Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Another War Of Colonial Aggression, USA Water-tortured Filipinos

At first glance, you might think these troops are coming to the aid of the person on the ground, until you notice the troops holding down the victim, and the pleasure exhibited by the US soldier on the left. Calling water torture the "water cure" was a way of pointing out that the United States had a real Philippines problem (the Filipinos didn't want to be conquered and lorded over by Americans, either), which, among other horrors inflicted by US troops against countless victims, the "water cure" aided, by breaking the will of the Filipino insurgency.
It was over a century ago now, when the military forces of the United States of America engaged those of Spain, in a war for colonial possessions, that pretty much no American knows (much less recalls) happened.

But it was in that war that Cuba gained a kind of freedom—to be economically exploited and militarily bullied by the USA—until the Communist revolution would establish Casto’s rule. And it was in that war that Teddy Roosevelt obtained fame as a hero for a battle (San Juan Hill), mostly led by black troops he wasn’t commanding. The hero meme would help lift Roosevelt to the vice-presidency of the United States in 1900. The next year, after President Mckinley was assassinated, Roosevelt became President of the United States.

And—it was in that war that the USA took over the Philippines (named for King Phillip II of Spain). 

After America entered the war against Spain (in jingoistic thrall to the false notion Spain had blown up the US battleship The Maine) and in so doing became natural allies (of a sort) with the Cuban and Filipino revolutionaries, the USA made all kinds of promises or hints of them to all kinds of people America wished to temporarily use to win the war. 

That said, the USA had not exactly promised the Filipinos that once Spain was defeated, the Philippines would be set free from colonial exploitation. In fact, the American idea for post-war Philippines was not very different than George W. Bush’s idea for post-Saddam Iraq, a century later:
“[T]he mission of the United States [in the Philippines] is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.”
In other words, the USA was offering or actually forcing a trade to the Filipino people, eliminating the evil Spanish arbitrary colonial exploitation for the good American “mildly swaying” colonial exploitation.

The only problem was that the Filipino people were not interested in American mildly-swaying colonialism. Or any colonialism. They wanted real freedom. So they sized up the Americans as being just as bad as the Spanish and declared war on the American colonial occupation. 

American responded by enforcing its agreement—with Spain!—to replace Spanish rule in the Philippines with American rule.

The Philippines War was relatively short (especially by Afghanistan War measures), and so extremely brutal that it deeply divided Americans, for the short time Americans paid attention to it, on the questions of America’s role and conduct in the world. It wasn’t just a question of whether or not the USA should even be a colonial power. That was happening, regardless of what the American people wanted, and they were fine with it so long as they believed the people they were colonizing were getting freedom!?—or anyway a better deal.

But, in addition, Americans wanted to believe that when their brand of colonial conquerers went forth to slaughter and lord it over the colonized, they would being honor to the USA—unlike all those bad and inferior brands of European colonizers. 

Unfortunately, in the Philippines War, the natural beast of the American character was given full expression. In fact, so bad did things become in that war, that Americans took to regularly torturing and murdering any Filipinos who were or who just might be an insurgent.

Here is a description of American military behavior in the Philippines, from a letter published in The Philadelphia Ledger, on November 11, 1901:
 “The present war is no bloodless, fake, opera bouffe engagement. Our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, and children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people, from lads of ten up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino was little better than a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, whose best disposition was the rubbish heap. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men "to make them talk," have taken prisoners of people who had held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and, an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them up on a bridge, and shot them down one by one to drop into the water below and float down as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”
You may note in that the line about pumping salt water into men to obtain—well, whatever the torturers wanted really. In fact, the favorite form of torture employed by American troops was something sardonically referred to as “the water cure”. Here is a description of this practice, as detailed in testimony given before a 1901 Senate Committee investigating torture by US personnel in the Philippines:
“The presidente [‘native town officer’ captured by American troops] was tied and placed on his back under a water tank holding probably one hundred gallons. The faucet was opened and a stream of water was forced down or allowed to run down his throat. His throat was held so he could not prevent swallowing the water, so that he had to allow the water to run into his stomach. He was directly under the faucet with his mouth held wide ope. When he was filled with water, it was forced out of him by pressing a foot on his stomach or else with the hands. This continued from five to fifteen minutes.”
We are told “This unhappy man was taken down and asked more questions. He again refused to answer and then was treated again.”

