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20score

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BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus

Democracy Now!

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/22/new_expos_links_torture_centers_in



A shocking new report by The Guardian and BBC Arabic details how the United States armed and trained Iraqi death squads that ran torture centers. It is a story that stretches from the U.S.-backed death squads in Central America during the 1980s to the imprisoned Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. We play extended excerpts of "James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq," which exposes the role the retired U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played in training Iraqi police commando units. "We spent maybe six months trying to track down young American soldiers who served in Samarra," says the film’s executive producer, Maggie O’Kane, who notes the investigation was sparked by memos found in the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks. "But many were too frightened because of what happened to Bradley Manning." A Pentagon spokesman told The Guardian it had seen the reports and is looking into the situation. "As you know, the issue surrounding accusation of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees is a complex one that is full of history and emotion," said Col. Jack Miller. "It will take time to work a thorough response."

Take Your Dogma With You.

The Catholic Church has always suffered from a split conscience, a duality that has made it an enigma to many for centuries. That split between good and evil, hypocritical and honest, power-hungry and gentle, dogmatic and humble, is best represented by the feud between The Nuns on the Bus, and the Church hierarchy that tried to silence them. Of course the degree to which the division and its players are separated pales in comparison to the past, but the thought processes and character traits of those involved are the same. And it should go without saying that there has also always been some overlap, both within individuals and between the two sides of the Church throughout history.

The constant division between the side that represents forgiveness and helping one’s fellow humans, and the side that represents harshness and judgmentalism could be said to be as old as the New Testament itself. Jesus was shown to have been forgiving, didn’t judge harshly and preached about love. In the Old Testament, there were very harsh judgments, capital punishment for insignificant crimes and being pious was sometimes more important than how one treated others. And whatever ones beliefs are, there is no reason to have a savoir and a sacrifice without original sin and the Old Testament; so the two books are very much intertwined.

There are records going back centuries before the Crusades of priests molesting children and the Church covering it up. But society’s tolerance of such acts and the power of religious leaders have changed since those early days. In the fifth century a man who was later named a saint, Cyril, tortured and killed the philosopher Hypatia because she wasn’t Christian, or thought for herself… whatever the motivation, it was an inexcusable act. About a century later another man who was made a saint, Eligius, spent his money and time buying slaves in mass and freeing them. He took the bodies of executed prisoners and gave them a burial. The two saints could not have been more different from each other. Same church, different philosophies.

At the same time that those participating in the Inquisition were burning innocent women, torturing Jewish people and free-thinkers and keeping the entire populous living in fear, there were priests and monks fighting for social justice and trying to end genocide and slavery. Many who were sent by the Church and the King to the new world to convert and control those who were already living there, ended up trying to end slavery and stop the cruelty. Friar Bartolomé de las Casa started out in what is now Mexico supporting the system set up by the Conquistadores, then he changed to wanting to help the native population and end the enslavement of the natives and give them freedom. Unfortunately he then advocated bringing slaves from Africa. He then evolved further and moved into the actual moral realm and opposed all slavery and devoted his life to the humane treatment of others.


What’s going on now with Benedict’s resignation, the Church’s ongoing molestation scandal and those who want to help others as their calling is nothing new. Sister Simone Campbell led a group of nuns that toured part of the country last year trying to bring awareness to the plight of the poor and needy. For trying to help those in need, they were protested by right-wing Catholics, hate radio DJ Jan Mickelson joked about having the nuns pistol-whipped, they were disparaged in articles and blogs and many said they should be excommunicated. While some Catholics are devoting their lives to helping the sick and the poor, others are devoting their energies to restricting birth control access, denying rights to homosexuals and pushing other dogmatic parts of their church’s doctrine. Obviously over the centuries the fight for what’s right is slowly being won by those on the side of empathy and being more Christ-like. But there are ebbs and flows. Under Benedict the focus has moved away from social justice and towards dogma. With a new pope, one less restricted by dogma, maybe that trend will reverse.

As a lapsed Catholic and devout secularist, one might wonder why I care what the pope feels about where the Church should devote its time and resources. The reason I have for caring is the same reason everyone should have. Does one want the powerful, rich and extremely populous Catholic Church devoting its resources to supporting fringe Republicans, restricting the rights of others and trying to limit access to birth control, thus increasing unwanted pregnancies? Or is it better for the country if they use their considerable resources to take care of those in need? I’m with the Nuns on the Bus.

