Right Thinking From The Left Coast
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What the Founders Did
by Lee

From a comment left by reader Howco:

What im actually surprised about is that you are JUST hearing about this type of interrogation, and you think we haven’t been doing this since oh the revolutionary war.

Let’s look at the truth.

The US has (or had) a worldwide reputation for promoting human rights. That reputation was earned by its struggle - often against itself, as was the case during the fight against slavery, and the civil rights movement - to protect individuals against systems that would otherwise mistreat them.

The roots of that reputation run deep, reaching back to the Enlightenment ideals that gave birth to the essential protections of the Constitution. But a lot of countries merely talked the talk at the time of their birth - there’s a mile-wide gap between the high-flying rhetoric of the French Revolution and the blood bath that followed.

But George Washington and his compatriots took their founding principles quite seriously. On Aug. 11, 1775, Washington sent a blistering letter to a British counterpart, Thomas Gage. He complained about gravely wounded and untreated American soldiers being thrown into a jail with common criminals.

Eight days later, despite threatening to treat British soldiers with equal cruelty, Washington admitted that he could not and would not retaliate in kind, writing: “Not only your Officers, and Soldiers have been treated with a Tenderness due to Fellow Citizens, & Brethren; but even those execrable Parricides [traitors] whose Counsels & Aid have deluged their Country with Blood, have been protected from the Fury of a justly enraged People.”

Imagine that; a government on the run fighting a desperate war against a hated enemy and treating captured prisoners with compassion and decency. No doubt many of the captured British troops had intelligence that might have been useful to the Revolutionary cause - still, decent treatment was the norm. In the current war on terror, that would be described as being “soft.”

Alexander Hamilton, while commanding soldiers against the British, prevented what could have been a massacre. After the siege of Yorktown, one of Hamilton’s captains, eager for revenge against the British, was about to run a prisoner through with his bayonet.

Hamilton stepped in personally to stop the man, and later reported proudly: “Incapable of imitating examples of barbarity and forgetting recent provocations, the soldiers spared every man who ceased to resist.”

The Founding Fathers didn’t treat prisoners decently solely because they were decent people. Although their writings and ideals reveal a constant and passionate interest in essential human rights, it’s important to remember that they were also pragmatists. They understood that the Revolutionary cause had to take and hold the moral high ground in order to rally popular support and exhaust the British giant. And they knew that their necks were very literally on the line were they to be captured by the British. Mistreatment of British soldiers would come back on their heads a thousandfold.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to be ignorant of it.

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 06:29 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Terrorism 101
by Lee

Here’s even more proof that Bush’s incompetence and ineptitude have turned a legitimate war on terror into the world’s largest terrorist training school.

The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.

Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. In the Jordanian airport plot, the authorities said they believed that the bomb maker flew from Baghdad to prepare the explosives for Mr. Darsi.

Estimating the number of fighters leaving Iraq is at least as difficult as it has been to count foreign militants joining the insurgency. But early signs of an exodus are clear, and officials in the United States and the Middle East say the potential for veterans of the insurgency to spread far beyond Iraq is significant.

Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, general director of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, said in a recent interview that “if any country says it is safe from this, they are putting their heads in the sand.”

But wait, it gets better.

In an April 17 report written for the United States government, Dennis Pluchinsky, a former senior intelligence analyst at the State Department, said battle-hardened militants from Iraq posed a greater threat to the West than extremists who trained in Afghanistan because Iraq had become a laboratory for urban guerrilla tactics.

“There are some operational parallels between the urban terrorist activity in Iraq and the urban environments in Europe and the United States,” Mr. Pluchinsky wrote. “More relevant terrorist skills are transferable from Iraq to Europe than from Afghanistan to Europe,” he went on, citing the use of safe houses, surveillance, bomb making and mortars.

A top American military official who tracks terrorism in Iraq and the surrounding region, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said: “Do I think in the future the jihad will be fueled from the battlefield of Iraq? Yes. More so than the battlefield of Afghanistan.”

Getting the hell out of Iraq isn’t a surrender thing, it’s a strategic thing.  Rather than “fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” we’re “training them there so we have to fight them in every city in the world.”

The Bush Legacy, ladies and gentlemen.

