Saturday, October 22, 2016

Just Checking In

I am still here.  Obviously, I haven’t written much lately.

I have been very pre-occupied with several things at work.  I find when this is the case, it is difficult to focus on much else. 

When I have focused on something else, it has been the idea of how clearly and obviously the battle lines have been exposed thanks to Donald Trump’s run.  More accurately, I have been thinking about how blatantly and in-your-face the establishment continues to shovel lies of commission and omission at us.

They know by now that there are tens of millions of people who are not so stupid as to continuing to believe them; therefore, they demonstrate that they don’t even care if we believe them or not.  They also demonstrate the lengths to which they will go when threatened.

Win or lose for Trump, hell’s coming.  This awakening isn’t going to be shoved back in a bottle – at least not peacefully.

That’s what I am thinking about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Like Talking to a Wall

One sided questions; unable or unwilling to see things from the other side; accepting government statements as fact; ignoring well-reasoned responses; inability to think logically or critically.  It isn’t just the American mainstream media….

Consider the words of Assad and consider the reaction of the interviewer; taken from an Interview of President al-Assad to Denmark’s TV 2:

President Assad: … actually, when you want to talk about the dire situation in eastern Aleppo, it’s not because of the government; it’s because of the terrorists. They’ve been in that area for years now, but we only heard about that “dire situation” in the media recently, in the Western media, because the situation of the terrorists is very bad.

The interviewer follows-up with a question that completely ignores this reality – the situation in eastern Aleppo has been hell for civilians for many years – it has become news only recently because the best publicity that the terrorists’ sponsors’ money can buy has been brought into play.

Question 5: So, if the Syrian Army didn’t attack hospitals, or maybe they did by mistake, you say, are you sure it’s not the Russian air force who are targeting hospitals?

President Assad: The question that you should ask when you have a crime: who is the beneficiary of that crime?

Does this response from Assad prompt any curiosity in the interviewer?  Does the interviewer pull on the string: who gains from such attacks?  No.  He continues to lay blame on Russia and the Syrian government.

President Assad: …the terrorists according to what you are saying, terrorists are not responsible, they are very peaceful people. The money of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are something legal and natural, let’s say, and the agenda of the United States fulfilled the needs of the Syrian people, which is not realistic.

The response from the interviewer?  Crickets.

Forgive the lengthy cite, but this next portion is rather valuable:

Question 17: The United States, they stopped all bilateral talks with Russia about any kind of peace agreement, and the Russians they said that they actually regret this. Do you regret it as well?

President Assad: We regret it, but we knew in advance that it wouldn’t work…we had already known that the Americans didn’t have the will to reach any agreement, because the main part of that agreement is to attack al-Nusra which is, according to the American list and to the United Nations list, is a terrorist group, but in the Syrian conflict, it’s an American card.

Question 18: But isn’t it very difficult for the United States to separate the so-called “moderate rebels” and some of the more radical ones? This is very difficult, when you are attacking the moderate rebels all the time.

President Assad: You are right, do you know why you are right? Do you know the unicorn, the animal that’s like a horse, has a long horn? It’s a myth. And the moderate opposition is a myth. That’s why you cannot separate something that doesn’t exist from something that exists.

Does Assad fear further escalation between Russia and the United States as a result of these failed efforts?

President Assad: …actually that escalation has been happening for a while now. I mean, before that agreement, let’s say, failed, the Americans attacked our forces in Deir Ezzor…

… for the Americans, a hundred percent, they did it intentionally, because ISIS gathered their militants in the same place before the attack, and when the attack started, it took about one hour, and in the next hour ISIS attacked and took control of those hills. How could ISIS knew about this raid before it happened?

Regarding the puppet states of Europe:

President Assad: I’m sure not the Danish, not the British, decided which target they should attack. I’m sure the Americans said “this is our target, and this is where ISIS is.” …is it acceptable for the Danish people that your army is fulfilling military missions of other countries without verifying the target and knowing where is it heading? Do you take a bus without knowing where the bus is going to? You don’t.

…the Europeans implement and fulfill what the Americans want in every field without asking and without discussing…

…whole Europe now being absent from the political map at least since 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, just because they had to follow the Americans, and they don’t dare to take their independent, let’s say, path in politics.

Regarding the violation of international law:

President Assad: …the intervention in Syria, as part of the international coalition which is actually an American coalition, this is against the international law, this is against the sovereignty of Syria because this is not in coordination with the Syrian government, while the Russian came to Syria…after having an invitation from the Syrian government to support us in our fight against the terror.

