We are committed to censorship and racism


Well at least that’s what we’re saying when we support the current government of Israel whose foreign minister has said he wants to ban Arab Israelis from marking the anniversary of the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Arab Palestinians in 1948.  How does that go over in a country, the US, which allows Jews to mark and commemorate the Holocaust?

A funny from the past


ps2This is the kind of hysteria our country was enveloped by in the days before 911 and the Iraq war. A look back on this mania should reveal that publications that reveled in such tripe would be permanently out of business. Instead they are firmly entrenched in society fulfilling a role whereby they influence public policy based on the type of hyperbole witnessed in the link

Both the U.S. Customs Service and the FBI are investigating the apparent transfer of large numbers of Sony PlayStation 2s to Iraq, according to military intelligence sources.

A secret Defense Intelligence Agency report states that as many as 4,000 of the popular video game units have been purchased in the United States and shipped to Iraq in the last two to three months.

What gives? Does Saddam Hussein have an extraordinarily long Christmas shopping list? And why would U.S. military and intelligence officials be concerned about such a transfer?

Two government agencies are investigating the purchases because the PlayStations can be bundled together into a sort of crude super-computer and used for a variety of military applications, say intelligence sources.

“Most Americans don’t realize that each PlayStation unit contains a CPU — every bit as powerful as the processor found in most desktop and laptop computers,” said one military intelligence officer who declined to be identified. “Beyond that, the graphics capabilities of a PlayStation are staggering — five times more powerful than that of a typical graphics workstation, and roughly 15 times more powerful than the graphics cards found in most PCs.”

A single PlayStation can generate up to 75 million polygons per second. Polygons, as noted in the DIA report, are the basic units used to generate the surface of 3-D models — extremely useful in military design and modeling applications.

“When I first saw this report, I was highly skeptical,” said an intelligence source. “So, I did some checking with computer experts I know within the Department of Defense. From what they tell me, bundling these video game units is very feasible.”

Additionally, Sony will make the process even easier with planned upgrades to the system. Beginning early next year, you can purchase a plug-in, 3.5 gig hard drive for the PlayStation, along with interface units that allow integration into the World Wide Web. If the Iraqis have trouble developing military software for the PlayStation computer system, they can probably find needed assistance on the Internet, say U.S. intelligence sources.

What could Iraq do with such a primitive super-computer constructed with Sony PlayStation 2s?

“Applications for this system are potentially frightening,” said an intelligence source. “One expert I spoke with estimated that an integrated bundle of 12-15 PlayStations could provide enough computer power to control an Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV — a pilotless aircraft.”

From a historical perspective it should be clear to all such reporting was done with a particular agenda in mind which was the invasion of a defenseless Iraq that had nothing at all to do with 911 nor never an existential threat to any of  its neighbors, yet a thorn in the side to several.  Over the last 10 years we’ve heard of the threat to our Republic of segments of society in our midst who hate us because of our freedoms.  I would like to add to that list a deceitful media.

A Rock and a hard place-the latest FBI Islamofascist scare


There’s really not that much to these “sting operations” anymore.  They are so predictable that even mainstream media is beginning to catch on, while cheering from the sidelines for the success of such dubious methods of law enforcement.  The latest catch of four social misfits tangentially related to Islam if that much is another example.  Spurred on by a fellow coreligionist  who flashed a lot of money and recruited them earnestly, because of a nefarious and compromising past that made it easy for him to be recruited by the FBI, four former convicts, one of them mentally disturbed, and two others heavy drug users, pot and crack, are the latest to constitute a threat of world wide proportions to the United States of America.  It didn’t help that an unscrupulous FBI special agent played a high profile role in the arrest of these men.  Special Agent Robert Fuller was responsible for the secret rendition of Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria and his subsequent torture at the hands of Syrians based on false information Fuller got from a wounded and some might say tortured Omar Khadr.  Arar has gone on to sue successfully the Canadian government and is in the process of suing the American government because of Fuller’s role in his torture.