After 15 minutes of that kind of torture, the “unhappy man” had nothing to say? Or knew nothing to say?

The description continues:
“One of the men of Eighteenth Infantry went to his saddle and took a syringe [not with a needle, but a tube] from the saddle bag, and another man was sent for a can of water holding about five gallons. Then a syringe was inserted one end in the water and the other end in his mouth. This time he was not bound but he was held by four or five men and the water was forced into his mouth from the can, through the syringe. The syringe did not seem to have the desired effect and the doctor ordered a second one. The man got a second syringe and that was inserted in his nose. Then the doctor ordered some salt and a handful of salt was procured and thrown into the water. Two syringes were then in operation. The interpreter stood over him in the meantime asking for this second information that was desired. Finally he gave in and gave the information.”
Then we are told: “On the strength of this confession a town of 12,000 inhabitants was burned down.”

Note above there is mention of “the doctor”. Yes, a Dr. Lyon, a contract doctor working for the United States Army was conducting the torture, just like these guys, contract psychologists working for the US military, were the architects and operators of the USA’s global torture regime during Bush’s war on Muslims.

As you can see, the Philippines War “water cure” sounds like a form of waterboarding. 

In fact, one of the CIA apologist talking points this week, has been to denounce the “moral equivalency” of claiming that waterboarding is anything like the water torture used, for example, by the Japanese Empire in WWII against American troops.

Here is Dick Cheney employing that talking point this Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press:
“It's a really cheap shot, Chuck, to even try to draw a parallel between the Japanese who were prosecuted for war crimes after World War II and what we did with waterboarding three individuals—all of whom were guilty and participated in the 9/11 attacks.”
Just a note on that before we continue, but the United States employed waterboarding torture on an unknown number of torture victims. While the CIA claims only three hi-value detainees were waterboarded, CIA’s credibility on many questions is pretty much non-existent. Note the “value” of the detainees, as alleged by CIA, was not even credible.

Further, as this article explains:
“One question raised related to waterboarding, and how many detainees were subjected to it. Although the CIA has said technique was only used on three detainees, the committee found a photograph during their investigation that showed a waterboard and buckets of water at a detention site where the CIA claims it never used the technique.”
Again, in terms of the moral equivalence talking point (i.e. the one regarding comparing modern CIA torture with Japanese WWII torture), this idea is filled out in more detail in a book published in 2010, by Marc Thiessen, whose title tells you a lot: Courting Disaster, How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack.

Thiessen argues that it is a “dishonest comparison” to view Imperial Japanese water torture as equivalent to American waterboarding:
“A careful examination of Japanese interrogation practices shows that the Japanese practiced a form of water torture called “pumping” in which they filled the victim’s stomach with water until his intestines and internal organs expanded painfully. Once the victim passed out from the pain, [the Japanese torturers] would press on the stomach to make him vomit up the water, reviving him—and then start the process all over again.”
A little later Thiessen tells us what another book on tortures, Torture and Democracy, has to say about “even more gruesome details of water torture as practiced by the Japanese”:
“Interrogators used hoses and teakettles to funnel water down the throat.”
You may recall above, American torturers in the Philippines War did exactly the same thing—using two separate “syringes” or hoses to funnel water down the throat, one hose through the mouth and one hose through the nose, of their victim.

As you can see, the description of the allegedly much worse Japanese Imperial water torture and the American “water cure” torture of Filipinos, which occurred 40 years earlier, are pretty much identical.

Now, you may say—well, waterboarding isn't like that—they aren't pouring water down people's throats. But the point is they don't have to. The purpose of all water tortures, including waterboarding, is to torture with great pain and great dread of death, chiefly from drowning. Waterboarding has often been called "simulated drowning", but of course that isn't really the case, as it is instead slow drowning.

In 1901, talking about American water tortures of the Filipinos, this description of the intended effect on victims sounds pretty familiar:
"The suffering was...that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown."
Of course, that isn't quite true—people certainly did drown, or were driven so close to it they died from the accumulated abuse of the torture inflicted.

