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Sunday, December 23

23.Dec.2012 - Open Shame Letter to Americans, Torture Doesn't Work, 900 Children Kidnapped by Israeli Soldiers (2012), Gun Violence, Killer Children, Moral Urgency of Action, New Vanguard of Transparent Journalism, US Solo in Blocking UN Resolution, Antiwar Activists Can Sue Government Spies, Million+ Documents Will Be Released by Wikileaks, Reasons to Quit the Catholic Church, Drone Pilot's Guilty Conscience, Faith on Trial, more.

An Open Letter To All Americans: Shame On You!
The Sandy Hook shooting should not have surprised you. It’s simply the most recent in a series of multiple murders. Since 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed into a tower on the University of Texas campus in Austin and started picking off random victims, the pattern has been depressingly familiar. The list of massacres rolls off the tongue like a litany: Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Fort Hood, Nickel Mines, Oak Ridge, Sandy Hook…

If more guns will make us as safe as the NRA claims - then why isn't America already the safest nation on earth?
The USA in general and the NRA in particular have reached a new low with the insane claim that more guns will make us safer and we should have armed guards at the doors of every schoolhouse across the nation. If such a ridiculous statement were true then why isn't our country the safest on the planet, given that we already own the majority of weapons?

Why "Torture Doesn't Work" Doesn't Work: Dealing with "Zero Dark Thirty"

I have visited this major blot upon the US escutcheon a number of times over the past five years (1-3). (Why there are so many blots one could visit and re-visit is a topic for another time.) One would have thought that it was dead and buried, along with the Cheney-Bush regime. In 2005 Bush himself had actually said that torture would not be included in the US armamentarium for dealing with enemies, perceived and real, (not a policy endorsed by the arch torture-facilitator Cheney), and President Obama had announced the renunciation as official US government policy. But now we are forced to revisit the subject by the new propaganda-shtick, Ooops, sorry, I mean movie, "Zero Dark Thirty." For what she has done in re-justifying the use of torture, some have even compared Kathryn Bigelow apparently from the technical side a fine film-maker, to Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi-era photographer, who was indeed a fine photographer.

Julian Assange: My work will not be cowed

Israeli Soldiers Kidnapped 900 Children In 2012

The Palestinian Ministry Of Detainees reported that this year witnessed a sharp increase in Israeli violations against Palestinian children, and said that Israeli soldiers kidnapped this year 900 Palestinian children comparing to 700 kidnapped last year.

Gun Violence, Massacres, and "Other Developed Countries"
One evening in the spring of 1993 I took a bus across San Francisco, leaving the troubled, largely impoverished neighborhood of the Western Addition, populated mostly by the descendents of African slaves, in which I lived (representing, I suppose, the artistic hippie beginnings of the gentrification process which has since pushed most of San Francisco's Black population across the bay). My closest friend at the time was someone I met because we were housemates in a big apartment. He was a tall man with a long, thick red mane and beaming eyes named Eric Mark. A brilliant engineer with a promising career as such who quit his job and became a cab driver in the interest of experiencing life more fully. Eric and I, along with one friend and two of his acquaintances, were headed to the Mission District, another troubled, impoverished neighborhood, this one populated mostly by the refugees from the wars in Guatemala and El Salvador, generally known as "immigrants."

Turning Children Into Killers: The Intolerable Pain Of Parental Neglect And Abuse

If you want to generate human wrath, just put a human being in an intolerably painful situation which they cannot resolve or escape. Do not be surprised if they lash out and kill, even many people, if it will end their powerlessness, isolation, and pain. I believe that this is the motivation in effect when these young adults, emotionally still children,
act to kill children.

From Sandy to Sandy Hook: The Moral Urgency of Action

President Barack Obama in Tucson, Arizona, 01/12/11. (photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)The reason Obama's words at Sandy Hook also speak to the moral urgency of climate action is, I think, because the president has been thinking a great deal about his legacy since winning re-election, thinking about his second-term agenda in terms of how it affects future generations.

Human Rights Watch: IDF violated laws of war by attacking journalists in GazaIsrael’s killing of two Palestinian journalists and attacks on media facilities during its Gaza offensive last month violated the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The New Vanguard of Journalism and Transparency
File image, internet censorship. (art: The Inquistir)
hen, in late 2010, Wikileaks started releasing a trove of US diplomatic cables, lawmakers were dumbfounded. The whistleblowing organisation had previously raised ire within the US government for its release of its "Collateral Murder" video, but until the leak of the classified cables, requital seemed uncertain. Then, unable to take legal action against the site because of First Amendment protections, panicky legislators did the one thing they could: Pressure intermediaries to deny service to Wikileaks.

US Alone in Blocking UN Resolution Opposing Israeli Settlements
But for US veto, Security Council would have passed legally binding resolution obligating Israel to stop settlement plan

Court Rules Antiwar Activists Can Sue Government Spies
A federal appeals court involving antiwar activists who were secretly infiltrated by US military spies has ruled in favor of the activists, marking the first time a court has endorsed the people’s ability to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Julian Assange's Christmas Present: 'Over A Million Documents' Will Be Released
Making a rare appearance on the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy where he has spent the last six months, Julian Assange lashed out against "war criminals," a corrupt media and "timid" academics. Assange also took the opportunity to salute Bradley Manning, jailed journalists and others "whose fates are linked to mine."

Reasons to Quit the Catholic Church: A Coda
Even though I just published a long list of reasons why good people should leave the Catholic church, it seems like new ones are piling up every time I turn around. Herewith are some of the latest arguments for all people of common sense and conscience to sever their association with this corrupt medieval dictatorship.

10 Key Court Decisions That Prevent Right-Wing Christians from Controlling Your Sex Life

Governments are not standing to the side anymore
We have seen for the past couple years the cyber wasteland become something that is not dominated by young ambitious hackers anymore. The age of the Wild West is over and the big boys want a piece of the action. With so many infrastructures connected to the web these days it is only natural for more powerful and interested concerns to take their skills to the web. We are seeing the beginnings of true cyber war and it is something that is not going to be stop anytime soon.

Bankers Launder Billions in Drug Money, Get Slap on Wrist

The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child

childThe German newspaper Der Spiegel has published a moving profile of an American drone pilot who flew armed, remotely piloted missions over Afghanistan, one country where the War on Terror is actually declared. Drone strikes there are run under the supervision of Air Force officers operating under military procedures. For those reasons, it is better hedged against abuse than the drone program run elsewhere by the CIA. The subject of the profile nevertheless lamented the fact that he sometimes had to kill “good daddies,” that he watched targets so thoroughly via drone surveillance that he even attended their funerals – interesting, that – and that as a consequence of the job he collapsed with stress-induced exhaustion and developed PTSD.

War on Drugs -a trillion dollars spent

Putting Faith On Trial: Is Religion a Force For Good Or Evil?

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