War In Error
Thursday, February 26, 2015
ISIS Burns Mosul Library
Of course, the sort of people who burn people would also burn books. A group like ISIS that depends on the most narrow interpretation of religion is threatened by learning and the mere existence of anything that counters their cramped worldview. But no matter how many books are burned, more are always being written. It still angers me to see people try to blot out history and culture in this way, though.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/26/15 at 07:18 AM
Comments (5) •
Monday, February 23, 2015
Scott Walker and The Litmus Test
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 12:14 AM
Comments (4) •
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
FOX Mushroom Farm Terrorism Expert Might Be Sorry
There’s something entirely too easy to slam about a “terrorism expert” appearing on Jeanine Pirro’s FOX News program absolutely fudging up a demographic fact like the proportion of Muslim people in Birmingham, UK. The funny old thing is, his particular overestimation of the number of Muslims or immigrants is sort of a weird example of a study done recently regarding the tendency of people to wildly overstate the number of immigrants or Muslims, and understate the number of Christians, in their home nation.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
Forget it, Jake, it’s FOX Mushroom Farm. She’s doing her real job, don’t you know?
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/14/15 at 12:32 AM
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The shocking murder of twelve people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris has generated many displays of sympathy for the victims and their families, and support for freedom of speech over disgusting acts of terror, many by fellow artists and colleagues. It’s possible that the attack was planned by people who considered themselves defenders of their faith in some way, but they were hardly anything of the sort.
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/07/15 at 11:25 PM
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dick Cheney is Living Like It’s 2003
That former VP Dick Cheney goes on the slowly sinking media vessel called Meet the Press to try and air out his recently exposed dirty laundry seems less surprising when one just gives in and accepts that in Cheney’s mind, it is always February 2003, and we are in the business of selling the Iraq War. In the Cheneyverse, 9/11 has happened so recently that no one really questions whether the government is meaningfully pursuing the people responsible, and leeway has been ever-so-fraughtfully-given. Because a lot of people trusted the intelligence given out by the Bush/Cheney administration at the time as being meaningful in a post 9/11 context.
Does former VP Cheney wonder where Tim Russert has gone (RIP)? Does he wonder why he himself isn’t trolling down to the West Wing anymore, and why his access to intelligence has dried up? I can’t imagine, but mentally, he seems to be living in the first handful of months prior to the invasion of Iraq, because he’s still selling that piece hard. And all the tactics that bought that sweet lying trash that made that war plausible. Here’s some of that:
In fact, he seemed to suggest that if some innocent people were tortured, it doesn’t matter, because the program still overall has had what he believes to be a successful result. “It worked. It worked now for 15 years,” he explained. “We’ve avoided another mass-casualty attack against the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I’d do it again in a minute.”
Todd pointed out that the intelligence reports that the White House was receiving about the effectiveness of the torture techniques were coming from the same intelligence sources that were wrong about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. But Cheney defended the entire process: “I know what they were asked to do and I know what they did,” he assured. “And I’m perfectly comfortable that they deserve our praise. They deserve to be decorated. They don’t deserve to be harassed.”
“If” innocent people were tortured, like the 20% of the people who were swept up and had no reason to be interrogated or held, let alone tortured. It worked for 15 years—if the program of torture started after 9/11/2001, then that would be 13 years—unless we started fucking up people before 9/11 (you know, the way warrantless wiretapping started before 9/11). When he says “we” captured Bin Laden, I am saddened to think he might believe he was still in office at the time—what does he mean by “we”? The “guys who were responsible” for 9/11 mostly went down with the planes. The masterminds got picked up haphazardly. But we know now that torture, like waterboarding, which Cheney is so proud of, did not stop any “ticking time bombs”. The interrogators asked about al-Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein. And that wasn’t connected. It was bullshit. And thousands of US servicemembers and contractors died or were maimed, or were so profoundly altered by what they’d seen they suicided because of our war there—and how is Iraq doing today?