The people who would parse the pain or the definition of torture, in order to excuse the CIA from its gross criminality in the Terror Wars, are overlooking—for many because they do not know it—the grand tradition of American water torture of helpless, and in many cases entirely innocent, human beings.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Proof Americans Are Psychopathic Monsters—Majority Says CIA Torture Justified

Americans have thrown away their principles of justice and civil liberty for all people of the world—not just Americans—and have become a torch-bearing mob, seeking monsters. In the process, they have become what they seek, what they perhaps always really were. This is the failure of the American experiment. The capitalists and the militarists have bent the USA and the American people to war, terror, and a love of evil for so long the nation has permanently lost its soul.
Or maybe it is just proof that, as asshole Professor Gruber said, Americans are just that stupid.

Could be both, that Americans are especially stupid monsters.

One thing is clear, a number of recent polls show that a majority of Americans, and a large majority of Republicans, say that CIA torture of prisoners and scores of innocent kidnap victims was justified—yes, that’s right.

A new Pew Poll on the question of whether CIA torture was justified shows 51% of all respondents saying torture is OK with them. The percentage of Republicans is much higher, at 75%, and 73% of Republicans said torturing people (including innocent people) helped stopped terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, a plurality in the Pew Poll said they thought releasing the Senate CIA Torture Report was the "wrong decision".

In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, the approval of torture is even stronger, with the total of Americans saying torture was justified coming in at 59%, a strong majority of Americans. The WaPo/ABC News poll suggests most of those people understand that "harsh tactics" or any other euphemism the CIA and its apologists are using is equivalent to "torture". There is no confusion about this. There is simply the consistent and resistant (to facts) belief amongst most Americans that CIA torture stopped terrorist attacks and saved American lives.

So, does that mean that the torture apologists have won the debate in the past week? Does it mean Dick Cheney’s argument that, so long as it is in the interest of achieving the “objective”, torturing innocent people is OK has won the day?

Have the American people gone that mad? Or were they always that mad, and Cheney simply demagogued to what he understood to be the manipulable madness of the crowd?

We cannot expect Americans to be experts in international law, and Constitutional questions of habeas corpus and restrictions against “cruel and unusual punishments”, as those limits might apply to alleged enemies taken to foreign torture chambers by the CIA.

But we can reasonably ask what in the American soul has gone so awry that most US citizens are OK with the vast, criminal, behavior of their government. If 9/11 has so frightened people that they will surrender everything of the decent side of American values to monstrous war criminals, then one has to seriously question whether those decent, admirable, values, were ever worth more than the parchment or paper they were written on.

We really know the answer to that already however. For, if petty criminals gunned down by the police elicit outraged protests that power is being wielded unjustly in the USA, why wouldn’t we see similar or greater protests against US national policies that have harmed so many thousands of people all over the world?

One answer might be that, for all the deaths and terrible injuries and great costs endured (and perpetrated) by Americans in the Terror Wars, they don’t add up to much against the yearly firearm killings and woundings and huge economic injustices Americans inflict on one another. The USA is a violent, actually quite psychopathic, land. Perhaps it has become more so since 9/11, but this is merely an enhancement of the natural, brutal, American character.

So, in answer to a question I asked above, the worst thing about Dick Cheney’s chilling defense of CIA torture of innocent people was not that he was so far out of step with the American mainstream. It was that Cheney was actually expressing what most Americans believe to be true.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cheney: No Problem With Torturing Innocent People “So Long As We Achieve Our Objective”

Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney made one of the most extraordinary appearances in the history of American news programs on Sunday. Cheney, attacking the premises and conclusions of the Senate's CIA Torture Report, argued that torture only applied to what bad people do to Americans, not what bad Americans do to innocent people in the world. Cheney believed, and apparently still believes, that anything the USA perpetrated in its war of bloodthirsty, vengefully criminal behavior, was justified by what happened on 9/11. The world Cheney's brain occupies is little different than a dank, dark level of Hell incarnate. The fact Cheney was for a long time a step away from being in control of the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world is just one more terror joke in the endless comedy of America's decline and fall.
So far in the weeklong debate on the Senate’s CIA Torture Report, the following has to be the most revealing—perhaps no longer shocking (considering its source)—confession to so far occur. Asked on NBC’s Meet the Press program yesterday if he had any problem with the fact the USA had detained and tortured so many people eventually assessed as innocent, Cheney replied:
“I have no problem [with torturing innocent people] as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States.”
Cheney’s repeated defense of this view, that it is legal to proceed in this manner, is based on an absurd redefinition of torture that Bush regime legal counsels engineered to free up US military forces to commit massive numbers of war crimes.

