Saturday, September 7, 2013

Some pithy thoughts on U.S. wars and Syrian intervention by Art Woodstone

I am less interested in determining whether one war of another we engage in is legal than I am in whether they are logical or just.  As far as I'm concerned, none of our wars--none!--since World War II has made any sense.

With Korea and Vietnam we were motivated in great measure by our irrational fear that if we didn't get involved the dominoes would fall to the ineluctable spread of evil communism.

In retrospect, while the idea of the entire Korean peninsula dominated by fascists from the north is anathema to me, it is, in the last analysis, a big so-what; try imagining how much success a North Korean tyrant would have invading Japan or how little he'd have invading [chuckle here] China.

As to Vietnam falling to communism, the fall has been virtually invisible; last time I looked, the defeated south was a flourishing example of small but unrestrained free enterprise.

Please tell me there was a logical of ethical reason to invade Iraq or any logical or ethical reason to stay in Afghanistan as long as we have.

Whether Congress gives Obama permission to strike surgically [more chuckles] at the Syrian government is irrelevant; our potential involvement remains illogical and unethical if not technically illegal.  Syrians have been murdering each other for two years with guns, cannons, planes, even knives.  All of a sudden we are horrified because the bastard Assad has decided to inflict death by gas.  If there is any logic to our intervening, we should have intervened the moment the bullets started flying.

Our national impulse to get involved in foreign wars stems, I insist, from a disgraceful macho passion to express ourselves violently on the lamest excuses handy.  Our President promises to keep America ground troops out of Syria but he is obviously willing to inflict death by air.

Of course, he claims it is our moral responsibility to involve ourselves and kill some Syrians in order to stop them from killing other Syrians.  [My emphasis.]

For once idiots like Rand Paul actually have a good idea--stay away from Syria and let the savages on both sides fight it out among themselves.

Our leaders always tell us the truth

 That was then.

 This is now.

Not a hill of beans of difference.

U.S. use of chemical weapons


America Has Deployed Chemical and Biological Weapons on the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and More

Laying bare the total hypocrisy of a 'principled' attack on Syria.
September 3, 2013  |

This essay is excerpted from Jeffrey St. Clair’s book Grand Theft Pentagon. As Washington deliberates about a 'principled' response to an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, the history of the US's own use of chemical and biological weapons should be read widely.

The United States, which has deployed its CBW arsenal against the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Haitian boat people and Canada, plus exposure of hundreds of thousands of unwitting US citizens to an astonishing array of germ agents and toxic chemicals, killing dozens of people.

The US experimentation with bio-weapons goes back to the distribution of cholera-infect blankets to American Indian tribes in the 1860s. In 1900, US Army doctors in the Philippines infected five prisoners with a variety of plague and 29 prisoners with Beriberi. At least four of the subjects died. In 1915, a doctor working with government grants exposed 12 prisoners in Mississippi to pellagra, an incapacitating disease that attacks the central nervous system.

After World War I, the United States went on a chemical weapons binge, producing millions of barrels of mustard gas and Lewisite. Thousands of US troops were exposed to these chemical agents in order to “test the efficacy of gas masks and protective clothing”. The Veterans Administration refused to honor disability claims from victims of such experiments. The Army also deployed mustard gas against anti-US protesters in Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, then under contract with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, initiated his horrific Puerto Rico Cancer Experiments, infecting dozens of unwitting subjects with cancer cells.At least thirteen of his victims died as a result. Rhoads went on to headof the US Army Biological Weapons division and to serve on the Atomic Energy Commission, where he oversaw radiation experiments on thousands of US citizens. In memos to the Department of Defense, Rhoads expressed his opinion that Puerto Rican dissidents could be “eradicated” with the judicious use of germ bombs.

In 1942, US Army and Navy doctors infected 400 prisoners in Chicago withmalaria in experiments designed to get “a profile of the disease and develop a treatment for it.” Most of the inmates were black and none was informed of the risks of the experiment. Nazi doctors on trial at Nuremberg cited the Chicago malaria experiments as part of their defense.

At the close of World War II, the US Army put on its payroll, Dr. Shiro Ishii, the head of the Imperial Army of Japan’s bio-warfare unit. Dr. Ishii had deployed a wide range of biological and chemical agents against Chinese and Allied troops. He also operated a large research center in Manchuria,where he conducted bio-weapons experiments on Chinese, Russian and American prisoners of war. Ishii infected prisoners with tetanus; gave them typhoid-laced tomatoes; developed plague-infected fleas; infected women with syphilis; performed dissections on live prisoners; and exploded germ bombs over dozens of men tied to stakes. In a deal hatched by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Ishii turned over more than 10,000 pages of his “research findings”to the US Army, avoided prosecution for war crimes and was invited to lecture at Ft. Detrick, the US Army bio-weapons center in Frederick, Maryland.

In 1950 the US Navy sprayed large quantities of serratia marcescens, a bacteriological agent, over San Francisco, promoting an outbreak of pneumonia-like illnesses and causing the death of at least one man, Ed Nevins.

A year later, Chinese Premier Chou En-lai charged that the US military and the CIA had used bio-agents against North Korea and China. Chou produced statements from 25 US prisoners of war backing him his claims that the US had dropped anthrax contaminated feathers, mosquitoes and fleas carrying Yellow Fever and propaganda leaflets spiked with cholera over Manchuria and North Korea.

From 1950 through 1953, the US Army released chemical clouds over six US and Canadian cities. The tests were designed to test dispersal patterns of chemical weapons. Army records noted that the compounds used over Winnipeg, Canada, where there were numerous reports of respiratory illnesses, involved cadmium, a highly toxic chemical.