Update: Here’s a question for you to think about.  One of the things I despise about liberalism is its insistence on sticking to a social program, even when it can clearly be demonstrated that not only isn’t the program solving the problem it was meant to help, it is actually making it worse.  Look at welfare for just one example.  Five trillion dollars later and we haven’t come one iota closer to “solving” poverty.  In fact we’ve made it worse, with generation after generation of families locked in a cycle of dependence, suckling at the ample teat of government for their every need.  The black family has been destroyed, with over 80% of babies growing up in fatherless homes.  This is all the result of welfare, and liberals STILL claim that the problem is that we need more money and resources thrown at the problem.

Sound familiar?

I am as in favor of killing our enemies as anyone else.  But if it can be shown that the prosecution of the war on terror is actually antithetical to the goals of that war, doesn’t it make sense to completely reevaluate your tactics?  If your goal is to do something about poverty, supporting an expansion of the welfare state is the worst possible thing you could do.  And, if you actually want to kill and defeat our Islamofascist enemies, is giving them the world’s largest terrorist training school really the best thing to do in furtherance of that goal?

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 11:22 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Verschärfte Vernehmung
by Lee

I’m not even going to bother excerpting this.  Just go read the whole thing.

No doubt you true-blue red-blooded Amurkan patriots will have no problem with this at all.

Update: Lots of commenting going on here today.  Interestingly, not on this post.  What’s the matter, pro-torture folks.  Cat got your tongue?

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 11:10 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Clem Almighty
by Lee

The Dumbest People in America got together to celebrate the opening of the Grand Idiocy Center in Kentucky.

The museum opened at 10 a.m. with about 500 people in line and with license plates from 31 states and two Canadian provinces in the parking lot of about 600 spaces.

“The guests were very happy with the museum experience,” Looy said. “Of course, we had some naysayers come through and engage us in conversation, and that’s fine - we want them.

“We want skeptics and non-Christians to come here - we encourage that,” Looy said.

“I enjoyed it - it gives a lot of detail,” said Pam Bluhm of Plain City, Ohio, after she viewed the exhibits. “We brought several kids, they’re doing reports on it for school, so they took a lot of pictures, are taking notes.

“It helps get the younger kids back into staying with their religion,” Bluhm said.

“It’s really impressive - and it really gives the impression that they’re talking about science at some point,” said critic Lawrence Krauss, professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best, “I’d give it a 4 for technology, 5 for propaganda,” Krauss said. As for content, “I’d give it a negative 5.”

But wait, it gets better.

“ ‘What do you mean by mainstream science?’ is what I would say,” said Answers in Genesis president and co-founder Ken Ham. “By mainstream science, I would understand, ‘Oh, you study cells, you study genetics, you study the physical laws.’

“What we’re showing here is our scientists are mainstream scientists, and mainstream science confirms the Bible’s history - that’s what we’re saying,” Ham said. “I would say mainstream science is what this place is all about.”

“Most mainstream scientists aren’t atheists,” countered Martha Heil, editor and strategic planner with the American Institute of Physics. “Most mainstream scientists belong to one religion or another.

“Scientists of all faiths do great science,” Heil said. “The processes of science are built so that you leave your (religious) affiliation - just like you leave your partisanship for your favorite football or baseball team - at the door.

“Unfortunately, in this museum, they’ve started with a conclusion and gone and looked for facts that support that - and that’s not science,” Heil said.

“Right,” agreed Riehemann, standing beside her. “It’s just like the sophomore physics major who says, ‘I can’t solve this problem,’ I look in the back of the book, I see the answer that I want, and now I’ll do just any kind of manipulation to get that answer.”

But this is my favorite part.

Other exhibits showed dinosaurs aboard Noah’s Ark, and asserted that no animals, including dinosaurs, were meat-eaters until after Adam committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden.

“Before man’s fall,” according to one exhibit, “animals were vegetarians. In a ‘very good’ creation, no animal would die, so there were no carnivores.”

That’s right, folks.  On Noah’s Ark there were two Tyrannosaurus Rex, two brontosaurus, two velociraptors, and two mastadons.  And since the flood took place long after Adam committed the fall of man, they must have been carnivorous.  I wonder what they ate?