Cheney in fact demanded that only one real definition of torture existed, the measure established, he asserted, by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. Unless, in other words, the United States unjustly attacked and tortured and killed thousands of innocent people, it could not be rightly accused of torture. The fact the United States has committed just those atrocities repeatedly in its endless wars on Muslims was of no pertinence to Dick Cheney.

Instead the former Vice President complained about the numbers of Gitmo detainees who were released by the United States and who then “returned to the battlefield”, in other words to fight against the USA in the Terror Wars. One might raise the possibility that after being kidnapped and tortured by the USA, that fact alone might have helped recruit the innocent and the unaligned to Qaeda’s cause.

In addition to the expected ridiculous—but also horrifying—performance by Dick Cheney, there was the almost worse performance by Chuck Todd, NBC’s new (and extraordinarily witless) chief softball pitcher at Meet the Press. This interview with Cheney was Todd’s big chance to confront the old torturer and war criminal and demand that he stop pretending his asinine ignorance is the same thing as facts.

But Todd failed to do this. And it was glaringly obvious that Todd was either afraid of Cheney, or he had been told by his superiors to avoid any confrontations—in other words any act of journalism.

For example, at one point Cheney was asked if waterboarding (which he plainly said was not torture) was done to Americans by ISIS (Islamic State), would ISIS waterboarders get a pass also on accusations of torture using that method?

Cheney responded:
“[An American's] not likely to be waterboarded, he's likely to have his head cut off. It's not a close call.”
Later, once again emphasizing this point—mainly since Todd was too cowardly or too ignorant to challenge it—Cheney was more explicit:
“Waterboarding, the way we did it, was, in fact, not torture. Now when you're dealing with terrorists, the likes of Al Qaeda or the ISIS, I haven't seen them waterboard anybody.”
Todd once again said nothing to object to this.

Yet, what Cheney said about ISIS not waterboarding people was factually wrong. And it was wrong in a way that helps to illustrate the problem with Cheney’s whole idea of the efficacy of torture-American-style. Not only does it not work to achieve the objectives it is aiming at through the commission of war crimes, but it inspires its victims, and Muslims who are outraged at their treatment by the USA, to adopt those same methods to obtain vengeance against Americans.

So, for example, you can read here about how ISIS does in fact waterboard people, including American captives it would also eventually behead. And of course, mimicking the standard detainee uniform in Gitmo, Islamic State forced American and other Western captives to wear that same style of orange jumpsuit.

Raising this to Cheney, pointing out he was wrong on the facts, and wrong to ignore the implications of the facts, would have been the correct thing to do.

But Chuck Todd did no correct things in his interview with Dick Cheney. He turned the interview over to Cheney, who ran away with it, making some of the most ignorant, most ridiculous, and most heinous comments any interview subject has ever uttered on Meet the Press.

And throughout the whole thing, Chuck Todd sought in every way to abandon any role as a journalist, or an advocate for the people, and instead he smiled, and nodded, and affirmed the evil pouring out of Cheney’s war criminal mouth.

It was disgusting to watch. It was also highly instructive to watch.

The corporate news is meaningless drivel. Chuck Todd is the very nadir of the decline of American journalism, which looked at 9/11, and especially the utterly evil Iraq War, as the biggest moneymaking, audience-making, opportunity imaginable. They embedded themselves in the ass of the enemy—which is to say the Bush regime and its generals and its warmongering criminal leadership—and they have never found their way out of that dark pus-hole to this day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CIA Torture Report Reveals Agency Gone Mad

The man whom CIA used to justify its torture program, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times, and otherwise repeatedly, utterly illegally, brutalized by the United States government and its paid agents. In the end, like crazed priests of the Spanish Inquisition, CIA announced the torture was a "success" because it had proven Zubaydah didn't know anything worth torturing him for. To this date, the USA has never charged Abu Zubaydah with a crime. Nor has George W. Bush, who tortured Abu Zubaydah and numerous others, been charged with a crime.
In order to understand the depth of the moral and strategic degradation of the CIA that took place under the Bush regime's torture program, one has only to examine the CIA Torture Report's analysis of the Agency's processing of Abu Zubaydah.

