Jan 15 2010

Torture, Brain Surgery, Evolution and Pat Robertson

I’m reading into intricate details of Haiti and Dominican Republic history. I’m reading on the slave rebellions, the colonial oppression and subsequent “justice” in particular. I’m reading this due to the not so surprising but still amazingly un-Christian like attack by Pat Robertson on the history of Haiti. Robertson said that Haiti was cursed because its slave rebellion leaders (notably Dutty Boukman) had made a “pact with the Devil”. In fact, this pact got a response from the Dark Lord of the Underground, oh yes, it did. But we’ll get to Dick Cheney in a minute. Yes, the one, the only, Satan The Monty Hall of Evil  said, “‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

Now, just like with Liz Cheney and other whack jobs and their claims, the easiest way to dismiss Robertson is through evidence or the mute button. I’d ignore him but I am fascinated by mythology, history, and lore, so it didn’t take me minutes to hit the ground running on the search for this “pact” with the devil. Along the way I found stories of rebel leaders who were beheaded by the French, like Dutty Boukman 1791, or who were burned alive, like François Mackandal 1758. In part of this story is the narrative being dominated by the French and subsequent European overtone of Slaves rebelling using voodoo (or vodou) versus the internal narrative of a people overthrowing the devil in the form of French slave masters and bosses. Depending on which view you come from, you will arrive at different conclusions.

Mackandal  was an interesting chap. He was well informed on poisons and was a threat to the French control and even the people themselves. He would distribute poisons to other slaves who would then poison their slavemasters and their families. In The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below by Carolyn E. Fick, there is a translation of the tortured interrogation of one of the slaves who betrayed Mackandal. Mackandal was executed at Cap-Haïtien.

Then it occurred to me. The narrative about Mackandal implies immediately that the betrayal story itself is suspect because it comes at the hands of torture. The odds of torture producing some positives in intelligence seems statistically inevitable, aka sometimes you’ve got the right guy and he will cough it up. But…sometimes, you don’t and he will say anything including recite rumors he may not know for sure and the case is sealed. This crude method has been a part of our controlling authorities tool box for most of our history. In some crude way, I’m sure occasionally busting someone’s toes to the point of powder did really get them to betray their allies. The odds say its entirely likely if you torture enough people you’ll get something as a result.

The Art of Brain Surgery or The Pick and Rock Cavity Clearance Sale
I remember being in the science museum when I was young and seeing our Cro-Magnon pre-TV Dinner ancestors and hearing about the ways that migraines and brain swelling would be eased. The various ways we tore people up to help them is rather nauseating. But keeping time in context we must acknowledge that to many this was advanced science at the time and now it is nothing short of criminal. No doctor today would simply start sawing your skull open to relieve pressure for a headache or Harvey Cushing would roll over in his grave. Yes, there are some procedures where removing the skull can create positive effects but you wouldn’t use it to cure what a good glass of water, lowering your salt intake and a bit of exercise would solve. Perhaps there is your remedy for what ails you.

It occurs to me that those who advocate for ‘any means necessary torture’ thinking wouldn’t exactly like the crude pick and rock technique should they require an aneurysm to be treated. No, I’m sure at this point they would want to trust the professionals. Certainly sawing their domes open to get at relax a headache wouldn’t be preferred. Yet when it comes to gaining actionable intelligence about “terrorist threats”, they’ll take the Neanderthal route and take what comes.

Professional interrogation by the FBI is a science that has long evolved since the days when tortured slaves or common criminals were burned or whipped into telling anything that would come out of their mouths. Yet in the world of Marion Gordon Robertson (aka Pat) and other extremely ignorant people who hate evolving, these methods are perfectly suitable to telling themselves that they are safe and clean from impurity. See, in the minds of people like Robertson, they are pure. Everyone else is sinful and whatever happens to those sinful people is completely justified because God on high smote them. It is this ignorant view of Christianity and history that propagates more discord about torture. Those who continue to support the resist of evolution are just about the same folks who support torturing anyone with the name Abdul in order to figure out if they know a bad guy. They know if they detain a Christian named then that couldn’t possibly be a terrorist. Nobody with the name Richard Reid could be a bad guy or a big danger right? Certainly not Timothy McVeigh. Why would anyone be so afraid of those names? Some very Anglo folks might be afraid of Jose Padilla but David Hicks or John Walker Linde?