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 10:59 AM in Science and Technology  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Your Government At Work
by Lee

Here’s some interesting information, based on an “analysis of millions of detailed records obtained from the Immigration Courts (EOIR) under the Freedom of Information Act.” Their findings:

Despite repeated claims by high officials of the Bush Administration that fighting terrorism has been the central mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it began operating, the data show that in the last three years a claim of terrorism was made against only 12 (0.0015%) out of 814,073 individuals against whom the DHS has filed charges in the immigration courts.

A separate, but somewhat broader, grouping of immigration court cases concern what are called “national security” charges. Here, an examination of the data in the FY 2004 to 2006 period revealed that such charges were made against only 114, or 0.014% of the 800,000-plus individuals. When it comes to actual removals, the record is even smaller, with DHS being credited for only 37 such cases in the three year period.

Similarly, while combating human traffickers, drug dealers, and other kinds of traditional criminals has also been repeatedly proclaimed as a central mission of the immigration enforcement agencies within the DHS, the records show that these kinds of allegations were made against only 13 out of 100 of all individuals charged in the courts since FY 2004.

In fact, according to the detailed case-by-case information obtained from the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), practically all the charges — 86.5% of them — involved a variety of immigration violations such as entering the U.S. without an inspection, not having a valid immigrant visa, or overstaying a student visa.

DHS, keeping Amurka safe from terrists.  And by terrists I mean Messicans.

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 09:15 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (6) TrackbacksPermalink

So Long CIndy
by Lee

I don’t buy this shit for a second.

Cindy Sheehan, the soldier’s mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush’s ranch, said Tuesday she’s done being the public face of the movement.

“I’ve been wondering why I’m killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush,” Sheehan told The Associated Press while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

“I’m going home for awhile to try and be normal,” she said.

In what she described as a “resignation letter,” Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the “Daily Kos” blog: “Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

“It’s up to you now.”

This scumbag has spent the last few years denigrating anyone who was pro-military or pro-war, hobnobbed with Hugo Chavez and other dictators, and ben schmoozed by the best that the elite Manhattan and Hollywood glitterati scene.  The idea that she’s just going to pack it all in, and give up the activism and fame and idol-worship, is a total lie.

And note the disappointment in the Democrats.  She, along with a whole lot of other liberals, are shocked and disillusioned that the Democrats didn’t go charging into office and end the war.  You’d have to be retarded to think that they were ever going to do so.

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 09:08 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Feast of Twelve Punishments
by Lee

If this fuck had been an America, he would have gotten 10 years at Club Fed.

China’s former top drug regulator was sentenced to death Tuesday in an unusually harsh punishment for taking bribes to approve substandard medicines, including an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths.

Seeking to address broadening concerns over food, the government also announced plans for its first recall system for unsafe products.

The developments are among the most dramatic steps Beijing has taken to address domestic and international alarm over shoddy and unsafe Chinese goods - from pet food ingredients and toothpaste mixed with induso trial chemicals to tainted antibiotics.

Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court convicted Zheng Xiaoyu of taking bribes in cash and gifts worth more than $832,000 while he was director of the State Food and Drug Administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Those bribes allowed eight companies to get around drug approval standards, it said.

Zheng also failed to make “careful arrangements for the supervision of medicine production, which is of critical importance to people’s lives,” Xinhua said, citing the court. Under his watch, six types of medicine approved were fake and pharmaceutical companies got away with using false documents to apply for approvals, it said. No other details were given.

Zheng’s acts “greatly undermined ... the efficiency of China’s drug monitoring and supervision, endangered public life and health and had a very negative social impact,” the court said.

The punishment was appropriate given the “huge amount of bribes involved and the great damage inflicted on the country and the public,” Xinhua said.

On some level I’d love to see our legislators taken out and hung when they engage in corrupt behavior.  But then that would make us no better than China.

Posted by Lee on 05/29/07 at 08:45 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thoughts from the Front LInes
by Lee

A thought for Memorial Day.

Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

“In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place,” he said. “There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.”

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

Don’t think of the guys from WWII.  Think of the guys over there fighting and dying right now.  Things like these left-wing America-hating pansies.