It’s been eleven years since this idiot administration tried to sell us on a yellowcake fraud, aluminum tubes and a diorama of doom. We’ve had plenty of time to figure out that so much of this was fake. And here is Cheney, stuck in 2003, telling us it was all real and necessary. Acting as if he believed all of it, then and now. Either he is a brutally stupid incompetent gullible shit for brains, or he is the most brazen fraud that has ever strutted across the Sunday chat-show stage. In either event, I do not see why he pollutes our airwaves. If anyone thinks he’ll say one thing new, they are foolish. He’s hanging with his lie.
He ought to be hanged by it. (Figuratively—I’ll say “figuratively”.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/15/14 at 12:29 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
This is Not What “Exceptional” Means
The release of the Senate Select Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program reveals things we basically already knew or should have known about the CIA program—it was worse than reported, it yielded little to no useful information, and it was run by liars who repeatedly tried to project that they were not performing acts of torture when they were in all actuality, textbook acts of torture.
There are people who seem to believe that releasing this information somehow endangers Americans here and abroad. Since this report details things that actually happened, I would say that the actual program of torture run by an agency of the United States government is what was actually harmful. Much of the information had already been reported in news publications; this report is just filing in the blanks. For that matter, this is just what was unclassified after certain details had been scrubbed, leaving the possibility that there are things yet worse that we don’t know—but what is here is pretty starkly disgusting.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/10/14 at 12:13 AM
Thursday, October 09, 2014
ISIS Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out
It’s apropos that Rep Duncan Hunter’s (R-Hell, Yeah!) official website banner features a California skyscape dotted with hot air balloons . . . just sayin’.
In case you’re not that familiar with Hunter he’s the son of Duncan L Hunter (R-CA), former US congressman (1981-2009) and Republican presidential hopeful, for about two straw polls, in 2008. Hunter, Sr., a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, rose to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
Hunter, Jr. slid right into Dad’s seat, in 2009—House Armed Services Committee assignment and all—and has taken up many of Dad’s causes, as well—things like fetal person-hood, walling in the southern border, voting down international trade agreements and keeping the Military-Industrial Complex humming.
Hunter, Jr. has only been in Congress for five years but recognizes the value of the sound byte and appears to be Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s go-to-guy on things military or national security-ish. Hunter is equally comfortable, though, with others much further to the right like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Hunter has had quite a few chinwags with Perkins over issues homosexual like the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/09/14 at 04:55 PM
Friday, September 19, 2014
One Rather Expected More—Or Not
Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Monday, August 04, 2014
Spooks Lying? What Next . . .
After five years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is about to release a 6,300 page report that concludes that the CIA misled government officials and the public about its War on Terror interrogation program by downplaying its methods and overstating the value of prisoners and the intelligence gathered from them.
In some cases, the CIA credited “enhanced interrogation” methods for eliciting intelligence that detainees had provided willingly long before they were tortured.
Several officials who have read the document said some of its most troubling sections deal not with detainee abuse but with discrepancies between the statements of senior CIA officials in Washington and the details revealed in the written communications of lower-level employees directly involved.
Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/04/14 at 12:29 PM
Sunday, November 10, 2013
So Let Me Get This Straight, 60 Minutes…
The respected tv news show runs a story about Benghazi, which Lara Logan says she worked on for a year, which basically melted like a snowball in a saucepan in something like 48 hours, and the correction and apology takes up just a couple minutes at the end of the show, and that is that?
Okay. We have a story that seems to have consisted of one flawed source with no corroborating eyewitness, whose book has been recalled and will be pulped, I guess. And there must be some indignity, no doubt, in 60 Minutes now being fact-checked by WND. They point out that Dylan Davies, who went by a pseudonym “for his protection” in the piece and as a nom de plume, was mentioned as having left town in a Telegraph story a year ago. This is really rather embarrassing for them, you’d think?
