do we torture?

Posted by on Jan 16, 2009 | 0 comments

There’s a lot of historical revisionism going on with regard to US torture policy. Some go so far as to say we’ve only tortured a handful of people… Let’s get it right… So, I dug up an oldie but goodie…

From the Jakeneck Archives in 2005:

Of course the US tortures people

Admitting that fact is another issue entirely. The Bush Administration condones torture and practices it, which promotes a general atmosphere of oppression that turns against American citizens. Not to mention the fact that US companies profit from torture as well.

Torture is big business. But, like the mafia, doesn’t really exist. (wink wink)

(Editorial cartoon by Andrew Wahl, via Buzzflash.)

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Best Blog Posts of 2008

Posted by on Dec 30, 2008 | 6 comments

(Chosen by the bloggers themselves)

Jon Swift asked a bevy of bloggers to send him their best post of the year. My self anointed best entry is in there too, amongst the kitty kat komedy.

A few of my favs:

GOP vampires want to suck you til yer cold meat over at Welcome Back to Pottersville.

Tbogg rids the Earth of needless ideas

Rude Pundit votes to gloat after voting.

Happy New Year. See ya next year.

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Yes, Virginia, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is about oil

Posted by on Dec 23, 2008 | 0 comments

The Jakeneck Archives. An oldie but goodie from June 12, 2003:

The problem with public relations spin, deception and lying is it will come back to haunt. You’d think that the Bush White House would have learned that lesson from the Clinton experience. But, no.

In the spirit of “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.“, the current administration has worked assiduously at priming the public relations pump, spreading the word, insisting that the once over and now continuing war against Iraq is not about oil. The sound bite rhetoric is familiar to us all: “This is not about oil. This is about a tyrant, a dictator, who is developing weapons of mass destruction to use against the Arab populations.”

The problem is twofold: 1) the intelligence used in the failed attempt to convince the world that Iraq had viable WMD’s is suspect, the search effort is slowing down, and all of this is creating great trouble for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 2) The truth is hard to ignore. Statistics are brutal in their logic. The economic/oil situation is not a constant one at all. It is in flux. And, at risk.

The fact that it was always about oil is becoming much more clear. Especially since members of the Bush administration and advisors own words regarding Iraq and Hussein don’t shy away from mentioning oil as a primary concern. As stated in a “Letter to the President” dated January 26, 1998, signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and several others: “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.” (Italics mine.)

That seems pretty clear doesn’t it? But, the massive PR push the past few years had a very specific task- to convince the populace both in the US and abroad that the war was over more palatable issues- terrorism, human rights, spreading democracy. Things that make us feel good about invading another country. Anything except oil. Because, there is always the great possibility that, as stated in “The Trouble with Powell“: “the American people do not want their young dying for $ 1.50 a gallon oil.” But, deception is deception. And, it would appear at this juncture that it may have gotten out of control. And, investigations on the WMD problem are coming. Even if the Bush White House and Republicans don’t want it.

Which begs the question: Would they investigate the possibility of cooked Intel if the WMD’s were wearing a blue dress? That old double standard is a drag, isn’t it?

Yes it is.

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wingnuttia in shambles

Posted by on Nov 13, 2008 | 0 comments

Been quietly absorbing much of the reaction and continuing reaction to the Obama election and the unfolding reality of an Obama presidency. And, am (as always) probably overly fascinated with the reaction of the right wing extremist crowd.

It’s interesting that the dyed in the wool “Obama is a Terrorist/Marxist/Muslim/Arab/Negro/Liberal/Socialist/AntiChrist/Manchurian Candidate/Traitor/Not One of Us” crowd still pounds that bent and rusty nail harder and harder into the pulpy wood with great fervor as if we didn’t hear it the first 100,344,305 times they blurted it out, or that in the words of their fearless leader, the outgoing president of the USA, it’s a matter of: “Sometimes you have to catapult the propaganda” and thus, they hold out a glimmer of hope that it just might finally work if they keep on hammering and hammering and hammering and hammering and hammering….

They present incorrect badly thought out information, (comparing Connecticut and Hawaii birth certificates for example) and even when it is proven incorrect (by multiple sources, again and again), they simply plow ahead as if that truthful information doesn’t exist.