Here’s the deal however.  The pseudo Muslim ringleader who was egging on the four charged defendants was clearly spotted by the members of the different masajid as an agent provocateur but because of their mistrust of the government, a mistrust clearly justified based on what happened to a group of Muslims in California, they were left with a brewing scandal and no one to tell.  The MO of this “informant” and indeed others who infiltrate places where Muslims gather is they appear out of the blue, invite other worshippers to meals, flash money, and  speak of violence and jihad, and offer  substantial amounts of money to others to join their “team.” The inertia or hesitation communities feels is really what the government wants in order to obscure its role in such operations. Government does not want to be pressed by a diligent citizenry to do its job.  Here then is my suggestion for people with an informant in their midst; use the internet.  Plaster the suspect’s picture on the masjid’s web page, blog about him or her, especially if they are advocating violence and contact your local media to inform them you may be a victim of a government sting operation.  Informants do not like to be exposed and if they are steeped in a past full of  illicit behavior with many victims someone will certainly notice them and do the government’s job of getting rid of them.

For the meantime, it’s sad to say the four men in New York most likely will be convicted amidst  a lot of publicity about their case that’ll highlight the potential for terrorism on the home front, but such miscarriages of justice, where people are entrapped by government will be avoided in the future as more and more communities become sophisticated enough to spot the likes of the informant in this case and educate their worshippers of the threat such false messiahs bring to their stability.  `

If you think waterboarding isn’t torture, think again


waterboardingWaterboarding is torture, pure and simple.  Those brave and stupid enough to try it have come away with that conclusion, even the ones who have been waterboys for neocon arguments and excuses, which we have already discounted, which claimed waterboarding helped saved lives and is nothing more than an enhanced interrogation technique.  The latest waterboy who agreed to be waterboarded, one of the faux pas conservative radio talk show hosts, Eric Mancow Muller tried it and didn’t last 6 seconds on the waterboard, embarrassing himself  live during his radio talk show on WLS radio.  There’s video of his experience at the above link as well.  Muller went on to say afterwards

“It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.

That should have come as no surprise to him.  Christopher Hitchens, another writer, media star of neocon bent was waterboarded and came to the same conclusion.  Why he had to experience it to be convinced is beyond me, especially after he was obliged to sign a statement BEFORE being waterboarded that read in part

“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.

Hitchens was lucky enough to have been forewarned and any senility evident in post waterboard writings is due to his ignoring the above indemnification and most likely not hereditary as I was earlier led to believe. Yet after all that, Hitchens managed to say succinctly, unambiguously that waterboarding is torture.  I have a few more pundits and media personalities I would like to see undergo the waterboard to determine for themselves whether it is torture or not, but in their absence there’s certainly more than enough anecdotal evidence, backed by the rule of law that substantiates the conclusion of the two mentioned in this article.  That said, why isn’t Dick Cheney facing indictment for torture?

Torture’s benefits don’t exist


I watched an hilarious exchange between former Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura and a Fox TV chat show host who I must admit I was not very impressed with at all.  However they talked about whether waterboarding was torture and necessary for today’s American body politic.  The Fox host repeated several canards that weren’t really addressed by Ventura although he made up for a lack of response with passion and directing the argument in ways he wanted.  I want to briefly address some of the points from a document put together by the folks at Think Progress which I have alluded to in another post.

1. Information from enhanced techniques is unreliable.

This has been stated by several branches of government from the military to the FBI who have all concluded torture doesn’t yield any actionable intelligence and the opposite of torture, rapport building gives a far higher yield.  It’s not as gory or satisfying to the sadistic nature of today’s neocons but it gets results. In fact, according to some, torture gets in the way of intelligence gathering and has negative effects.

2. The torture of Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and Abu Zubayday produced no valuable intelligence.

CIA and FBI officials have gone on record saying nothing was gained from torturing either of those two individuals and they were both tortured scores of time.

“The proponents of torture say, ‘Look at the body of information that has been obtained by these methods.’ But if K.S.M. and Abu Zubaydah did give up stuff, we would have heard the details,” says Cloonan. “What we got was pabulum.” A former C.I.A. officer adds: “Why can’t they say what the good stuff from Abu Zubaydah or K.S.M. is? It’s not as if this is sensitive material from a secret, vulnerable source. You’re not blowing your source but validating your program. They say they can’t do this, even though five or six years have passed, because it’s a ‘continuing operation.’ But has it really taken so long to check it all out?”

