Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Comparing Apples to Oranges

I ran across this article at über lefty Mother Jones. It cherry picks from long indictments of Japanese war criminals brought by us after WWII and says that we convicted Japanese soldiers of waterboarding but now, hypocritically, say waterboarding when we do it is not torture.

So I took a closer look at the descriptions of supposed "waterboarding" by the Japanese.

Remember that we take pains not to actually get water in the lungs of the people waterboarded, because that would be actually drowning them. We merely trigger a feeling of drowning by wet cloth over mouth and nose. We get water on the face and in the mouth and nose but that's as far as we go.
Let's go to the Mother Jones article.

The [war crimes] archive has multiple examples of the United States charging Japanese soldiers and prison guards with war crimes for waterboarding prisoners (often referred to as the "water cure" or the "water treatment")
But was what the Japanese did and called the water cure or the water treatment just like our waterboarding of captured Muslim terrorist more than a decade ago?

I think not. It takes a while for the Mother Jones writer to include an actual description of the Japanese methods.

When [Major Wyatt] refused to do [what the Japanese wanted], he was subjected to treatment known as the "water cure". The Japs forced him to swallow two or three gallons of water then jumped on his stomach, forcing he water out. His fingernails were torn out and vinegar poured on the wounds.

So the water cure described there is nothing at all like ours. We don't make the detainee swallow even a drop. We don't then force out large quantities of water from the stomach by jumping on the stomach and we certainly don't rip out fingernails. Except for the inclusion of water in both, the water cure described here has nothing whatsoever to do with our waterboarding.

And the water cure or treatment the Japanese used during the war was not at all a simulated drowning but more like real drowning with large amounts of water introduced into the lungs of the victim. One of the cited articles states:

...a description of the type of torture known as “the water treatment,” in which “the victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach until he lost consciousness,”

And these cherry picked charges are not the only things the Japanese guards and soldiers were accused of. The indictments are long and full of horrible detail. Mother Jones pretends that these tidbits are the whole of the indictments. They are not.

Normal lefty journalism, however.



Recognizing the Bigger Problem

Here is a list of unarmed "people of color" killed by police or security guards in the past 15 years  in America. Many of them were not shot but died in a scuffle. The total for 15 years, 1999 through 2014, is 76, just over 5 per year.

Here are the stats for black murder victims in the United States from the FBI (2014 are not available):

2013    6261 black murder victims
2012    6454 black murder victims
2011    6329 black murder victims
2010    6470 black murder victims
2009    6556 black murder victims
2008    6782 black murder victims
2007    7316 black murder victims
2006    7421 black murder victims
2005    7125 black murder victims
2004    6632 black murder victims
2003    6887 black murder victims
2002    6730 black murder victims
2001    6446 black murder victims
2000    6193 black murder victims
1999    5855 black murder victims

Total  99,457 black murder victims

If we add in the probable 2014 statistics we're well over 100,000 in 15 years. Divide 100,000 by 75 and you get 1315.8. So a black person in the United States is 1,316 times more likely to be murdered  than they are, unarmed, to be killed by police or security guards. And of the 100,000 murder black murder victims, almost 96,000 were killed by other black Americans.

So, the protestors are silent on the everyday murders, over 18 per day, but are going ballistic about the extraordinarily rare, killed by police while black and unarmed, which occur on average once every 73 days.

Wow, some people's idea of a serious problem is completely out of whack.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Thought of the Day

Since last summer, a lie has overtaken significant parts of the country, resulting in growing mass hysteria. That lie holds that the police pose a mortal threat to black Americans—indeed that the police are the greatest threat facing black Americans today. Several subsidiary untruths buttress that central myth: that the criminal-justice system is biased against blacks; that the black underclass doesn’t exist; and that crime rates are comparable between blacks and whites—leaving disproportionate police action in minority neighborhoods unexplained without reference to racism. The poisonous effect of those lies has now manifested itself in the cold-blooded assassination of two NYPD officers.

Heather Mac Donald

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Imaginary Conversations

Here is what I imagine I would say if a vegetarian tried to proselytise me into giving up meat in my diet.

I say: Why should I give up meat when my ancestors took the evolutionary steps necessary to be able to digest meat? Why should I deny my very nature?