A small minority of Delta Company soldiers — the younger, more recent enlistees in particular — seem to still wholeheartedly support the war. Others are ambivalent, torn between fear of losing more friends in battle, longing for their families and a desire to complete their mission.

With few reliable surveys of soldiers’ attitudes, it is impossible to simply extrapolate from the small number of soldiers in Delta Company. But in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers over a one-week period with this 83-man unit, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.

They had seen shadowy militia commanders installed as Iraqi Army officers, they said, had come under increasing attack from roadside bombs — planted within sight of Iraqi Army checkpoints — and had fought against Iraqi soldiers whom they thought were their allies.

“In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,” said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. “Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.”

Or maybe these guys, who “just don’t understand” that “these people are trying to kill us.”

“Before that fight, there were a few true believers.” Captain Rogers said. “After the 29th, I don’t think you’ll find a true believer in this unit. They’re paratroopers. There’s no question they’ll fulfill their mission. But they’re fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command.”

To Sergeant O’Flarity, the Iraqi security forces are militias beholden to local leaders, not the Iraqi government. “Half of the Iraqi security forces are insurgents,” he said.

As for his views on the war, Sergeant O’Flarity said, “I don’t believe we should be here in the middle of a civil war.”

Am I the only one who is more or less ready to declare this one a loss?  We need to fall back to Kurdistan and the South, and let the interior kill each other.  Iraq is over.  We failed.

Update: Many people did not care for this post falling on Memorial Day.  A sample:

This is the day that we honor those who have served and fallen for the country and try to remove politics from the day of reflection.  To put up this kind of post today is, to my mind, crass politicization of the day.

Two things in response.  First, I only comment on the news, I don’t decide when it is published.  I read this earlier this morning, so I commented on it.  If I’d read it yesterday or tomorrow I would have commented on it then.  There was no machinations behind the timing of this post.

That being said, I think that Memorial Day, of all days, is the perfect day to discuss issues like this.  I’m not trying to politicize anything, far from it.  I’m trying to remove the politics from it.

Look, Bush is playing politics.  He can’t admit that this war is all but lost.  If he does then he gets known forever as a president who lost a war, and there have been precious few in that group.  So, while an objective, apolitical analysis very well may conclude that the time is ripe to exit, the rah-rah “stay the course” bullshit that we’ve been hearing from this administration is the ultimate politicization of the war.  I think the soldiers deserve better than that.

I’ve been in the military, as have a number of other people on this blog.  Everyone who enlists raises their right hand and swears to give their life if needed.  We need to honor the sacrifice of those brave men and women who have made that ultimate sacrifice.  But we’re also in a unique position right now with Iraq.  We can look back in history and see that, in general, the lives lost in the prosecution of WWII were worth the sacrifice, and the lives lost in the prosecution of the Vietnam War were not.  The distinctions between these two wars are many, but basically they differ in the righteousness of their goals and the success of the mission.  In Iraq, what are our goals?  Think about it, and forget what people have said our goals have been up to this point.  What are our goals now, and what is the likelihood of success?  Is the righteousness of those goals worth the lives that will be spent achieving them?  Is the chance of success great enough that the expenditure of lives will contribute to a chance at victory?

What I’m asking on this Memorial Day is, in addition to thinking of the valor and sacrifice of America’s fallen heroes past, why not take a moment and think about the fallen heroes of tomorrow?  How many more heroes are going to be created in this war?  And, on Memorial Day in 2027, will we look back on the fallen heroes of 2007 and 2008 and 2009 as being the necessary cost of a righteous, achievable goal?  Or will we view them as the unfortunate victims of a president too weak to admit that he had failed?

Posted by Lee on 05/28/07 at 02:31 PM in Deep Thoughts  • (8) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Lives of Torturers
by Lee

The post below, Just Ask Aleksandr, was linked to by The Politburo Diktat, who takes the same position I do.  There are a couple of amazing comments in that post, both from someone named Alon Levy.  His first comment:

Just last night I watched The Lives of Others, which is about a Stasi interrogator determined to catch defectors and dissidents. What struck me about the movie is that the Stasi doesn’t use torture in it. It wiretaps people and uses intimidation tactics, but when it needs to interrogate, it uses standard psychological techniques to break people: “We already know XYZ,” asking the same questions over and over to see if the answers change, threats of prolonged imprisonment, sleep deprivation.
At least, that’s when it’s interested in finding out who’s trying to defect to the West and who’s planning to embarrass the regime. Presumably, when it’s interested in show trials, it does engage in torture.