In fact, Zubaydah, and what US intelligence operatives claimed he knew, formed the basis for the White House conspiring with the CIA to break US law and proceed to employ torture as a tool of interrogation. These torture methods (including waterboarding), eventually called EITs, "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", included torturing people to death—if not as an object, then as an acceptable risk the CIA was willing to apply to their victims.

The eventual program of torture that was chosen was crafted after the SERE program, which had been used to prepare US military personnel for the experience of surviving being captured and tortured by enemy forces that "did not adhere to the Geneva Convention". The SERE program itself was based upon North Vietnamese torture and interrogation techniques, which were noted by the CIA to have never been intended to produce "actionable intelligence" from captured American personnel (who usually possessed little of it), but only "confessions for propaganda purposes."

We should understand that the primary argument the CIA used to justify breaking the law, and which was used to obtain the White House's OK for doing so, was the claim that Zubaydah possessed information, which if it was not tortured out of him as quickly as possible, would threaten the lives of "innumerable innocent men, women and children within the United States and abroad."

The CIA was well aware that its interrogators would be violating the law. And they initially considered asking the US Attorney General for:
"a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any other personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution."
The CIA Torture Report says "there are no records to indicate [a letter making this case to AG John Ashcroft] was provided to the attorney general", though it was "was circulated internally at the CIA."

Eventually, after Bush's war lawyers, including John Yoo, argued that CIA personnel would not be breaking the torture laws so long as they didn't intend to seriously harm their victims, AG Ashcroft signed off on the EITs. The tortures began on Zubaydah.

By the time the CIA had completed its initial round of torture sessions, Zubaydah was a broken man, one who not surprisingly would have happily confessed to pretty much anything.

And what did the CIA conclude about Zubaydah? That, in spite of what they had claimed about him being an inportant, in-the-know, Qaeda guy, who had to be tortured to get actionable intelligence that would save countless American lives:
"CIA records indicate that Abu Zubaydah never provided the information for which the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques were justified and approved: information on the next terrorist attack and operatives in the United States. Furthermore, as compared to the period prior to August 2002, the quantity and type of intelligence produced by Abu Zubaydah remained largely unchanged during and after the August 2002 use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques. Nonetheless,CIA Headquarters informed the National Security Council that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques used against Abu Zubaydah were effective and were 'producing meaningful results.' "
What "meaningful results"?

Oh, this:
"The [CIA] interrogation team later deemed the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques a success, not because it resulted in critical threat information, but because it provided further evidence that Abu Zubaydah had not been withholding...information from the interrogators."
Yes, that's right. In the CIA's estimation, torturing Zubaydah, almost to death, was the right thing to do because it proved he was not actually in possession of any critical, actionable intelligence.

Nevertheless, in 2003, George W. Bush's team would claim that Zubaydah had provided smoking gun confirmation that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq had some kind of working relationship, that helped to make Bush's case that invading Iraq was necessary. Of course, the alleged link Zubaydah had provided turned out to have been false. In fact, eventually the US Government would confess that it had tortured a man, Zubaydah, that was not even in al-Qaeda.

And thousands of people would die or be horribly maimed as a consequence of the massive CIA, Bush White House conspiracy to torture actionable propaganda—not intelligence—out of its victims.

As the NY Times noted today, most of the charges that could have been brought against perpetrators of the Bush torture regime, will never be brought now, because Obama decided not to pursue them, and the statute of limitations has expired on most of them. And, on the ones still potentially chargeable, nobody believes Obama will risk any political damage by pursuing justice in this matter. 

ACLU Concludes Only Way To Hold Bush Torture Thugs Accountable: Pardon Them!