The vegetarian replies: Because it is not moral to kill animals for food.

I say: You're a bigot for one of the most basic distinctions about life, the kingdom categories of plant versus animal. Why is it moral to kill and eat plants but immoral to kill and eat animals? 

The vegetarian replies: When you kill an animal it suffers; vegetarianism reduces suffering in the world.

I say: How do you know the animal suffers? How do you know the plant does not suffer?

The vegetarian replies: Those are stupid questions.

I say: Only if you claim to know what you do not know. But let me say this. If you eat only fruits and vegetables, etc., then the land that is set aside to grow them is only used for growing the plants you eat and nothing else; no animals nor other non productive plants can live in that space. So you are killing more than what you eat by creation of the dead zone for anything else other than your food.

The vegetarian replies: You don't have to kill everything else but the plants we eat. In fact, we prefer it when the farmer does not use pesticides or herbicides but uses only organic products to help grow the plants we eat.

I say: And there are places where no plants we eat but only things such as grass, moss, lichen and willow can grow, like in tundra and deserts. These places can however support herds of animals. You think it moral not to utilize these regions? You think it moral to prevent the humans who live in these areas from being able to survive off the land they live on as they have for thousands and thousands of years?

The vegetarian replies: I'm not preventing anyone anywhere from living off the land, I'm just saying that it is moral not to kill animals for food. It is better to be a vegetarian.

I say: Better how?
The vegetarian replies: More moral.
I say: Are vegetarians more moral than meat eaters?
The vegetarian replies: Yes.
I say: Hitler was a vegetarian. Did that make him a better person, a moral person?

The vegetarian replies: Hitler?

I say: Do you think it is healthier for humans to eat no animals only plants?

The vegetarian replies: That's just a simple fact, the main benefit is living a more moral life and better health is just a bonus.

I say: Where do vegetarians do to get their B12 and zinc? What about the essential vitamins and minerals we can only get from animals?

The vegetarian replies: We get those at the vitamin store.
I say: And where does the vitamin store get them if not from animals?
The vegetarian replies: They get it from bacteria which are not animals.
I say: Bacteria is not plant life either, and it's a lot closer to animal than plant, but we're getting into the phylar weeds. So it comes down to your identification with animals, as you are one, that causes you not to want to kill and eat them. It's your animal chauvinism that allows you to pose as moral, more moral than the default position of us naturally omnivore humans. Since when has bias equaled moral standing?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Giving But Not Getting

Since we signed on to the 1929 Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of prisoners of war in the 30s, along with many other nations, including Germany, Japan, China and France (which at that time ruled the colony it called Indochina, which included Viet Nam), our treatment of prisoners of war has been better than was required by the convention.

Keep in mind that the Muslim illegal combatants of the past two decades are not, when captured, prisoners of war. In fact, we can summarily execute them under the current Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and the rules of warfare.

So how have our guys fared, the ones captured on the battlefield, actual prisoners of war, in the past 80 years for treatment required under the '29 convention?

Not so good.

There were conflicts we were involved in during the 30s but only twice did we deploy actual soldiers and sailors (into China) and there were no reported prisoners.

In WWII, a conflict just under 4 years long which cost us more than 407,000 dead, in the European Theater approximately 94,000 of our guys were taken prisoner by the NAZIs and in some POW camps, generally the ones run by the Luftwaffe for captured airmen, the treatment was just at the minimum required by the '29 convention. For others, the captivity was harsher, but the Germans treated English speaking POWs generally better than non English speaking POWs. It was far worse in the Pacific Theater, where approximately 30,000 Americans were taken prisoner, many were Americans in the Philippines when it fell to Imperial Japan. They did not get the '29 minimum. What they got was torture, summary execution, poor food, disease, slave labor and unimaginable suffering. That was the last war we fought where we actually declared war on other countries.

In the Korean War, where we lost 54,246 dead (and another 8,000 MIA) in three years, there were approximately 7,100 Americans taken prisoners by North Korean or Chinese forces. They did not get the '29 minimum. Approximately 2,700 died in captivity, a staggering percentage. What the living got was torture, summary execution, starvation, disease, slave labor and unimaginable suffering.