Or maybe they’d simply prefer not to dwell on how they got this one wrong. I do not know that it’s true, as fired former 60 Minutes exec Mary Mapes speculates, that they did this story specifically to appeal to a right wing audience, but I agree with the lesson that this is “instructive”, in the sense that just because there are people pointing to something, doesn’t mean that something is really there. I also don’t know whether a former Fox News honcho now with CBS had much to do with green-lighting the piece, except to agree that it is fascinating how stories can seem to serve certain biases, hm?
The mea culpa here seems a bit insufficient in this case particularly, though, in that the ongoing appearance of a bigger story has been the basis for a certain senator holding up Obama administration nominees--not that the spoiling of this particular line of inquiry has any effect. But all the same—if the organization is interested in getting it right, and fails, maybe they should try caring about making it right?
(And as an aside, regarding Sen. Graham’s continued quest to appear relevant in the face of his primary challenges, would it be entirely possible for him to appear actively obstructive if not foolhardy if his stand continued to turn up nothing of note? After all, if the Administration’s position as of 9/12/12 was no different than what anyone else knew at the time, you’ve not really got evidence of a cover-up at all, so much as the Administration’s failure to be omniscient—a standard that most people would agree is mighty high to expect of mere humans. I dunno. Maybe Graham is a romantic at heart and has always been prone to the menacing of aerial turbines. But this is shall we say, a Quixotic act—not realpolitik.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/10/13 at 11:24 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Bienvenue au Canada, Grand Dick
Now that Dick Cheney has a new heart, he’s ready to resume his role of international power-broker who leaps tall buildings in a single bound. As such, he’s taking his act on the road to renew old acquaintances with the global moneyed elite who might come in handy when La Lizzie starts campaigning hard in Wyoming.
It’s not easy, though, for a convicted war criminal to globe-trot. You are forgiven if you spend most of your time in America the Beautiful and that little-known factoid escaped your attention. But, actually yes, this all happened, last year.
Per Foreign Policy Journal:
In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.
Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.
The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/30/13 at 11:07 AM
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
There are worse things than forgetting.
Via Gawker, here’s a candidate for the most crass corporate co-opting of 9/11 ever. With the exception of the event’s hostile takeover by Bush, Inc., of course.
As I was dropping my teenager off at school this morning, the radio announcer spoke the date, September 11th. The kiddo groaned, “Oh god, is it 9/11 today? That means we’ll have to watch boring movies and talk about 9/11 in every class. Again.”
She doesn’t remember 9/11, of course. She was a toddler at the time, and now she’s a lanky high schooler. 9/11 feels like a dim artifact of history to her, like the Kennedy assassination felt to us Gen Xers—an event that scarred our parents but was experienced by us kids as an iconic video. Maybe this is a good thing.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 09/11/13 at 02:52 PM
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
This weekend, President Obama partially convinced John “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb” McCain and his zany sidekick, Lindsey “More Butch than 10,000 Teabaggers” Graham, of the wisdom of his Syria intervention policy. The hotheaded duo imply they were lured onboard by assurances of extra ka-booms, covert operations and other cool war-stuff executed by not-their-kids.
Good for Obama for passing the Syria hot potato to Congress, as is right and proper. But this Obama supporter will be rooting for Congress to say no. Having McCain on the “other side” makes that a little easier.
McCain, who had previously rejected the administration’s Syria intervention proposals because he deemed them too soft, and who surely knows that the public will reject a full-blown war as too hard, requires a war footing that his Goldilocks sense gauges as “just right.” McCain and Graham’s comments after their weekend meeting with the president signaled their tentative willingness to climb into the sack: McCain said a vote against the authorization of force resolution “would be catastrophic” and “undermine the credibility of the United States.”
But as Steve Benen notes, that rationale doesn’t make much sense:
By his reasoning, any time any president prepares to use military force abroad, Congress must agree or risk undermining the credibility of the United States. But what if lawmakers have sincere policy differences with an administration and they’re right to oppose intervention abroad? To hear McCain tell it, that wouldn’t much matter—lawmakers should feel an obligation to approve a resolution anyway.