I have wanted to see The Lives of Others for quite some time.  Here’s the trailer, links to a ton of reviews, and the film’s Wikipedia page.  It hasn’t been released on DVD yet, but I’ve got it added to my Netflix queue.

So, the Stasi, the East German secret police, refrains from torture and uses psychological techniques.  Could this be because the Stasi were inherently moral?  Of course not, they were a communist police state agency.  Why would they have refrained from torture?  Well, they didn’t.  They tortured people when they wanted to inflict pain, or when they wanted a “confession.” When they wanted actionable, useful information they used other techniques.  Alon Levy then sums up this thought quite nicely.

You know, if the Stasi doesn’t use a technique whenever it needs to produce results rather than confessions, it’s a pretty good bet that it doesn’t work.

Yeah, but it doesn’t have that “screaming Arab” component to it that the true blue red blooded Amurkan patriots believe must be at the heart of any successful interrogation.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/07 at 01:17 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just Ask Aleksandr
by Lee

As many of you know, there has been a great debate going on in this post on the subject of torture.  Here’s one comment from Dakrat which I would like to address, since I think he hit the nail on the head.

It seems that both Lee and John are arguing past each other.  I believe the reason for this is that Lee and John have different definitions of torture.

Correct me if I am wrong.  The current administration from the top down supports--for lack of a better term--enhanced interrogation techniques.  To my knowledge this includes…

1.  Sleep deprivation
2.  Stress positions
3.  Extreme heat and cold
4.  Waterboarding

It appears that John does not consider the above to be torture.  Therefore, according to John, Bush doesn’t actively support torture.

It appears that Lee does consider the above torture.  Therefore, according to Lee, John supports Bush’s torture.

Many of you might be familiar with a man named Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  He introduced the world to the Soviet gulags through his writings, primarily his Gulag Archipelago.  This is a man who knew torture, real torture, at the hands of the Soviet regime, one of the most evil creations in human history.  Here’s an excerpt from Gulag Archipelago titled The Simplest Methods which Break the Will.  In it he mentions most of the things that real true-blue, red blooded Amurkan patriots have convinced themselves isn’t torture.  Let’s quote a few choice excerpts.  Remember the woman who acted all sexy and smeared what was supposed to be menstrual blood on a captive?  That was done by the Soviets.

Here is how F. I. V. from Krasnogorsk, Moscow Province, was interrogated. {This was reported by I. A. P__ev.} During the interrogation, the interrogator, a woman, undressed in front of him by stages (a striptease!), all the time continuing the interrogation as if nothing were going on. She walked about the room and came close to him and tried to get him to give in. Perhaps this satisfied some personal quirk in her, but it may also have been cold-blooded calculation, an attempt to get the accused so muddled that he would sign.

There have also been numerous reports of our interrogators threatening the families of captives.  Again, the Soviets thought that was Jim Dandy.

Playing on one’s affection for those one loved was a game that worked beautifully on the accused as well. It was the most effective of all methods of intimidation. One could break even a totally fearless person through his concern for those he loved. (Oh, how foresighted was the saying: “A man’s family are his enemies.") Remember the Tatar who bore his sufferings-his own and those of his wife-but could not endure his daughter’s! In 1930, Rimalis, a woman interrogator, used to threaten: “We’ll arrest your daughter and lock her in a cell with syphilitics!” And that was a woman!

How about forced standing?  That couldn’t possibly be torture, could it?  The Soviets would never employ something so lame, would they?

Then there is the method of simply compelling a prisoner to stand there. This can be arranged so that the accused stands only while being interrogated-because that, too, exhausts and breaks a person down. It can be set up in another way-so that the prisoner sits down during interrogation but is forced to stand up between interrogations. (A watch is set over him, and the guards see to it that he doesn’t lean against the wall, and if he goes to sleep and falls over he is given a kick and straightened up.) Sometimes even one day of standing is enough to deprive a person of all his strength and to force him to testify to anything at all.

How about cold rooms?  Surely keeping someone freezing isn’t torture, right?