In the Vietnam War, where we lost 59, 193 dead (and another 1600 are still MIA) in 8 years, there were only 766 official prisoners, mostly shot down airmen, of which 114 died in captivity. They did not get the '29 minimum. What they got was torture, summary execution, poor food, disease and unimaginable suffering.

In Gulf War I, which lasted days and cost us 378 dead, there were only 23 American POWs and their suffering was brief only because the war ended so quickly.

In Gulf War II, which lasted 10 years and cost us 4,404 dead, there were only 8 official American POWs and they did not get the minimum but their suffering lasted only about three weeks as we quickly captured all of Iraq. During the insurgency period, all the Americans taken prisoner by illegal combatants were murdered relatively quickly after they were captured, several were tortured as well.

In Afghanistan, our war against al Qaeda and the Taliban has lasted 13 years, with no end in sight, has cost us 1,098 dead, so far. American POWs are few, probably only 8 of which all were murdered but Sgt. Bergdahl and whether he was a POW or a deserter/collaborator is unclear.

In all the other places in which our servicemen and women served, there were no reported POWs.

So, in review, of all the thousands of American POWs taken since our signing the '29 Geneva Convention, only some of the guys taken by the NAZIs were treated at or near the minimum required by the convention. The NAZIs alone followed the convention. The rest of our POWs were placed by their captors in a simulacrum of hell.

But we're the bad guys.



What a Nonsensical Phrase is 'Climate Denialism'

Global Warming is a phrase that has actual meaning. It means the average temperature in the majority of the Earth's regions is increasing over time to show a net temperature gain all over the world, on average.
Climate Denialism is meaningless in and of itself. Whatever any of us think about trends in the weather, there is a climate, always and undeniably so. Lukewarmers like me think that increasing CO2 has some warming effect and part of the increasing CO2 is man made. But it's little and very likely to be beneficial. The lack of actual global warming over the past two decades has caused those who see catastrophe and doom with a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere partly through fossil fuel use, those who I call the Warmie true believers, to have had to abandon the untrue rallying cry about global warming and substitute for it something else. They still believe in global warming (despite the actual measurement of global temperatures for the past two decades) but they had to get a new name or be laughed at every time they said it.
Which brings me to the latest piece by Dana Millbank, who is kind of a dick and none too bright. 

Millbank has just been made aware, apparently, of a scientific fact most of us learned in grade school.

“CO2 is basically plant food, and the more CO2 in the environment the better plants do,” proclaimed Roger Bezdek, a consultant to energy companies, at an event hosted Monday by the United States Energy Association, an industry trade group.

OK, the fact was stated by a consultant to fossil fuel sellers, but is it true? I waited for the refutation for the rest of the article but it never came. Millbank kvetches a bit:

I’m neither a scientist nor an economist, but I’ve heard that correlation is not the same as causation. I pointed out to Bezdek that increasing energy use fueled the economic growth, and CO2 was just a byproduct. So wouldn’t it make more sense to use cleaner energy?
“Fossil fuels will continue to provide 75, 80, 85 percent of the world’s energy for at least the next four or five decades,” he asserted. And even if we could reduce CO2, we shouldn’t. “If these benefits are real — and there have been five decades and thousands of studies and major conferences that pretty much have proven they are — then maybe we shouldn’t be too eager to get rid of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

But then he acts as if he has refuted it.

This was some creative thinking, and it took a page from the gun lobby, which argues that the way to curb firearm violence is for more people to be armed.

This is a what's know among the lefty intelligentsia as a two fer: 'Creative thinking' is apparently code for 'more bullshit from the Climate Denialists' and he gets to compare apples to oranges to take a swipe at supporters of our Second Amendment rights while pretending that this is refutation. Yeah, but Dana, is it untrue that more CO2 in the atmosphere is beneficial generally to the people on our fair planet? Alas, silence on that central question to the piece.

Another questioner at the event asked Bezdek if he had considered ocean acidification, the release of methane gases, pollution and other side effects of rising CO2.

