks that all the people who voted Democratic should have their voting rights taken away because clearly only drug addicted “whores” (most likely of a darker color than you too, I’m sure you believe) who want “handouts” would ever vote Democratic or fail to see the Absolute Glory of the Republican Right Wing Authoritarian Uber-Christian vision.

    Sorry. Truth hurts. Your “saint” Bush is a war criminal who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and major war crimes in the process–not to mention destroying millions of lives because of the economic collapse caused by his implementation of Republican economic policies. To pretend that, as stated above, sending a letter with an unenforceable request to particular groups that have made it clear they refuse to pay taxes and will do anything they can to avoid it is exactly as bad as starting illegal wars and ordering torture and war crimes is dishonest, to put it politely. It’s a false equivalency. Jimmy set the entire neighborhood on fire, and Johnny once pulled a dog’s ears, and you want to pretend the two mis-behaviors are entirely equivalent so you can claim that your opposition is “no better”.


  • Demonhype

    Try doing that what with all the voter suppression and gerrymandering those jagoffs have managed to accomplish. How can you change things when the Republicans have managed to make their votes count for 2-3 times more than the Democratic ones? How do you do that when they are making the effort to re-vamp the voting system so winners are decided not by a majority of the population, but by geography–where 20 people living on 5 miles of area have less of a vote than 5 people living on 20 miles of area?

  • mroge

    Fred: Flagged.

  • mroge

    I guess maybe you don’t have control of the ads on here? It bothers me to have the homophobic Billy Graham ad displayed. (I actually used to respect him before he threw his hat in the ring along with Fred Phelps)

  • SisterCoyote

    I believe he’s attempting to be a good liberal by calling out Ragnar, up there. The problem is, his “calling out” is just an atrocious personal attack, rather than anything… decent, or worthwhile.