And again, there’s this:

As for K.S.M. himself, who (as Jane Mayer writes) was waterboarded, reportedly hung for hours on end from his wrists, beaten, and subjected to other agonies for weeks, Bush said he provided “many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans.” K.S.M. was certainly knowledgeable. It would be surprising if he gave up nothing of value. But according to a former senior C.I.A. official, who read all the interrogation reports on K.S.M., “90 percent of it was total fucking bullshit.” A former Pentagon analyst adds: “K.S.M. produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were.”

I strongly urge you to go to the document linked above to read it in its entirety.  It’s very well sourced and proves conclusively that torture was not responsible for any intelligence which prevented further attacks against America, that it was viewed as illegal by many of the people the Bush Administration sought to envelope in the torture fabric and that it is prosecutable should the legal community have the will to press charges against those responsible.  Why that hasn’t happened is something politicians in the next election should have to answer.

Christian Evangelism and Christian-Jewish Zionism have destroyed the Republican Party


That’s not me talking, although I believe it and more.  Not wanting to stop at just the Republican Party, I believe the two forces in the headline above are on their way to wrecking the country, the Republic of America in ways that could be irreparable.  The above forceful statement was made by a former Republican Frank Schaeffer who came to his realization after years of rubbing elbows with Republicans and their colleagues both the famous and the foot soldiers.  Schaeffer echoes themes that are very prominent in the blogsphere about the nature of today’s America and her alliances.  Several quotes of his are right on the money.

Two religions (in the broadest sense of the term) have destroyed the Republican Party: evangelical Christianity and Christian/Jewish Zionism. Evangelical Christianity created the Religious Right which forever linked the Republican Party to the antiabortion, anti-sex education, anti-evolution and anti-gay crusades. And both Christian and Jewish Zionism linked the Republican Party to what became the neoconservative movement with its roots in such publications as Commentary magazine and their shrill Israel-can-do-no-wrong anti-Arab agenda. (I knew the late editor of Commentary Norman Podhoretz quite well, and we met several times to build alliances between evangelicals and the far American Zionist far right. When it came to Arabs, I believe he was a real racist.)

So what did the Republicans become? They are the party of unnecessary wars both actual and cultural and the party of the rich — those who never serve in the military, just put up flags to “support the troops.” The actual war in Iraq was (as everyone knew with a wink and a nod, but few dared say) really about our commitment to Christian and Jewish Zionism as it was “understood” by the born-again fool Bush. The culture war is also an unnecessary and unmitigated war that pitted the “real America” (in other words white mostly uneducated, lower-middle-class evangelical/Catholic working Americans) against everyone else.

The writer’s conclusion is equally insightful.  I wish other writers would write as clearly and explicitly as Schaeffer.  Because they don’t, I conclude with his words.

The choice for America has always been between inclusive pluralism and exclusion. The kind of religion and Evangelical/Zionist/neoconservative cabal used to take over the interests of the Republican Party is just too small for this big diverse, tolerant and open country of ours. So the Republicans have a choice: become an American political party again serving American interests or continue to serve the narrowly defined religious interests of two angry and fearful Jewish/Evangelical minorities who are themselves bastardized offshoots of their Christian and Jewish traditions.

From the ‘he’s an idiot department’


idiotOur parents always told us never speak ill of the dead, but in the case of the guy in this post, I want to wake him up from the dead and slap him silly.  He’s the poster child for stupid behavior.  Why anyone would point a gun to their own head and claim they’re doing that to show people the importance of gun safety is S-T-U-P-I-D.  It’s not enough that firearms owners are given the evil eye by non-owners, and are always threatened or feel threatened with confiscation of their weapons by an over reaching government, but to give opponents of private ownership of weapons the ammunition, pardon the pun, to berate, deride, ridicule, encroach and infringe on that right, is……….well suicide as Mr. Benally found out.  For all the do gooders out there, here’s a tip for you.  Never point a weapon at your head, ever!  And if you’re not smart enough to follow that rule, then don’t do it in front of people and claim to give them a safety demonstration of how to use a firearm!  Jeez.