The ocean is basic (above 7 on the ph scale) so that more carbolic acid in it (through CO2 absorption) actually buffers it and makes it less basic and more neutral but not acidic. If we tried, we couldn't make the ocean acidic. This is a recurrent example of Warmie anti-factual cant. Methane, measured in parts per Billion in the atmosphere (where it's 1800 ppbv), has not been and will never be a cause of atmospheric warming, as the frequencies of light where it does its greenhouse warming thing are already completely saturated by, that is, fully used by, water vapor in the air (measured in parts per Hundred and it's anywhere between 2 and 4 pphv). CO2 as a beneficial trace gas necessary to all life on Earth but the colonies of weird things around volcanic 'smokers' in the deep oceans. To call it pollution is to abandon the very meaning of pollution. I guess oxygen is pollution too as it causes fire and rust. Aren't those bad things? And, Dana, what are the side effects of rising CO2 other than the beneficial effects on plant life? Oh, that's right, the doubtful theory that the trace beneficial gas controls the 'thermostat' on the planet's weather, our old friend, global warming. Right. Back to Dana's lack of refutation.

The presentation began as a standard recitation of the climate-change denial position, that “there’s been no global warming for almost two decades” and that forecasts are “based on flawed science.”

Yes, those are standard facts we Deniers use. But are they wrong? It apparently is beneath Dana's dignity to address the truth or falsity of these difficult not to believe statements. Apparently the Warmies refute by ignoring.

Pretty pathetic, really.



De Cruciatum

I'll get around to the CIA "torture" brouhaha in a second. I do think Dick Cheney was magnificent it defense of the program and against pointlessly airing complete rubbish "reports" that never interviewed a single person, but first some personal history.
I was walking across a long, wide bridge in Luxembourg in Winter 1976 and it had snowed a ton and there was maybe 18 inches of very wet show everywhere. And this bus was coming, pushing and throwing off onto the sidewalk a bow wave of slush and water about 4 and a half fee tall. I was pretty much in the middle of the bridge so outrunning it was out of the question. I kinda panicked for a few steps and then I grew calm and stood tall and waited for the bus to pass. The force of the slush/water nearly knocked off me off my feet. It hit my front and traveled up into my face, right up my nose and over the top of my head. I don't think a single square inch of any piece of clothing had on was dry. It was a long, cold walk back to Jack Black's apartment near the train station and a change of clothes.

I know that we did a safe water boarding to three Muslim terrorists about 12 years ago. I say safe because we made their head the lowest point where they were lying so no water would enter their lungs. The water on cloth over the face is sufficient to trigger an autonomic response, that is, the water covering the face makes the body believe it's drowning (even though it's not). You can't not feel the response; it's not a perception filtered through higher brain functions. There is no lasting damage, not even psychological from a one time thing like that. I watched the late Christopher Hitchens get water boarded for about 7 seconds before he wussied out. He declared it torture but it's not. And to call it torture is to cheapen and diminish the very idea of torture, not to mention minimizing the real anguish and degradation suffered by actual torture victims.

I was not a victim of torture when the European bus driver sent water into my face and up my nose. Chris Hitchens was not a victim of torture when he had a wet cloth on his face for a few seconds. And the guys who tell you water boarding, as we did it to Hitchens and the Muslim scum, is torture are just lying to you.

Of course, it all depends on context. Doing it one time as they did to Hitchens is not torture. Doing it again and again to the same guy, with barely a few seconds between for the guy to recover before the wet towel is coming again, well, that could be torture.


Friday, December 12, 2014


Tales of Deep South Racist Police Officers

White Alabama policeman who could have busted a black mother for stealing a $1.50 carton of eggs, buys her the eggs instead and then later comes over to her house to give her two truckloads of food to feed her family.

F*** the Police, as the dumbass protestors recently say.


Sunday, December 07, 2014


Thought of the Day

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, “We the People of the U.S.A.” produced the following:

22 aircraft carriers,
[102 escort carriers,]
 8 battleships,
48 cruisers,
349 destroyers,
420 destroyer escorts,
203 submarines,
34 million tons of merchant ships,
100,000 fighter aircraft,
98,000 bombers,
24,000 transport aircraft,
58,000 training aircraft,
93,000 tanks,
257,000 artillery pieces,
105,000 mortars,
3,000,000 machine guns, and
2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb, and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama Administration couldn’t even build a web site that worked.

Cicero Skip

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