Senator Ted Cruz Has Avoided Many Important and Uncomfortable Questions

Senator Ted Cruz has taken a lot of heat for his questioning of Senator Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation hearings. This criticism, for simply be brave enough to do his job correctly, is far, far out of bounds. Not since Joe McCarthy has there been a senator willing to destroy reputations with outrageous and false insinuations to such a degree. And the country has suffered from that dearth of courageous statesmen. Bravo Mr. Cruz, Bravo!

Since I recognize and applaud Ted Cruz in his pursuit of character assassinations for their own sake, I’m sure he will be more than happy to assist me in my own intrepid investigation.

There are many nights during the past two decades where Ted Cruz has not accounted for his whereabouts. It does not necessarily mean he was having sex with prepubescent boys he bought on the black market on the nights in question, but he has refused to answer... which just leads to speculation. I'm not saying these boys were ages 4 to 8 years old, but they could have been. Some of them he could have kidnapped himself and kept in his basement until they were too old for him to lust after, then he may have sold them to others in a group he may belong to that buy and trade young boys regularly on the Internet. If those boys exist, and I'm not saying that they do, they must be terribly traumatized now; some of them may have even committed suicide due to Cruz's inhumane and monstrous treatment.


Senator, the ball is in your court.

Damnit! Super-Pundit George Will is on to Us!

As every liberal knows, our strength doesn’t come from logic, science and a do-unto-others philosophy; it comes from obscuring the truth with facts. In George Will’s latest column on January 27th, 2013, he lays out the prescription for a conservative revival. When Obama mentions global warming – a science easily disproved by Will in his article – he sets the groundwork for failed policies that the left, especially Obama, were hoping would help impede the economy and keep people on food stamps and welfare. We were so close!

In order for a good conspiracy to work, it must remain hidden. Now that George Will has shown how ridiculous global warming science really is, how can “a cap-and-trade scheme” be implemented? (It goes without saying that this proves how far left the democrats have moved, now that they would champion a republican idea from the 90’s. The 90’s! Those guys were indistinguishable from Stalin.) George Will, expanding on the Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins, ‘noted that although 2012 was 2.13 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2011, “2008, in the contiguous U.S., was two degrees cooler than 2006.”’ We’ve been counting on people being distracted by the fact that the last 330 months have all had an above average temperature, but Will has figured out how irrelevant that information is. What’s important is that sometimes it’s colder than other times, thus blowing a hole the size of the arctic ice cap in climate change science. (Which is, strictly by coincidence, getting smaller every year.)

In the best of all possible futures, Obama and the left would be able to destroy job growth, make the scientists even more powerful than they are now, add trillions and trillions to the debt, put millions more on food stamps and have this go completely unnoticed by the right. But unlike most pundits, George Will wasn’t satisfied with disproving the world’s scientists. He went on to ascertain that Bush’s presidency didn’t matter, in fact, it may not have even happened at all. Quoting Richard Vedder of the American Enterprise Institute, “If today the country had the same proportion of persons of working age employed as it did in 2000, the U.S. would have almost 14 million more people contributing to the economy.” Some may call it dishonest to compare the numbers of one democratic president to the numbers of another democratic president without mentioning the recession caused by the republican president in-between; but let’s face it, it’s actually just damn good math.

This isn’t Mr. Will’s first foray into the world of obliterating truth, history and science. One needs to pick and choose what numbers to use when making one’s points. And George knows how to pick and choose. In a February 2009 column, George Will stated the unemployment rate when FDR took office was, “then at 24.9 percent, it was perverse to diagnose the nation's problem as overproduction.” When wanting to show how ineffective FDR’s policies were, he chose 1939 with, “17.2 percent” in a November 2008 article. If he had picked 1940, the number would have been 14.6. See the difference? And all you have to do is ignore the unemployment rate went from 24.9 in 1933 to 16.9 in 1936, in the short period when FDR policies were in effect. After 1936, when austerity became the order of the day, the markets dropped and unemployment rose. Implementing his policies again in 1937/1938, the economy improved dramatically. Picking and choosing dates also works well if you want to discredit Roosevelt’s policies by an easier method. Start the clock in 1929 and end it in 1936, maintaining that it took FDR seven years to bring the market back to its 1929 numbers. The trick here is to make FDR responsible for the four year drop before he took office. Smart, huh?