An example of the futility of expecting someone from the western media or political establishment to consider how he might feel if the shoe was on the other foot:

Question 25: But what else should [the coalition] do? I mean, they are very much against what’s going on in Syria right now.

President Assad: The question is would you as a Danish citizen accept me as a foreigner to support opposition in your country with money and to tell them “go and kill, and that’s how you achieve your political goals?”


Regarding the diplomacy of the United States:

President Assad: [as opposed to the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis] …in the United States you don’t have superior statecraft. When you don’t have superior statecraft, you should expect anything, and you should always expect the worse.

This is the danger.  It is a danger either because someone in the US is in charge or because no one in the US is in charge.  Either way, the situation regarding two nuclear-armed powers is dangerous.

There is much more to the interview.  It is worth reading.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The New York Times…

Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one crucial outcome. They knew that the methods inflicted on terrorism suspects would be painful, shocking and far beyond what the country had ever accepted. But none of it, they concluded, would cause long lasting psychological harm.

Fifteen years later, it is clear they were wrong.

How the story has changed, from “we don’t torture,” to “well maybe a little, but it yields great intelligence,” to “we don’t do it in horrific ways anymore,” to “we didn’t know that it would hurt.”

I will go right to the punch line, in case you don’t want to read further: all that the United States torturers needed to do to realize the certainty of “long lasting psychological harm” is to have a sit down with John McCain.  Talk about someone with permanent and obvious psychological harm!

In all seriousness, you would think that VA hospitals would have thousands of records from prisoners of war, covering this general topic.  Even more fundamentally, what kind of creature must you be…well, now I am getting into the longer version of the story.

Permanent headaches, disturbed sleep, nightmares, rage triggered by memories of torture, paranoia, depression.  Shocking, I know, but “Some emerged with the same symptoms as American prisoners of war who were brutalized decades earlier by some of the world’s cruelest regimes.”

You think?  This wasn’t predictable?  Of course it was, and the torturers knew it and condoned it anyway.  Will you read this in the so-called investigative report?  (Hint: no.)

The United States government has never studied the long-term psychological effects of the extraordinary interrogation practices it embraced.

Is this conceivable?  The US government never studied the long term psychological effects of American former POWs being treated in VA hospitals?  This is both an indictment of the VA (a low bar, I admit) and an indictment of those who authorized the torture (an even lower bar).  Does the Times challenge this assertion?  (Hint: no.)

It is not conceivable.  Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, a former military psychiatrist and retired brigadier general, offers some perspective:

General Xenakis had seen such anxiety before, decades earlier, as a young psychiatrist at Letterman Army Medical Center in California. It was often the first stop for American prisoners of war after they left Vietnam. The doctor recalled the men, who had endured horrific abuses, suffering panic attacks, headaches and psychotic episodes.

I guess no one else in the military noticed this before the torture was authorized.  Is this what the Times believes?  (Hint: yes.)

…General Xenakis delved into research on the effects of abusive practices. He found decades of papers on the issue — science that had not been considered when the government began crafting new interrogation policies after Sept. 11.

The research covered Vietnam, Korea and World War Two.  Does anyone believe that somehow the US government forgot that Americans were tortured during these wars?  This voluminous research was unknown to the government before they decided unfathomable torture was the way to go?  Does the Times challenge this?  (Hint: no.)

Instead, the government worked hard to find some study that demonstrated that torture had no more long-lasting psychological effects than eating an ice-cream cone:

Instead, the government relied on data from a training program to resist enemy interrogators, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.

A training program?  Over the weight of tens of thousands of Americans subject to torture.  The wise men behind this theory?

Two veteran SERE psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, worked with the C.I.A. and the Pentagon to help develop interrogation tactics.

If there is justice, one day they will be tried for war crimes.  For now, these modern-day disciples of Dr. Mengele merely have to face being sued in US Federal Court by some of their victims.  Employees of the same government that employs those who authorized and committed the torture are going to determine the fate of these lawsuits.  How will that turn out?

Of course, to be fair to all sides, the Times notes:

Researchers caution that it can be difficult to determine cause and effect with mental illness. Some prisoners of the C.I.A. and the military had underlying psychological problems that may have made them more susceptible to long-term difficulties… 

Because, having your head stuck in a toilet, having rabid dogs in your cell, being sodomized and threatened with rape, being subjected to blaring music 24 hours a days, being deprived of sleep for days on end, forced nudity, wearing diapers, sexual taunts, mock executions, threats to harm their children and rape members of their family – all for months and years on end…these would not effect a “normal” person.

…Libyans said they were treated better by Colonel Qaddafi’s jailers than by the C.I.A.

Maybe this is why Qaddafi had to be taken out.