Former NSA and CIA chief, despiser and despoiler of the Constitution, and consistent torture advocate for George W. Bush's war crimes operation, Michael Hayden, models one possible accountability alternative—an appropriate and prominent tattoo—or brand as the nation sees fit to apply its scarlet letters upon traitors. What's great about a soulless creep like Hayden is that he actually appears to get morally outraged when somebody points out he is a monster.
A bizarre op-ed published in The New York Times today, written by the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony D. Romero, argues that the only way to inflict any real accountability on George W. Bush and his gang of post-9/11 torturers, is to grant them full pardons for their war crimes.

Even though Romero acknowledges that in the past the ACLU had argued against pardons for the perpetrators of the torture regime, Romero now argues:
“That officials at the highest levels of government authorized and ordered torture is not in dispute…[ACLU] and others have spent 13 years arguing for accountability for these crimes. We have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor or the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, or both. But those calls have gone unheeded. And now, many of those responsible for torture can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out.”
And why has that happened?

Simple answer: Barack Obama allowed the Bush war criminals to get away with it.

Romero explains:
“Neither [Obama] nor the Justice Department has shown any appetite for holding anyone accountable. When the department did conduct an investigation, it appeared not to have interviewed any of the prisoners who were tortured. And it repeatedly abused the “state secrets” privilege to derail cases brought by prisoners—including Americans who were tortured as “enemy combatants.”
Romero concludes that Obama has by this pro-torture stance issued a tacit pardon to Bush and his gang, which because it is not formally acknowledging criminal behavior, means Obama “leaves open the very real possibility that officials will resurrect the torture policies in the future.”

Of course, “in the future” is a strange way to put it, given the fact Obama himself has authorized numerous acts of murder and torture on his own war watch—including the force-feeding of detainees at Gitmo.

A general pardon for all the American evil-doers in the wars might be the only way Americans will ever get close to some kind of accountability on the part of those who betrayed what were supposed to be bedrock principles of civilized behavior.

But, if Romero is correct is asserting that Barack Obama is a coward:
“Mr. Obama is not inclined to pursue prosecutions—no matter how great the outrage, at home or abroad, over the disclosures [in the Senate torture report]—because of the political fallout.”
—and more and more Americans believe this to be the case about Obama, then taking an action that would, as Romero says, put Bush and his gang into the same category as pardoned Confederate generals after the Civil War, is extremely unlikely.

That is especially the case given the “political fallout” that would ensue from the Republicans, new masters of the Congress. It might be the thing that would push the GOP to backing impeachment of Obama (if they don’t already).

A nation that is comfortable with torturing innocent people—or any people—is just fine with the default victimized minority in the USA getting downsized by street-courts with militarized cops as judges, juries, and executioners.

The United States of America had a long way to go on September 10, 2001 to being a truly just and civilized nation. At this point, striving to ever become such a thing seems a waste of time and energy.

The empire struck back—and it won against its only real enemy—the tiny minority of the American people who still give a damn about the long-dead republic and its promises of freedom and justice for all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Republicans Begin Assault On Science: Will Degrade EPA Climate Rules

Stupid scientists are always trying to ruin every (rich person’s) effort to keep their bank accounts flowing with green, by demanding that there is something bad about coal plants (and delicious, nutritious coal). Seriously, where’s the evidence to support all this crazy “coal is evil” nonsense? So there’s a little smoke. Everybody loves fireplaces, after all. And nobody is dying from those, are they? Thank God (in the one Christian Heaven) that Republicans have taken back over control of science policy in Congress. Now the Apocalypse can safely (or you know—catastrophically really) proceed.
NOTE: I have not reported on the events of November 4th (last Tuesday). I had predicted the outcome for some time. It happened. It wasn't a wave—except of America's deep-white and red Confederate flag. Most Americans are so repulsed by American politics at this point, they stayed home and did something useful instead of voting. As for the white people who did vote, I have pointed out that there are always regrettable consequences to the American people actually employing the extremely stupid political system in the USA. One of these consequences is that when the cowardly, corporatist Democrats fail (in their mission to wank off the electorate concerning "hope and change"), and need to be tossed out, the only replacement party America has to choose from is the heartless, soulless, brain-dead GOP. The consequences of choosing this remedy to the pointless fool Obama are already becoming clear.