But that’s not important. Destroying the economy, strengthening the mighty scientists and putting everyone on food stamps is what matters. How are we going to accomplish this with George Will as the smartest pundit in the room?

Study: Fox News Viewers Average Age Higher than Average IQ

In the first of its kind study on intelligence, Brown University incorporated ideology into intelligence quotient calculations. The study looked at intelligence levels up and down the political spectrum, but took the unique approach of factoring in the ‘real world effects of final decisions’ in lieu of the standard tests that fail to take biases and prejudice into account. What they found verified the validity of past studies, but shocked the scientific community with its dramatic variation in degrees. Heading the study was L. Bruce, PhD, who is a pioneer in the field of ideological psychology.

“We knew going into this study that Fox News viewers were misinformed and incorrect on the major issues of our time,” said the bespectacled Bruce. “We also knew that past studies showed a five to ten point difference in the IQ’s of the Fox viewers compared to those who get their news from other sources, but we were unprepared for the precipitous drop that occurred when ideology was thrown into the mix. And it seemed to be inversely proportional to the time spent watching Fox News. The more they watched, the lower the intelligence. What we haven’t determined, is whether the viewing caused the drop in aptitude, or a lower intelligence made one more predisposed to watch Fox.”

Judy Collins, PhD coauthored the study and was forthcoming with the details. “While the average age of Fox News viewers is 73.4, the average IQ, using Doctor Bruce’s scale, is 65.3. Quite a difference. We started with the premise that the end result of intelligence, meaning its practical application, was more important than the pieces that are in place to make any intelligence possible. Kind of like a disassembled watch. All the pieces are there, but it can’t tell time. So, what’s the use, unless one removes, in this case, the ideology that prevents critical thought?

“I’ll give you a real life example. One of our subjects who watches Fox, insisted that the earth is only six thousand years old. We then showed this person a cross section of the sediment of Japan’s Lake Suigetsu, which has 52,800 clear layers that are deposited annually. After a few minutes of silence, this person responded by saying, ‘The earth is six thousand years old.’ So, this person may be capable recognizing numbers in the millions or billions, but can only count to six thousand when it matters. We scored this person, in the mathematics category, the same as one who was capable of only counting to six thousand. The same holds true when there is evidence of global warming, equality of races, or teachers not being responsible for the economic recession, and is completely ignored.”

“While Judy’s watch analogy is apt and rather insightful, I prefer to compare a mind bogged down in ideology with gymnast in a suit of armor,” said Bruce. “The person inside a suit of armor, just like one trapped inside of rigid ideology, may be an uncoordinated lout unable to walk and chew gum at the same time, or they may be a world-class gymnast. But an observer would never know the difference being that all athletic feats attempted would be abject failures. We approached this study with that fact in the forefront of our minds… Now we hope that this study will wake those trapped in their individual suits of armor, and allow them to think more clearly.”



Satire by: 20score

Fox & Friends: “Unfair to the Job Creators - 650,000 Homeless Pay No Income Tax!”

“I want to start this segment out by bringing up something that the main stream media never tells people about,” said Steve Doocy, wearing a half crooked smile and a bright yellow tie. “Apparently they don’t want anyone to think about the fact that there are 650,000 homeless people out there, living high on the hog and paying no income taxes whatsoever.”

“Meanwhile,” continued Brian Kilmead. “There are billionaire job creators paying ten, eleven, sometimes even twelve percent of the money they can’t hide in the Cayman Islands… It’s unconscionable!”

“Exactly!” Gretchen Carlson said, sporting a wide eyed, ‘You know they’ve landed’ grin. “Of course everyone now agrees that the disabled, those living on Social Security and the working poor need to pay a lot more. A LOT more, but the homeless, they’re not even mentioned. They have some powerful liberals working on their behalf in Washington and it’s time someone shined a great big spotlight on this gaping hole in our tax system.”

“It’s a cover-up that we on Fox & Friends aren’t afraid to tell you about,” Steve Doocy said, picking up without a pause. His eyes revealing his mind is devoid of thought. His, ‘Patented secret to being a successful news anchor,’ according to his soon to be released autobiography, Don’t Think! “We just know that George Soros is behind this. Liberal, socialist, left-wing, Nazi, anti-capitalists like Soros are always trying to figure out ways to hurt real Americans by helping those that already have it too easy… No taxes at all. It just burns me up!”