If I’m to be superstitious may it simply be in asking, “Lord, please bless me with just enough cynicism to not fall prey to Pat Robertson. Amen.”

Jan 13 2010

The Fraud that is Liz Cheney

There is little to be surprised about when it comes to the Cheney clique. I always can predict the garbage that will come out of the mouths of Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, Frank Gaffney, Ron Christie, Mary Matalin, David Rivkin, and others associated with the disgraced former Vice President. These tools are entirely without compunction when they distort the public record and pitch to our base fear instincts as a way to maintain some pseudo moral high ground.

These people are not the center of my ire. They are liars. Their credibility is zero to none. There is almost nothing Dick Cheney says that isn’t parroted by his draft deferment daughter, Liz Cheney. I don’t expect her to change her tune. This isn’t going to be an examination of how Liz Cheney is wrong because the facts do that well all by themselves. No, my comment is entirely focused at CNN and ABC News for giving this blathering fool the space to talk in the first place.

THIS WEEK with George Stephanopolis has been quick to invite Liz Cheney to sit on their panel along side veteran reporters or politicians and give her equal voice as if she’s got something, equal, to say just because the nepotism that placed her in the State Department is its own endorsement of her credibility on security and foreign affairs.

CNN occasionally honors Cheney, the younger, to stand up for her cowardly lying father by placing her up against James Carville. The combination never changes much. I remember her “debating” James Zobgy who looked at her as if she were nuts. (I mean how do you feel good about debating an zombie wingnut?)

Liz Cheney has launched “KeepAmericaSafe.com” as a bully pulpit on America’s “War on Terror”. Then this ‘organization’ is used to prop up the validity of Liz Cheney as a spokesperson. This is just like Judith Miller publishing an article in the NYTimes handed to her by Dick Cheney’s tool only to have Cheney do a call back for credibility. Might work on the ill-informed, but it insults my intelligence. The truth is, you can start a dot com by purchasing a name for about $10. If you seek to add privacy, you can do that for about $10. You can then get cheap hosting with few frills (won’t need them for this effort) for $10 or so….What’s our total? $30? Lets say, you go with deluxe sign up, $25 to $100. We total that up for a year’s expense…$20 for domain and privacy, $120-$1200 for hosting (high end of $100 is unjustified so the real total is $120-$200).

To get the layout, either pay lots of money or hire a zealot.
In many years of activism, I’ve never found it hard to give or get free labor for a cause we believe in. Not everyone will do all things, but they will likely contribute freely to a poster painting, web development, or publication. Some of the ideologues love to write copy so they can propagate their ideas of perfection to everyone. The Cheney clan is made up of almost nothing BUT ideologues and zealots so it shouldn’t be hard to do this.

If they are paying anyone beyond this, for what we’ve seen so far, then where is that money being spent?
If they are paying staff, who is the staff, what are they paying for?
Is this a 501(c)3 style organization or just another “think tank” sans office?

Truth is:
This is another canard.
This is another Weapon of Mass Distraction. No Traction, All Dis.

Nobody should say Liz Cheney can’t have an opinion. But her opinion isn’t there because she earned a right to the table. In the game of princes and pawns, Liz got access solely because her cowardly father won’t answer to his messages. His rantings are unchecked. He never faced a national referendum on his insanity. His continued cowardice is in the form of a ignorant Sourcrat who is now welcome to the Sunday talk show tables.

Yes, FoxNews has brought Liz Cheney on, but who cares. Fox News has no credibility for these matters as far as I’m concerned.
But ABC and CNN are really dragging bottom in continuing to allow this tool to talk at the table.