In an effort to bring on the destruction of the Earth, and thus the Apocalypse, the newly-installed GOP Congressional majority reportedly says it will move to degrade and destroy EPA rules aimed at lessening global warming.

As the NY Times points out, the motives of the Republicans are not entirely ideological, but in some cases boil down to pure politics:
"Senator Mitch McConnell, the next majority leader, has already vowed to fight [EPA climate] rules, which could curb planet-warming carbon pollution but ultimately shut down coal-fired power plants in his native Kentucky."
Yeah, you wouldn't want coal-fired power plants (and coal-mining jobs that supply them) to go away would you? After all, how can you keep up Kentucky's much-envied position as ground zero for lung cancer in the USA?* As The Hill noted back in July, in fact it isn't the EPA that is threatening coal plants in Kentucky, it is the market. But, when McConnell was desperate for a Kentucky-style whoop-up to get all the lungers out to the polls, he knew the three letters EPA, poised against beloved COAL, would work magic.
*2011 figures reported by CDC

Also, if the Kentucky and GOP death cultures weren't enough to get people excited about fighting EPA, there's this to consider:
"The coal industry has paid McConnell well for his service. According to OpenSecrets.org, during his years in office, McConnell has been by far the largest recipient of coal industry contributions of any member of Congress. He has raked in $748,899, compared to $640,825 for his nearest competitor, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (Ohio)."
Yep, it's funny how good old graft can make a person already predisposed to ignore scientific facts (as Republicans seem born to do), unilaterally declare war on the mean old EPA—and the Earth and its peoples. Money talks.

In addition to thwarting science in it's evil attempt to stop human-caused climate change, the Republicans will also increase efforts to force Barack Obama to approve building the Keystone XL Pipeline, a construction project that, in addition to leaving bunches of little boom-and-bust towns in it's wake, will enable the flow of zillions of gallons of crude oil across the heartland of America in a stupid pipe. What could go wrong?

While the American people had to understand there was some risk involved in electing a Republican majority to control the US Congress—the risk being the Republicans would act like Republicans—the American people decided that showing crummy old Barack Obama what-for was worth destroying the planet Earth.

Much more good thinking like that from the American voters, and they won't need Republican maniacs like Mitch McConnell or Jim Inhofe to destroy the planet. Americans can simply vote the Earth out of office and replace it with a GOP planet pledged to ignore the laws of science and to transmute itself into the all-white, gold-paved Kingdom of God.

Won't that be great?

So, still a fan of the democracy thing are you?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bill To Barry: Shut Up Whining—1990s Partisanship Was Worse!

It's fair to say these two needed to work on some bipartisan cooperation of their own. But at this point, Bill and Hillary don't need to worry about Barack Obama. Barry's sinking popularity just fuels nostalgia for Clinton-era prosperity. Of course, the problem for Hillary is that Bill was the guy credited (fairly or not) with enabling that golden (bubble) era. People mostly remember Hillary now (fairly or not) for Benghazi and being the drearily perennial first woman President in waiting.
This morning, in the NY Times, the preparation for Hillary Clinton’s coronation as Queen of America continues, as the Times runs an article explaining how Bill Clinton was such a better and more effective President than Barack Obama. As Clinton and his gang put it, partisanship was far worse in the 1990s (hey, they impeached Clinton—Obama not so far), and yet Bill got things done, like destroying welfare, with a highly partisan Republican Congress.

Back in 2008, so many dumbasses were blathering about how Barack Obama would end the partisan divide in Washington DC. The Republicans, we were told, were terrified of Barack Obama because he intended to compromise with them and work with them. How would their fear-and-hate mongering schemes work if America liked (or loved) the guy who was trying to get along with them?

As we know, that part of the political calculation was answered by the American people as they came to more and more despise the increasingly insane Republicans. But, since the GOP figured the way to defeat Obama’s kumbaya program was to just keep going further to the right, dragging the determined compromiser with them, eventually the American people started disliking Barack Obama also.