“You’re so right, Steve,” said Kilmead, almost bouncing in his seat. “Soros and the homeless thought they had the perfect dodge, but no more. Now that Fox & Friends have uncovered this, it’s time for everyone to get outraged!”



By: 20score

Fox Looking for New War to Stoke Outrage. “War on Christmas too Short”

“We’re asking our audience for input,” said Irena Briganti, head of Fox News Media Relations. “There’s like ten and a half months when all we have to war on is, logic, poor people, reason, climate change, blacks, immigrants, fair trade, China, clean energy, science, Muslims, nuns, postal workers, teachers, unions, liberals, professors, Obama, the middle class and reality…. We’re in a bind here.”

“What we are asking for is an interim war, not a replacement, of the War on Christmas,” added Stuart Varney. “…Can’t stress that enough. Nothing in the history of mankind can equal, or even come close to, the outrage of a Christian being told, ‘Happy Holidays’ - and we will never forget that. But, you can’t very well wage a War on Christmas in April, now can you? Although we could add Boxing Day to the mix and get another day out of the War on Christmas... but that’s not nearly enough!”

“We’re leaning toward a seasonal theme, maybe,” Ms. Briganti stated, seeming to think out loud. “A War on Summer, tied to global warming,” she said, trailing off for a bit.

“Well, you get the idea,” said Ms. Briganti. “It’s in your hands now. Please send your ideas for a new war to: FOX News Channel 1211 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212-301-3000. You’ll be glad you did. Thank you.”

False Equivalency Software for the Lazy Pundit on Sale Now!

Do you make your living on television news as a political expert? Do you have your own Sunday morning talk show, or maybe you’re Chuck Todd or David Gregory? Or maybe you just like to sound smart and don’t have the time read anything? Well, have we got a product for you! Instaquivalency!

With Instaquivalency! one can feed any wrong-doing by any Republican into our patented software, and in less time than it takes to say, “War on Christmas” a story about a Democrat is on your monitor. But what if it’s an issue like the Iraq War, or climate change that needs equating? No problem for Instaquivalency! Just give us a headline, and we’ll give you a chance to sound balanced!

That’s right! No more scouring the news reports, or risking picking the incorrect story for your next appearance on CNN. Who hasn’t wondered, “Um, is using a teleprompter as bad as lying about the Iraq War, or should I stick the old standard, ‘But Clinton…?’” And if you’re in a hurry – there’s an app for that! You can find an equivalent story on the cab ride to the studio!

Mountains of evidence, all the science and your own observations about global warming got you down? No worries mate! You have Instaquivalency! Now you can say, “No it’s not,” with the best of them! “The last the 333 months were all warmer than the average 20th century temperature.” Retort: “Glenn Beck and Exxon said it’s not.” Problem solved!

And for you non-pundits out there who love a good talking point, but like to sound smarter than average, Instaquivalency! is perfect for you too. Usually when you say, ‘They’re all crooks,’ or ‘Both sides do it,’ there is nowhere to go. But not now! Imagine you’re at a party and someone says, “The Texas Republicans have come out publically against critical thinking.” You can retort, “Both sides do it,” while you punch in ‘Texas Republicans Thinking’ into the Instaquivalency! app, and out pops, ‘John Wayne Gacy was a Democrat.’ Is it relevant? No, but that’s not the point. The words ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat’ are equivalent, the rest is filler! Just like on TV!

Honest, Adult Debate. Gun Violence, Goddamnit!

There is no easy answer and there is no one ‘answer.’ Like every complicated problem, more than one factor went into causing it, so more than one solution will be needed to solve it. Every tragedy involving guns that happens in the US is greeted immediately with a chorus of, “It’s too soon to talk about it.” Followed by, “You have an agenda… and it’s too soon,” then a few weeks later…it’s too late – on to the next tragedy. And nothing changes. Tragedy, after tragedy, after tragedy. The truth is we needed to have this national dialogue years ago. This time we can’t let it be put off. But we should have a few ground rules.

No fanatics, liars or simpletons should be allowed in the discussion. And they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to run it. Fanatics cannot accept a fact that doesn’t fit their worldview, and simpletons can’t understand them. Liars are just, well, liars. This has to happen with serious adults that can act as least as mature as a seven-year-old child told there is no Santa Clause.