It’s deeply sad and frightening. The level of basic mental separation from reality is deeply alarming. Death threats against Obama are acceptable to these people.

Then there’s those that are wandering around in the desert, looking for a happy meal, anything really, but finding only sand and camel dung, desperatively searching for ammuninition, yet the reality of the times calls for food. Because you can’t eat bullets, or vitrol. In the end, all they really have is their hate. They certianly don’t have any ideas that will help America.

They are indeed, “Losin’ it.”

And, Obama is rising above it all. That’s leadership.

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the web and the city

Posted by on Oct 18, 2008 | 0 comments

With the changing economic climate and a real need for new structure and paradigms, been thinking a great deal about how we can change how the world works. And, living in a city like NYC, a lot of what I see that works (and what doesn’t work) needs to be extrapolated (and dealt with realistically) into the world at large. And, the web works in great ways (and not so great ways)… Steven Johnson talks about both and more from TED.

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crying shame

Posted by on Sep 19, 2008 | 0 comments

Jack Johnson, via You Tube… Lyrics below the quote and the video. (Chose one of the videos without all the war images. The lyrics convey the point fine.) Have had this album for a few years now and it just seems to get better….

I had a few of the lines for it here and there. But what really inspired me to write the rest of it was an interview with Kurt Vonnegut I read where he was asked if he felt that the leaders of today – cultural, political, and artistic – were being responsible to their society. And he had this line that I thought was great where he said, ‘Forget about society. What about humanity in general?’ And so that was the idea for the song. The first line is, ‘By now we should know how to communicate instead of coming to blows.’ It just seems that in this day and age with email and telephones, it’s crazy how we still have wars. It seems that everything should be able to be worked out through a conversation by now, if there’s just a little bit of compassion on every side. – Jack Johnson

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
How will this all play
Out of sight out of mind.

By now we should know how to communicate
Instead of coming to blows, We’re on a roll
And there ain’t no stopping us now
We’re burning under control
Isn’t it strange how we’re all
Burning under the same sun?

Buy now and save, it’s a war for peace
It’s the same old game
But do we really want to play?
We could close our eyes it’s still there

We could say it’s us against them
We could try but nobody wins

Gravity has got a hold on us all
We could try to put it out

But it’s a growing flame
Using fear as fuel
Burning down our name
And it won’t take too long
Words all burn the same
And who are we going to blame now?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame

By now it’s beginning to show
A number of people are numbers that ain’t coming home
I could close my eyes it’s still there
Close my mind be alone
I could close my heart and not care
But gravity has got a hold on us all

It’s a terrific price to pay
But in the true sense of the word
Are we using what we’ve learned?
In the true sense of the word
Are we losing what we were?

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
It’s not for me to say
Is it in our blood
Or is it just our fate?
And how will this all play
out of sight, out of mind
Who are we going to blame all in all?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame

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using 9/11 as political fodder at the RNC

Posted by on Sep 6, 2008 | 0 comments

The RNC video “tribute” to 9/11. With Obermann’s reaction, and he hits it on the head.


Note the scary music (juxtaposed with schmaltzy music) with clean and dirty images and the jingoistic narration. Walter Lippman would be proud. My comments follow.

What occurred on 9/11 is not for sale. It’s not an event that is to be used for political posturing, most especially by a group of American extremists who would use it to proffer the most un-American of ideas: if you disagree with us you are the enemy.

The video is propaganda meant to promote fear not only of terrorism, but of any political opposition. Taken in context with the many speeches at the RNC, the only
conclusion that can be made is that Conservatives see political opposition and those who were responsible for 9/11 as one and the same.

It’s all a ruse to continue their goal of one party rule. The most un-American thing I can think of…

What about you?

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Fox propaganda against Obama mirrors Kerry attacks

Posted by on Sep 6, 2008 | 0 comments

Via Sister Liz, Fox News propaganda:

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Someone throw this guy a bone

Posted by on Sep 3, 2008 | 0 comments

Speaks for itself. McCain spokesman gets handed hat by Campbell Brown. But, it should be said, expecting anything but lies from a Karl Rove droog is like expecting your dog to open the door and let himself out for a walk. Ain’t gonna happen.