And, as Benen also noted, McCain and his South Carolina appendage appear poised to withdraw their support if they deem the strike plans insufficiently warlike after the details emerge. Sadly, this pair of Klingon wannabes is what passes for foreign policy “wise men” in the Republican Party.
With Boehner now signaling his willingness to go along, it’s clear that Obama has dialed the correct sleep number into the GOPosturepedic—so far. How far rightward is he willing to be dragged to keep their support, if at all? Launching an attack on another country invites all sorts of unpredictable outcomes, which is one reason it truly should be a last resort. Aligning an agenda with the likes of McCain, Graham, Boehner, etc., also has all kinds of potential for blow-back. Still thinking this is a mistake.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 09/03/13 at 11:04 AM
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Yelling Theater In A Crowded Fire
Self-criticism: any Blingee about hot air and hysteria needs moar Tom “Not Just Bloviating” Friedman:
Imagine how many real restrictions to our beautiful open society we would tolerate if there were another attack on the scale of 9/11.
To be fair, Friedman was without an Iranian cab-driver to help him find his way through his own tightened sphincter at the time.
And from the “Should Know Better” wing of the Department Of Garbage Analysis Department: This country makes the Stasi look like a bunch of Boy Scouts! That comes at 55.23 of this Democracy Now clip, in which Hedges, author of the compelling and possibly all-too-self-descriptive “War Is A Force Which Gives Us Meaning,” also avers that “this is far beyond a reasonable debate,” which Mr. Hedges’ co-guest, reasonable debater, Administration opacity critic and former Obama boss-o-him Professor Geoffrey Stone, might have guessed already, if his comment section at Huffpo is any indication.
TRAITORHEROGOATWORSHIP! The contents of Amy Goodman’s vacuum bag to anyone who can’t guess the civil libertastic subject of this encomium at the charnel house formerly known as the comments section of Talking Points Memo:
It IS what it is; but clearly, most of the posters on this site are more invested in defending their team than being moved by Truth. So they shoot the messenger… it’s like crucifying The Christ, all over again.
(I admit to loving how obnoxious this woman is: to another woman who suggested not letting this scandal keep us home in November: “You’d be more amusing as a cheerleader if you wore pom poms on your breasts and bounced around.” Superciliousness, implacable belief in her own infallibility, allegiance to No Mere Human, reminds me of something..P….PU….what could it be? It’s so familiar…sounds like PURE? PURE something? PURE-MA!)
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Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/12/13 at 04:18 PM
Sunday, June 09, 2013
NSA Superhero Flees to His Fortress Of Pillowtude
Did you hear the one about the technical assistant for the CIA who leaked government documents to his favorite libertarian before holing up in a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, and stuffs pillows under his door because he thinks that will foil eavesdropping?
Meet Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old making 200 grand a year to work for Booz-Allen, who had a pretty cushy life in Hawaii before blowing the whistle on practices he thought needed airing, and flying to a city he deemed up to his standards for freedom, within that two-systems-one-country-that-country-being-China sort of thing.
I was at work on a post about the extreme ugliness being displayed all over the internet the past few days, which may yet appear with its attendant Blingee, but of course Mr. Snowden and Glennzilla had to step on my Blingee with their big scoop. Thanks, fellas! Really, reopening and examining the Patriot Act seems like an excellent idea to me, even if the messenger(s) come with shipping containers full of baggage, but Glenn, as an expat and a lawyer, don’t you think you should have informed your idealistic young source that Hong Kong and the U.S. have an extradition treaty? Whoops. What, weren’t the hotels in Taiwan good enough?
**Update: Of course he’s a Ron Paul supporter! What else would he be?
(Title edited to reflect author’s slow realization that maybe she WANTS search engines to find this post. Doh!)
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/09/13 at 03:03 PM