Torture is for the Sake of Torture

Torture exists solely for the sake of torture, it is indeed a sad world where we assume that torture is an acceptable way to obtain confessions and information. Sarah Palin’s attempt to portray torture as harmless and “a dunking” is the sort of revisionism you see when people just want to feel better about doing something bad. It’s just water after all. A lot of the torture that the CIA (and indeed the UK government by our involvement with the extraordinary renditions) was involved in was just that. Torture.

Sure you can call it a fancy name. Enhanced Interrogation makes it sound like a particularly difficult questionnaire. No. I am afraid water boarding is torture. And hiring someone else to do it for you makes you just as responsible for the blood their hands. The Republicans have long supported torture. A lot of Americans bought into the necessity of torture. I often joke that as long as Americans have the right to own guns they will accept any real loss of freedoms and abuses from the government because they still think that the gun will protect them.  [Read more…]

Outrage and Acceptability in Black Riots

I have an interesting way of explaining to people who don’t get “racism”. The idea of casual racism is much more deadlier than the Klansman.

The person you fear is not the swastika wearing goose stepping skin-head. That guy is all talk and no trousers. His very struggle for white domination is a joke. I don’t look at places like the Stormfront and think “MAN! That’s scary!” but “Man that’s kind of pathetic”.

These are  people who see themselves as the German Nazis. Educated, Erudite and Stylish.

Not potato men who the Nazis would have killed. These are the sort of people who think that “if only we beat the Darkies and Jews! We would be upto our balls in Hugo Boss and Frauleins”. Without realising the biggest impediment to their plans are the fact that they are not bright. These are people who literally think the people who are so bad that killing Nazis is akin too killing Aliens, Robots or Zombies in public media. And rather than take the reality where the Nazis were actually human beings with nuances and beliefs that had their roots in many things… they would rather just march around badly mutilating German. [Read more…]

Rage Against the Machine

It is no surprise that the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown was not indicted.

I don’t think there is a riot in Ferguson. I think it is just “Hijinks”. After all boys will be boys? I am sorry? Are we reporting two cases of rioting in different ways? Is it okay to riot due to an out of control pumpkin festival but not if you have to argue about the rights of the police?

Activism among White Kids is more acceptable. Possibly because it’s a more genteel form.  It’s people angry about GMOs and Global Warming. But when people of colour get angry about things it generally doesn’t end well. We aren’t portrayed as passionate, we are portrayed as dangerous.

And there are some problems with the dialogue about this. Yes, even among atheists we see the problem. If there was any indicator of “you don’t get it”, there are enough of us who don’t get why people are so angry.

There is a puzzling notion that people should ALWAYS peacefully protest. I agree, peaceful protest is ideal but sometimes it is not possible. The point of powerful pacifist protest is to break the law. Willingly and Deliberately break the law. It is marching miles to make salt. It is purposefully sitting in the wrong seat. It is assembling after curfew.  [Read more…]

So what do you think about ISIL?

The issue with ISIL is branding and savvy ideology. Fighters were lured in with tales of Assad’s brutal often omnicidal attacks. So they live in the shadow of being epic douchebags fighting equally epic douchebags. So these guys started off as heroes fighting against a corrupt and brutal government. Plucky heroes gone horribly wrong… [Read more…]

Joseph Farah – Da’esh and Obama

I generally am amused by Ed Brayton’s stellar coverage of American Wingnuts but this one seems to have managed to limbo under his radar.

Observe as Joseph Farah enlightens us with a rather amusing article which simply doesn’t get how the world works or indeed the situation. Or maybe he does and he prefers the tired old habit of American Conservatives where they simply lie. [Read more…]

Sam Harris – Irony is Going to War for Olive Branches

I wrote a response to Sam Harris. It made the rounds as one of the few people who were atheist who were willing to speak out against a “Horseman” of atheism. I faced down everything, from the accusations of “drama blogging” and being contrary for the sake of it. To siding with terrorists. And the ever popular claim of “Secret Muslim” made a showing.

But at the core of my argument was me pointing out that the heart of the conflict was entirely based on ownership of land. And that in the grand scheme of things, Sam Harris has forgotten that the Palestinians are indeed the defenders and have suffered abuse upon abuse and attacks on their secular notions giving power to the only untouched institution that is religion. The secular PLO got sidelined and the hard-line Hamas came to greater power until it became what everyone feared. The elected representatives of the Palestinians.  [Read more…]