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Hurricane Palin

Posted by on Sep 2, 2008 | 0 comments

As Barack Obama breaks the 50% mark for the first time in a new Gallup poll, Hurricane Palin roars into the rocky shores of Camp McSame, wreaking havoc that smells to the deluded conservative faithful like victory. Not difficult to understand considering the entire presidential campaign of “The Marverick” is falling apart at the seams. Never underestimate the power of denial.

The overriding conservative argument seems to be that it’s the fault of Liberal bloggers and the mysoginistic MSM for reporting the news that was announced willingly by the McCain campaign. They just made it worse!

Now, instead of it being a low lying silly blogger conspiracy story (that could so easily be dismissed as such, or simply ignored) about how Sarah Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy, it’s a gossip story about the daughter of an anti-sex education, anti-birth control, anti-Choice, pro-abstainance conservative Christian VP nominee and a Theocrat who’s 17 year-old daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and the father doesn’t want kids!

Further, it’s mind boggling that conservatives are out there who think it’s 1) not a story. and 2) The fault of the media for reporting it. We are talking about the VP for the USA here, not class president. This stuff comes out. Which is why the McCain camp tried in vain to control it themselves with horrible results. It was transparent from the start. It never should have gotten this far.

You really have to wonder if Palin was properly vetted, (it appears not) but once they made the decision to go ahead knowing that Bristol was pregnant: did they really feel comfortable and thought it was prudent (ethically? politically?) announcing to the world the very private and personal details of a young woman’s life? And, using a conspiracy theory that was WAY off the national radar as a launching pad to which to hoist blame? It’s not a smart move from either perspective.

Young Bristol’s right to privacy is more important than the political campaign of John McCain or the political aspirations of her mother. And, what about the unborn child and the father? Their lives are now forever changed by the cynical and stupid decisions of a few politicians willing to throw people to the dogs to win an election. Mind blowing isn’t it?

What we have here is a presidential media campaign that has decided to use the pregnancy of a teenager as political fodder. And, that’s pretty atrocious. And, to make it worse: they made the decision to move ahead KNOWING it would be a media circus and then tried (and failed) to dump it into a slow news cycle. Wow.

They tried to sweep it under the carpet over the Labor Day weekend when most American’s turn off the TV and computers for some beach and BBQ time with the family. And, with Hurricane Gustav coming to bash New Orleans back into the Dark Ages, you couldn’t ask for better cover.

Alas, Gustav turned out to not be the storm of the century and the unmarried and pregnant teen of a VP nominee is definitely the story of the century. At least from a TMZ sleaze kind of perspective.

And, all the maneuvering and media bashing isn’t going to change that reality.

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast thinks the entire thing could be a head fake. Something to consider.

The only other option is that the McCain people and the Maverick himself are really this stupid.

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beating back the cult of anti-intellectualism

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

Via Sadly No!

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webuzz: obama, eco news and more….

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 1 comment

  • Obama is going to announce his VP choice soon, if you believe what you read. My guess is it’s going to be someone not on the “short list” we’ve been hearing so much about from the media. But, everyone’s buzzing like bees to honey. The gossip quotiant is stifling.
  • Ever heard of triclosan? Well, it’s in a ton of things that may be in your body or in your home or both. And, it’s a toxin. Go read about it over at Eco-Chick.
  • Obama stepped in the eliminationalist trap.
  • The decay of the free thinking press in the land of the free.
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    the mighty right wing machine rattles on and on

    Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

    The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.

    Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:

    FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…

    MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)

    FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…

    It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.

    One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.

    Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.

    And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.

    When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.

    That feeling has returned.

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    us versus them

    Posted by on Aug 22, 2008 | 0 comments

    A friend sent me a video that bothered me a great deal. It’s something I’d seen before, earlier this year. In a nutshell, it uses sugary music and mixes clean and dirty images to pound home the message that the evil Palestinian’s have killed 123 Israeli children since 2000. And, there are videos from the Palestinian side that demonize the Israelis for killing 1050 children, (Human Rights Watch numbers) using forceful rap music to present a different hipper attack, but one that is as dishonest and one-sided.

    It’s bothersome for a pretty elemental reason: there are always two sides to every issue. And, that’s part of the problem with grey propaganda of this nature: It’s meant to portray only one side of a very very complicated issue. Especially egregious considering that it’s horrific that children are dying while adults argue about who is right.