One cannot solve a real world problem with partial or fantasy remedies. Fanatics get irate when anything contradicting their pet beliefs are challenged in any way. They yell, scream, insult, attack with ad hominems and demand that their issue be off the table. It’s sacrosanct. So important information needed to solve a problem is left out of the discussion. Hence, the problem can’t be solved. Guns are off the table when talking about gun violence? Really? It has NOTHING to do with it?

Simpletons also need to be ignored from now on. When one’s answer to a mass shooting in a crowded theater, is to have everybody armed, you’re not thinking things through. Grow the hell up! You’re not Rambo, John Wayne or Dirty Harry. Professional soldiers kill people on their own side in every war. Trained police sometimes end up killing more innocent people than the criminals they were trying to stop during a shootout. And these are professionals who do this for a living and have trained together. But if forty wannabe Rambos who have never met each other, never mind trained together, stood up in that theater in Aurora, Colorado and started shooting…well, everything would have worked out great!

There is some crossover between simpletons and liars in some examples, but at the very least, these types of arguments hold in common one major theme – they’re insulting. “You can kill someone with a pencil, too.” Or “Lots of things can kill people, a knife, or whatever.” Why should logical adults have to explain to supposed adults the differences between a pencil and a automatic weapon? People who make that, and similar arguments can only drag the conversation down to ridiculous, childish and time wasting levels. They should be allowed back into the conversation when they have learned to think and can bring something useful to the table if we are ever to have any hope of solving this.

Don’t like this and think it’s too hard on some? Anger you, or hurt your feelings? Tough shit. Because this will keep happening if your feelings keep taking precedence over other’s lives. Innocent children dying are a tragedy that hopefully will never happen again. There are no guaranties, but doing nothing is the worst possible course of action. (Or inaction, as the case may be.)

I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know we need to talk about all the factors like adults do when they want to solve a problem. All aspects should be discussed, honestly. Health care, mental health clinics, training, cultural awareness, education, and even gun control. Everyone that is not completely crazy believes in some form of gun control. No one wants the criminally insane to have access to Stinger missiles. So different people draw lines in different places. Why can’t we talk about where that line should be drawn, like adults?



Fox News to Use Fewer Talking Points.

In an effort to uncomplicate issues for their viewers, Fox News has decided to cut the number of usable talking points in half. “There has been some confusion as to what this change actually means,” said Fox News Chairman, Roger Ailes. “We’re not making the talking points themselves less complicated; that would be impossible. We’re just going to use fewer of them so people will be able to keep them straight.”

“We’ve studied this problem at length,” Rupert Murdoch added in a heavy Australian accent. “When we have every money-hungry talking head out there trying to make a name for themselves - it gets a little confusing to some…Too much to remember. So, we’ve asked Sean Hannity to give a class to all the part-time talkers. You know, kindda whittle down the works, if you will.”

“If I may, Rupert,” Sean Hannity said in a low voice waiting for assent from Murdoch. When Sean got his nod, he faced the reporters from Murdoch’s many tabloids. “You see, we’re broadcasting at a third grade level here at Fox, but many of our viewers have a second grade intellect. They get confused and start mixing up the talking points at the water cooler. ‘Rape babies and trade is socialism.’ ‘Unions cause tax cuts.’ ‘Gay marriage is a threat to all death taxes.’” Sean paused for a moment, shaking his head. “Without meaning to, they’ve weakened their own arguments.”

“If I may,” Steve Doocy said, holding up four fingers and wearing a big grin. “We’ll only use five talking points in any given week! ‘Tax cuts create jobs…and I can’t remember the other two….”

“That’s okay, Steve,” Sean Hannity said, breaking a short silence. “You’ll have a prompter. The other four are ‘Unions out-lived their usefulness,’ ‘We’re a Christian nation,’ ‘Obama is a socialist,’ and ‘Global warming is a hoax.’”

“Now you folks know why we have Sean runnin’ the class,” said Murdoch with a smile. “He may not understand the issues, but he can recite talking points with the best of ‘em.”

“Don’t forget,” added Ailes. “’The War on Christmas’ always takes precedence in December. You can’t very well call yourself a news organization without spending a month or so making people irate about the correct way to wish others, ‘greetings.’ It’s that type of hard hitting journalism that keeps us number one!”

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