In fact, we saw a pretty good analysis of Obama’s problem with the Republicans, made by Paul Krugman in November, 2007, when he explained that because Obama wanted to appear “bipartisan”, and at the same time he was wanted to distance himself from Hillary Clinton on the Social Security question (i.e., whether it was heading towards a “crisis”), Obama had adopted the partisan Republican position:
“Why would [Obama], in effect, play along with this new round of scare-mongering and devalue one of the great progressive victories of the Bush years? [i.e., the Democrats defeating Bush-GOP moves to gut Social Securuty] I don't believe Mr. Obama is a closet privatizer. He is, however, someone who keeps insisting that he can transcend the partisanship of our times—and in this case, that turned him into a sucker. Mr. Obama wanted a way to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton—and for Mr. Obama, who has said that the reason ‘we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions’ is that ‘politics has become so bitter and partisan,’ joining in the attack on Senator Clinton's Social Security position must have seemed like a golden opportunity to sound forceful yet bipartisan.”
As Krugman said, anybody who in 2008 really thought he was going to transcend partisanship, was being stupid, and was begging to be played for a sucker by his opponents. And that is just what happened to Barack Obama.

While Obama preached at people about “growing up”, something he assumed he had already done enough to be President, he was amazingly naive to think his opponents in Washington would just accept his victories at the ballot box as any obligation on their part to join with him and the Democrats to pull the nation back from the brink (or way past it) of fascist oligarchy.

Obama spelled out in one early 2008 debate how his bipartisan coalition (including “moderate” Republicans)* would come together to make big changes in America:
*—kind of like “moderate” Syrian rebels.
“I think that there are a whole host of Republicans, and certainly independents, who have lost trust in their government, who don't believe anybody is listening to them, who are staggering under rising costs of health care, college education, don't believe what politicians say. And we can draw those independents and some Republicans into a working coalition, a working majority for change.”
YAY!

Except, all the people Barack Obama was describing there, in 2008, by 2010 had joined something called the Tea Party, whose mission was to destroy Barack Obama’s presidency any way they could. Talk about completely misreading the situation.

Indeed, as time went on, and the American people discovered the extent of Democratic Party collusion with the Republicans on countless fascist policy initiatives, like the massive NSA infringement of the constitutional liberties of Americans, the assumption that the Dems were the better of two evils became more difficult to accept.

Weren’t, in fact, the two parties just a choice between corporatist swine in the DP and batshit-crazy corporatist swine in the RP?

As Americans watched the "recovery", and watched who was benefitting from it—just the rich and the corporations—and at the same time as Americans realized that Barack Obama was often doing more to aid and abet Republican schemes (like the amazingly stupid Sequester compromise), than he was to fight for the rights and betterment of most Americans, the perception that Obama's brand of maturity was just another name for cowardice became widespread, even among Democrats.

Now we have a situation, in the 2014 campaign, where when it comes time for struggling Democratic candidates to call upon somebody to come to their aid in their races and make the case for why Democratic policies are better than those of the GOP, DP candidates do not call upon President Obama. In fact, he is the last person they want around them. Instead, the call goes out to that lovable old creep, Bill Clinton, the guy you wouldn't want near your daughter but who just might be able to work with the GOP to carve out a tek-bubble boom.

As Hillary gets closer to running for President, and Obama's poll numbers continue to sink, expect the Democrats, and especially Bill Clinton, to push Barack Obama closer to the exit door. If the GOP wins the Senate, the Republican base will push their party to achieve two goals:

1. Overturn Obamacare.
2. Impeach Barack Obama

Neither one of those things is likely to happen. Obama will veto any move to dump Obamacare. And the GOP leaders are just fine continuing to keep an unpopular Democrat in the student-driver's seat in the White House. In fact, if anybody should really want Barack Obama to be impeached, or to resign for the good of the nation and his party, it would be Democrats.

Meanwhile, you have to wonder what it is like in Barack Obama's mind right now. The American people don't like him. The Democratic Party doesn't like him. His Obamaite supporters make new enemies every time they inform the American people they are not good enough or smart enough for Barry—or worse that they are too racist for him. Even if that is true, you need those racists to vote for Democrats in a few days. That galling fact must be eating away at BO. Certainly, along with other things, it is graying him really fast.