What has the Times accomplished with this report?  Is it news that victims of torture suffer long term psychological effects?  This is the entirety of the examination by the Times.  Congratulations for reaching this conclusion, Captain Obvious.  Dozens of interviews and hundreds of hours of research were not necessary to conclude this.

Investigate the criminals behind these actions; write an editorial recommending a war-crimes trial in an international (or better, non-empire-aligned Middle-Eastern) court for those involved.  That would be newsworthy – therefore such an investigation and editorial is inherently something that the Times will no longer consider.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I Must Have Been Dreaming

This morning, while still groggy-eyed, I had a hazy memory – a vision, a dream?  I am not sure.  I recall something about every news outlet – CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, etc. – coming out strongly with a very new proposition: “any politician who has a history of saying rude things about woman, degrading women in some manner, having sex with interns, cheating on their spouse, etc., is unfit for office.”

In my dream – because I still can’t believe it to be true – one-by-one, the mainstream media called them out by name; one-by-one the people demanded a recall.  Fully 99.5% of elected offices were vacated within a week.  Further, very few could be found to replace them: it turns out the characteristics of abusive sex, drugs, booze, crude behavior and rude or vulgar comments are almost directly correlated with the desire to rule over other people’s lives.

Anyway, that was my dream – well, I think it was a dream. 

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

As is well-known, Abraham Lincoln was inspired by this verse.  On June 16, 1858, he offered his famous “House Divided” speech upon the occasion of being chosen as the Republican candidate for the US Senate.  Although the speech did not propel him to a victory in the Senate race, it certainly set the tone for his presidency.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.  We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.  Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. 

It will become all one thing or all the other.

The battle lines at the time were regarding slavery, north and south, free state or slave state.  Today there is again in the United States a divide, not slavery in any sense similar to that of 150 years ago, but something in some ways more sinister – and certainly less visible…at least until recently. 

Lincoln’s words ring equally true today.  Angelo M. Codevilla writes of today’s divide: there is no more republic; there are only stakeholders and subjects.  This divide will lead almost inevitably to something not good:

… as Publius Decius Mus argues, “America and the West” now are so firmly “on a trajectory toward something very bad” that it is no longer reasonable to hope that “all human outcomes are still possible,” by which he means restoration of the public and private practices that made the American republic.

It matters not who is elected this year, although it is clear that Trump’s successes to date are a result of the “subjects” pushing back against the “stakeholders” in the only way they currently know – or in the only way that they are currently willing to contemplate.

It matters not who is elected because the machine is too well greased.  One person, a Donald Trump – even if truly committed and supported by a large portion of the population – cannot change the direction (and, in fact, has made it clear he will not change the direction back toward a constitutional republic).

Codevilla identifies the awakening that occurred in the American population – and the event that united republican and democrat alike:

The ruling class’s united front in response to the 2008 financial crisis had ignited the Tea Party’s call for adherence to the Constitution…

That would be Ron Paul, although Paul’s movement had significant energy in 2007 – before the magnitude of the financial crisis was visible to most. 

The movement behind Trump is the movement that was brought to life by Ron Paul.  Most in the movement today don’t recognize the connection; most in the movement do not see the drastic contradictions in Trump vs. Paul.  But this is the common root, and 2016 was the year ripe for someone to tap into this discontent, this call to adhere to the Constitution.

Because, as Codevilla suggests, there is no such thing as constitutional law remaining in the United States.  He points to a major turning point as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which “substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights…” 

This act destroyed any remaining possibility of freedom of association and property rights.  Bakers, photographers, gender self-identification gratifying toilets, penalties for insufficient political correctness, mandatory training in performing abortions in order to secure a medical license.

The American people have come to learn that all that matters is raw power – they see this in the politics and in the government policies.  They have concluded that raw power is all that can counteract this – hence Trump.  It is raw power, not constitutionalism, which the subjects, the people, are supporting. 

Of course, the 1964 act has its roots in the progressivism born during the turn of the last century: it is the progressive intellectuals against the leave-me-alone socially “irredeemable,” the deplorables.

Codevilla’s sobering, but completely reasonable, conclusion:

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation. (Emphasis added)

For those who fear that some form of extreme fascism is coming to the United States, they need not fear Trump; the fear is in who (or what) comes next – win or lose for Trump.


It is the state against the people; it is the stakeholders against the subjects.  Significant power and wealth and militarization and a massive overt and covert “security” apparatus are on one side, and significant anger and frustration is growing on the other side.

Returning to Lincoln’s speech:

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

We know what came a few years after Lincoln’s speech, the last time the house was so divided.