    Rather than get in a tit for tat who has suffered more, bigger numbers means bigger pain or higher moral ground argument, it’s best to remember that the fatal flaw in propaganda of this type is that it foments hated by hiding behind saccharine sweet music (or hip pop rap) and the faces of children juxtaposed with graphic horrors of destruction, of torn and twisted bodies. It offends on the most basic of levels. It’s only aim is to keep the fires of hatred burning. Yet, people eat the message up with a spoon, because it appeals to our basic fears and biases.

    Serious issues deserve serious thought. Not propaganda that reasserts hatred in the guise of sweetness and light, or by asserting that people kill to “be cool”. People kill because they are detached from reality. Eliminationist rhetoric and You Tube videos that propagate eliminationist thought are a symptom of the inability to move beyond fear and hatred. And, that’s a huge problem. Especially when it’s packaged in a way that makes viewers feel they are watching something of depth, when they are being manipulated.

    Both Israelis and Palestinians need to stop jockeying for the who has been victimized more award and start facing the bitter realities of what is going on and fight for solutions. Because they exist.

    Anything less is insulting to the memory of those who have died on both sides and ensures that more will die in the future. And, that’s tragic.

    And, unnecessary.

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    those who feed hatred try to excuse it

    Posted by on Jul 29, 2008 | 0 comments

    There is, of course, no excuse for hatred. It’s the elemental root of evil in our world. Some have long argued that hate has a role in focusing a fight, whether it be toe to toe or a war. But those who’ve fought and shed blood know all too well that hatred usually becomes a burden and usurps the true reason for the fight in the first place. (Assuming the reason isn’t hatred in the first place.) As said in the Dhammapada:

    Victory gives rise to hate,
    those defeated lie in pain,
    happily rest the Peaceful
    surrendering victory-defeat.

    Hatred loves generalities. Saying something like “liberals are evil” or similar is a generality that thrives on hatred. And, it’s an amazingly popular sentiment amongst many conservatives. One they see no problem with apparently. The eliminationist movement is alive and well in their world.

    Thus, a lot of conservative bloggers are making excuses for the nutjob who shot and killed two people and wounded seven in a liberal minded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s all the same approach, a variation on “the attacker was attacking a Christian church, not a gay or liberal establishment.” Sister Toldjah, who is too biased and obviously deceitful to post my comments to his post, goes for the “liberals kill people too” approach. Professor Glenn goes for the “he attacked Christians approach” and Instaputz hands him his head. (Instaputz has more here.) And, cause I like to save the worst for last: The ever incorrect Bob Owens, who’s site motto is: “Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state” also goes the parsing route:

    While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn’t target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms. (emphasis added)

    So, let’s see what the local police have to say through their “warped prism”:

    And, we know from local news that the church in question was indeed a “liberal church” with a sign outside that says “gays welcome”:

    Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

    “It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

    Owen said Adkisson’s stated hatred of the liberal movement was not necessarily connected to any hostility toward Christianity or religion per say, but rather the political advocacy of the church.

    The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers. (emphasis addded)

    Note that sentence directly above in bold. Ah. So, Sister Toldjah and Gleen Reynolds and Bob Owens and are wrong. At least they’re consistent.

    But wait, it gets worse. Apparently, the murderer was a fan of a number of right wing extremists such as Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity:

    Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

    Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

    Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”

    Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

    The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

    Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

    Dave Neiwert has the definitive post on this issue, he explains it all with much more intelligence and historical perspective than I:

    Right-wingers love to “joke” about mowing down, rounding up, and otherwise “wiping out” all things liberal. It’s become a standard feature of conservative-movement rhetoric. And whenever anyone calls them on it, they have a standard response: “Aw, c’mon — it’s just a joke!

    In reality, of course, rhetoric like this has historically played a critical role in some of the ugliest episodes in American history, as well as thousands of little acts of xenophobic brutality: functionally speaking, it gives violent — and frequently unstable — actors permission to act on these impulses. People like this always believe they’re standing up for what “real Americans” think — and the jokes tell them that this is so.

    This was a violent attack on liberals. It was inspired by years of wingnuts talking about how much they hate liberals and wish they could do something about them. This man did. But watch the people who have been telling these “jokes” run away from any culpability for it.

    Nuff said.

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