In the Chernovtsy Prison after the war, Masha G. was kept barefooted for two hours and up to her ankles in icy water -confess! (She was eighteen years old, and how she feared for her feet! She was going to have to live with them a long time.)

How about sleep deprivation?  That’s not torture, is it?

Sleeplessness, which they quite failed to appreciate in medieval times. They did not understand how narrow are the limits within which a human being can preserve his personality intact. Sleeplessness (yes, combined with standing, thirst, bright light, terror, and the unknown -what other tortures are needed!?) befogs the reason, undermines the will, and the human being ceases to be himself, to be his own “L” (As in Chekhov’s “I Want to Sleep,” but there it was much easier, for there the girl could lie down and slip into lapses of consciousness, which even in just a minute would revive and refresh the brain.) A person deprived of sleep acts half-unconsciously or altogether unconsciously, so that his testimony cannot be held against him.

… Sleeplessness was a great form of torture: it left no visible marks and could not provide grounds for complaint even if an inspection-something unheard of anyway-were to strike on the morrow.

… The above method was further implemented by an assembly line of interrogators. Not only were you not allowed to sleep, but for three or four days shifts of interrogators kept up a continuous interrogation.

So, do these techniques constitute torture?  The Soviets sure as hell thought they did.  So did Pol Pot and Mao and every other example of the worst that humanity can produce.  And now, sadly, the United States can add itself to that list.

When this torture story first broke lo these many years ago, I took much the same position as many people here—that these activities did not constitute torture.  Then I put my own personal biases and feelings aside and actually learned about torture, about the laws we wrote and signed outlawing these types of barbaric practices.  Then I learned just how common they were in practice by “torture” nations.  And I realized that the United States, by engaging in these activities, has now joined the ignoble list of nations with official state sanction of torture.

I have to run out now for a couple of hours, but I’ll have plenty more to say on this subject when I return.

Posted by Lee on 05/26/07 at 01:19 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, May 25, 2007

Trans-Hosers
by Lee

Belierve it or not, there is one municipality with the balls to tell the food nazis to go fuck themselves.  Ironically, it’s a city in that bastion of big government worship, Canada.

City council today defeated a motion that would have seen the city weigh in on healthy eating at local restaurants.

A proposal put forward by Bay Coun. Alex Cullen and approved earlier this month by the community and protective services committee, asked council to direct the medical officer of health, Dr. David Salisbury, to report to council on approaches to phase-out trans fats in the city’s food establishments.

Some councillors argued it just isn’t the city’s place to do that and the motion was defeated 12-8.

What a shame that so many others in their position caved, thus granting the wet dream of every vendor of fat-laden junk food in the world.  Kudos to the Canucks.

Posted by Lee on 05/25/07 at 01:34 PM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Snooze
by Lee

Shit, overslept, see you in a little while.  Open post.

Posted by Lee on 05/25/07 at 09:35 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Preemie Problem
by Lee

Michael Moore drags out the left’s favorite sawhorse—that the United States ranks 37th in quality of healthcare as tabulated by the UN.  One of the reasons for this, which will undoubtedly be pointed out by Mikey, is our awful infant mortality rate, which is tied with Malta and Slovenia.  This, clearly, is an indictment of our evil for-profit capitalist healthcare system right?  That’s the point Mike will make.  So, let’s get to the truth, so that you can explain Mike’s bullshit to all your left-wing friends after they see the movie.  Let’s look at this article in that notorious right-wing Bush-worshipping magazine Slate.  (All emphasis added.)

Infant deaths in poor nations are roughly six times more common than in developed areas and result mainly from easily treated infections like diarrhea in the first few months. By contrast, the majority of deaths in developed countries result from extreme prematurity or birth defects that kill a newborn in the first few days or weeks of life. According to a 2002 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least a third of all infant mortality in the United States arises from complications of prematurity; other studies assert the figure is closer to half. Thus—at the risk of oversimplifying—infant mortality in the United States principally is a problem of premature birth, which today complicates just over one in 10 pregnancies.

Hear that?  The problem isn’t that the babies which are being born are dying at a higher rate, it’s that we give birth to more premature babies, and therein lies the problem.

