Saturday, March 28, 2009

gold laden presence
preferred alternative to
bin laden presence
[Written on 2/25/08]

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"War On Terror" Rebranded As "Overseas Contingency Operations" (Telegraph/UK)

Though it is not something I have spoken of very often, I did not like the term "war on terror" coined by President Bush's administration because it was too vague. A better term as I see it would have been a "war on terrorists" or "war on terrorism." But having said that, the term "overseas contingency operations" is even vaguer still and what will happen when{1} your greater blurring of distinctions gets us attacked again by terrorists re-emboldened by evidence that you do not take their thread to national security with the seriousness it deserves??? Will the attacks on our soil still be "overseas contingency operations" or will you attempt to re-euphemize things once again to an even more vague terminology like "non-overseas domestic contingency containment operative protocols" or whatever???

For reasons that should be obvious to the reader, I will despite my not liking the term "war on terror" continue to use it much as I will continue to stand by my assertion that water boarding as the CIA did it -which differed from how the Japanese in WWII and others who have utilized it have done it{2}- is not torture when the term "torture" is properly understood.{3} Pound sand President Obama, words do not change their meanings at your mere whim.

Notes:

{1} Yes I said "when and not if" because within the next four years or however long President Obama occupies the White Hizzouse we will be attacked again.

{2} I commented on this matter most recently in this posting from yesterday:

Points to Ponder on Waterboarding and Distinctions With a Difference (circa March 27, 2009)


My point in the above thread material was not to take a position one way or the other but only to point out that there is a distinction with a difference in various methods of what is called "water boarding" and while some methods would fit the criteria for torture properly defined, others (such as the CIA's method) would not whatever one happens to think about it personally.

{3} On Torture and General Norms of Theological Interpretation --Parts I-III (circa October 13, 2006)

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Points to Ponder:
(On Waterboarding and Distinctions With a Difference)

[Prefatory Note: I decided for the sake of not making the original posting today overlong to run it in a day or two and preface it with this material. -ISM]

It is rather disingenuous to not note that there are a variety of ways of doing water boarding and that the method the US government has used is in certain respects markedly different than what the Japanese and others have done. The failure of this article to note the differences (and also to claim that the method is torture) is profoundly disappointing for a source which is supposed to present a neutral point of view. As someone else correctly noted "[t]his article... is taking sides in a controversial issue while simplifying the nuances of that issue."...

Now while you could claim that source is taken second hand, I can respond to that by noting that I took the quote and the link being quoted from a site that does not support my view on this -to the extent that I have even made my view known here which I have not. My underlying point all along is that this article is not demonstrating neutral point of view in treating on the issue fairly which means (by definition) not taking sides or appearing to take sides.

Now then, you claimed "XXXXXXX" that there are "no sources" which posit a difference in the methods that I claimed there was. But as noted above, the Japanese were pouring water into noses and throats of those so subjected to their method and according to the CIA's instruction manual, the CIA method did not do this. And whatever trick the CIA method plays on the body there is nonetheless no actual suffocation that takes place with the CIA method; ergo no "torture" takes place even by your own definition of that word. The same cannot be said for the method utilized by the Japanese during the war where water was poured into the nose and throat. Or other methods of water boarding where the person's head is dunked in water. In other words, arguments can be made that some uses of this method could constitute torture and others may well not. [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence (circa March 8-10, 2008)]

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Tales From the Crypt Mailbag" Dept.

The emailers words will be in dark red font. Without further ado...

A month ago, when Republican hopeful Bobby Jindal stood at a press conference and ridiculed federal money spent on volcano monitoring, many observers marveled at the sheer stupidity of a Louisiana governor belittling a system that could give advance warning of a natural disaster.

First of all, I am curious to know who these "many" observers were. Secondly, if memory serves, the subject at the time was economic stimulus and federal money on volcano monitoring is not going to help with economic stimulus. Or are you claiming it would??? Because if so I have my own "marvel[ing]" to do but that is neither here nor there.

But before the governor could take his foot out of his mouth, an Alaskan volcano erupted five times, a volcano that, thanks to promised stimulus money, will be monitored more closely in the future.

Again, volcano monitoring money is not an economic stimulus. And care to bet that the volcano you mentioned in its five eruptions did more to the environment of a detrimental nature than all of human industry in the past two hundred plus years??? Yet you probably are one of those who stand in the blizzards claiming we need to stop "global warming" under the presumption that man's activity is somehow more damaging than that of nature's.

Cleary, Mr. Jindal doesn't think much about volcanoes. If he can't fathom what pre-disaster monitoring could do for his home state, he can't be expected to know that between 1980 and 1990, volcanoes worldwide killed at least 26,000 people and caused 450,000 people to flee their homes.

First of all, you are not staying on target here. The issue at the time was a proposed government economic "stimulus" by President Obama and the Democratic congress: that is what "stimulus" money is for. If you want to claim that federal monitoring money would "stimulate" the economy you would only reveal how little you really know about economics. Of course that would probably earn you a spot in BHO's cabinet since competence does not seem to be a pre-qualification.

But even that point aside, there is also the issue of whether volcano monitoring is something the federal government should be involving itself in to begin with or if this is a function of state government. Jindal probably views it as the latter and that makes this a philosophical issue not one of Jindal thinking that volcano monitoring is not of importance. That is the problem with people like you: you think someone who opposes federal intervention into an area or program means that there is opposition to an intervention or program period. The two are not synonymous at all.

And one can assume that on May 18th, 1980, when Mt. St. Helen's erupted, claiming 65 lives and causing $1.2 billion in damage, Mr. Jindal was reading the funny papers.

One can assume that when economics was taught in school you were not even in class if you think federal volcano monitoring would help with economic "stimulus."

In reality, Mr. Jindal is not as thickheaded as he seems. Rather, he's a Republican, and thus, spends his days taking random shots at any and all federal expenditure, no matter how crucial.

In fairness to you, I do not think you are as off the reservation intellectually as your email to me appears. It seems to me that you are so opposed to Governor Jindal that you are attempting to go after the only thing he said that with a bit of clever twisting can appear to be an argument against him. But you need to keep focused on the issue at hand. For apart from the question of if it is a federal or state matter and whether the federal government has any business putting funds for this sort of thing in the federal budget, the question is if this is something that would "stimulate" the economy. So unless you are going to claim it would "stimulate the economy"{1}, your entire line of purported "argument" against Governor Jindal is irrelevant.

Notes:

{1} This would be an interesting argument to see you try and make: good luck with it!!!

{2} See footnote one.

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