Monday, October 31, 2016

Libertarians for Hillary

Washington (CNN) - Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld lit into James Comey, saying Monday that his decision to announce a review of new emails was "disgraceful" and that the FBI director and the agency were "off the reservation."

Sure, one might consider what Comey has done as “disgraceful” without regard to one’s desire to see Hillary occupy the oval office.  But Weld offers more clues:

Weld blasted Trump with a reference to the "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" scene where a mob of villagers lob ridiculous arguments that their victim is a witch.

"Mr. Trump braying about this latest development reminds me of the guy in Monty Python who says 'She's a witch, burn her! Burn her!" Weld said, with a mock British accent. "It has no more content than that. And the point of that skit in Monty Python was that those townspeople were ignorant and stupid -- not that they were great."

Weld just called Trump supporters “ignorant and stupid.”  You know, Les Deplorables.

OK, so Weld displays the same contempt for the same large portion of the American population as does Hillary.  Is this enough to claim “Libertarians for Hillary”?

Camerota asked Weld if he thought that he and Johnson were drawing votes from Clinton and could end up tossing the race to Trump, but he argued that he was confident they were pulling moderate Republican voters away from Trump.

"My appeal is to Republican voters: Think twice before you vote for Trump," he said.

There you have it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Redeemer Nation

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.

The title of this post is taken from an ongoing dialogue between John Batchelor and Michael Vlahos. To summarize (in my words, not theirs): the United States’ role as described by Wilson is dying; the United States’ role as the tool to surround and ultimately subdue MacKinder’s world island is dying. 

This is evidenced by the impotence of the United States in achieving any meaningful military or political victories in the half-dozen or more ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.  One can say it has been true since 1950 and Korea, to include Vietnam.

It is further evidenced by the expanded role and influence that Russia and China have – influence in the regions immediately bordering the world island that is…Russia and China.

Russia is setting the agenda, for example, in Syria; maybe not setting the agenda, but more accurately dictating the action given the American-instigated turmoil.  The same can be said regarding Ukraine.  The same was true regarding the 2008 attempt in Georgia. 

China is setting the agenda in a region known as – wait for this – the South China Sea.  China is apparently becoming more involved in the Middle East and has long been involved in Africa.

Is this all by accident?  Or is it solely explained as the inevitable result for all empires?

I think no…and maybe.

Enter Obama

Why was Obama chosen in 2008 over Hillary?  She was the slam-dunk winner in the democratic primaries that year, until out-of-the-blue came this relative unknown.  And, relatively speaking, the dove of the bunch.

It is easy to list all of the wars Obama is fighting and that have started under his watch.  It is also easy to consider how much worse many of these might have been had Hillary (or McCain or Romney) been elected instead.

There was no reason at all for the neocon American imperialists to promote Obama over Hillary if their desire was hawkish.  They (or at least their dutiful followers) weren’t the ones who promoted him.


This is why I at one time felt Rand Paul was the chosen one.  Unfortunately he couldn’t read the tea leaves.  He tried to walk the non-existent line between neocon warmonger and libertarian/conservative and ended up not gaining support from the former and losing support from the latter.

And this is why since Rand’s self-inflicted demise I have felt Trump has survived…and thrived.  Who on earth could have gone past the first republican debate after some of the things said by Trump…unless some powerful people wanted him to continue?

This is why – despite the mood of the moment – I do not yet count Trump out.

And this is why it is certain that, even if Trump loses the election, this movement – begun by Ron Paul – will gain more traction.

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.