To reduce infant mortality, then, we need to prevent premature births, and if that fails, improve care of premature babies once born. (Prematurity is also linked to other problems; for example, it’s the leading cause of mental retardation and cerebral palsy in children.) But modern medicine isn’t good at preventing prematurity—just the opposite. Better and more affordable medical care actually has worsened the rate of prematurity, and likely the rate of infant mortality, by making fertility treatment widespread. According to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report, the numbers of women using assistive reproductive technology doubled from 1996 to 2002. At least half of their pregnancies culminated in multiple births (twins or more), which are at high risk of premature delivery.

Get that, Mikey?  It is because of our wealth and affluence that women are able to wait until their careers are established to start a family.  This increases the chances that the baby will be born prematurely.  Modern medical science, as the article says, just “isn’t good at preventing prematurity.”

I could quote the entire article, but you should read it yourself.  The problem isn’t that we don’t spend enough money on premature babies, it’s that we spend too much

Posted by Lee on 05/24/07 at 07:54 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Kent Was Right
by Lee

Vote Democrat for change.

The number of earmarks, in which lawmakers target funds to specific spending projects, exploded over the past decade from about 3,000 in 1996 to more than 13,000 in 2006, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most earmarks made it into appropriations bills or their accompanying conference reports without identifying their sponsors. Upon taking control of Congress after November’s midterm elections, Democrats vowed to try to halve the number of earmarks, and to require lawmakers to disclose their requests and to certify that the money they are requesting will not benefit them.

But the new majority is already skirting its own reforms.

Perhaps the biggest retreat from that pledge came this week, when House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) told fellow lawmakers that he intends to keep requests for earmarks out of pending spending bills, at least for now. Obey said the committee will deal with them at the end of the appropriations process in the closed-door meetings between House and Senate negotiators known as conference committees.

Democrats had complained bitterly in recent years that Republicans routinely slipped multimillion-dollar pet projects into spending bills at the end of the legislative process, preventing any chance for serious public scrutiny. Now Democrats are poised to do the same.

“I don’t give a damn if people criticize me or not,” Obey said.

But wait, there’s more!

“Absolutely nothing has changed,” said the Center for Defense Information’s Winslow T. Wheeler, a Senate appropriations and national security aide who worked for both Democrats and Republicans over three decades before stepping down in 2002. “The rhetoric has changed but not the behavior, and the behavior has gotten worse in the sense that while they are pretending to reform things, they are still groveling in the trough.”

Vote Democrat for change.  If by “change” you mean “more of the exact type of bloated corruption the GOP has been involved in for the past decade or so.”

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy just doesn’t work.” — Kent Brockman: 

Posted by Lee on 05/24/07 at 01:38 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

It Becomes A Reality
by Lee

What America-hating pinko commie fag subversive wrote this drivel?

As the investigator of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, I confronted the outcome of current interrogation policies. We undermine the values that built this country and the credibility of our armed forces when we stoop to the level of some of our enemies. The awful events at Abu Ghraib and their far-reaching consequences could have been prevented if we had adhered to the Geneva Conventions.

The policies that were implemented for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then revoked found their way into headquarters in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the staffs were contemplating draft policies. When no official direction was given, the interrogators referred to their experience in other situations, such as Guantanamo, or to the drafts they had seen. They acknowledged that they understood the Geneva Conventions and their Army training on this matter, but the pressure to uncover intelligence led them to the “new procedures.”

I support the conclusion of Gens. Krulak and Hoar: “The rules must be firm and absolute; if torture is broached as a possibility, it will become a reality.”

Captured U.S. service members will face increased risk if torture becomes a tool of our interrogators. Our research showed that torture may produce an answer but that the credibility of the answer will always be in doubt. When our service members become captives, we could pay a high price for questionable intelligence that we extracted through torture.

That was written by Gen. Paul Kern (Ret.), obviously an America-hating leftist who “just doesn’t understand” that “these people are trying to kill us.”

Note that the general’s arguments are identical to those I have made on this blog for the past three years or so.  As Orwell wrote, the point of torture is torture.  Dress it up how you like, but it’s all the same.  And, under this president, the United States has become a nation who tortures.

Posted by Lee on 05/24/07 at 09:20 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink
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