In 1951 the US Army secretly contaminated the Norfolk Naval Supply Centerin Virginia with infectious bacteria. One type was chosen because blackswere believed to be more susceptible than whites. A similar experiment was undertaken later that year at Washington, DC’s National Airport. The bacteria was later linked to food and blood poisoning and respiratory problems.

Savannah, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida were the targets of repeatedArmy bio-weapons experiments in 1956 and 1957. Army CBW researchers released millions of mosquitoes on the two towns in order to test the ability of insects to carry and deliver yellow fever and dengue fever. Hundreds of residents fell ill, suffering from fevers, respiratory distress, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid. Army researchers disguised themselves as public health workers in order photograph and test the victims. Several deaths were reported.

In 1965 the US Army and the Dow Chemical Company injected dioxin into 70 prisoners (most of them black) at the Holmesburg State Prison in Pennsylvania. The prisoners developed severe lesions which went untreated for seven months. A year later, the US Army set about the most ambitious chemical warfare operation in history.

From 1966 to 1972, the United States dumped more than 12 million gallonsof Agent Orange (a dioxin-powered herbicide) over about 4.5 million acresof South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The government of Vietnam estimate the civilian casualties from Agent Orange at more than 500,000. The legacy continues with high levels of birth defects in areas that were saturated with the chemical. Tens of thousands of US soldiers were also the victims of Agent Orange.

In a still classified experiment, the US Army sprayed an unknown bacterial agent in the New York Subway system in 1966. It is not known if the test caused any illnesses.

A year later, the CIA placed a chemical substance in the drinking water supply of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Washington, DC. The test was designed to see if it was possible to poison drinking water with LSD or other incapacitating agents.

In 1969, Dr. D.M. McArtor, the deputy director for Research and Technologyfor the Department of Defense, asked Congress to appropriate $10 millionfor the development of a synthetic biological agent that would be resistant” to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease”.

In 1971 the first documented cases of swine fever in the western hemisphere showed up in Cuba. A CIA agent later admitted that he had been instructed to deliver the virus to Cuban exiles in Panama, who carried the virus into Cuba in March of 1991. This astounding admission received scant attention in the US press.

In 1980, hundreds of Haitian men, who had been locked up in detention camps in Miami and Puerto Rico, developed gynecomasia after receiving “hormone” shots from US doctors. Gynecomasia is a condition causing males to developfull-sized female breasts.

In 1981, Fidel Castro blamed an outbreak of dengue fever in Cuba on the CIA. The fever killed 188 people, including 88 children. In 1988, a Cuban exile leader named Eduardo Arocena admitted “bringing some germs” into Cuba in 1980.

Four years later an epidemic of dengue fever struck Managua, Nicaragua.Nearly 50,000 people came down with the fever and dozens died. This was the first outbreak of the disease in Nicaragua. It occurred at the height of the CIA’s war against the Sandinista government and followed a series of low-level “reconnaissance” flights over the capital city.

In 1996, the Cuba government again accused the US of engaging in “biological aggression”. This time it involved an outbreak of thrips palmi, an insect that kills potato crops, palm trees and other vegetation. Thrips first showed up in Cuba on December 12, 1996, following low-level flights over the island by US government spray planes. The US was able to quash a United Nations investigation of the incident.

At the close of the Gulf War, the US Army exploded an Iraqi chemical weapons depot at Kamashiya. In 1996, the Department of Defense finally admitted that more than 20,000 US troops were exposed to VX and sarin nerve agentsas a result of the US operation at Kamashiya. This may be one cause of Gulf War Illness, another cause is certainly the experimental vaccines unwittingly given to more than 100,000 US troops.

This article appeared at Alternet and is used with permission.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mr. Colbert's Smile File + Suicide by Eric Bolling

Good News from

Sometimes there is good news which needs to be shared. is dedicated to making this country live up to its promise, to righting the wrongs and the unjustices that are pervasive and detrimental to so many of our fellow citizens.

One of the ways the Moveon organization does this is by helping people start petitions to bring something that is wrong into public view.  This video explains, in dramatic fashion, what can happen when one person decides to take a stand.  Enjoy!

Islamic Society files grievance in Tampa Bay

Down Tampa Bay way in Florida, the Islamic Society of the Tampa Bay Area has filed a grievance with school administrators to allow children of Muslim parents to leave school early once a week for religious services.

We've heard before that this is the kind of thing we can expect to happen when an area's Muslim population increases beyond a certain level.  The larger the number of Muslims the greater the demands.

In England, Muslims have demanded a variety of special privileges for their children in public schools; indeed they've insisted that taxpayers fund Muslim schools.  In Sweden, Muslims have gone so far as to demand that the Islamic faith be taught in public schools.  France has experienced similar problems.

And now it's happening here.

According to Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog, the Islamic Society, referencing Florida laws regarding respecting the religious beliefs of students, are demanding that Muslim students be allowed to leave school at 12:30 every Friday to attend "mandatory Khutbah (sermon) and prayers."  According to Islamic teaching, such attendance is required and failing to attend is a sin.

It is true that other religions receive recognition at different times during the year for religious observance.  But not once a week.  As Mr. Mehta notes, the time involved in this request means Muslim students would miss about 20% of their educational requirement.

Let us hope that the school officials in the Tampa Bay Area gracefully but firmly deny this request!  Unfortunately, I'll bet this is just the beginning.  It won't be long before there will be other demands, perhaps even the demand, on the grounds of "fairness," that Islam in all its glory, be presented to public school students by local Imams.

Final comment:  I see no reason why public schools need to "accommodate" any student's religious beliefs.  And it is probably unconstitutional to shut down public schools so that students may observe religious celebrations.  If not, it should be.  Religion is about indoctrination.   Education is about inculcating a desire to know what is real and true as opposed to what is unreal and merely pious rubbish. 

Read Mr. Mehta's complete post here.

The GOP Clinging to God and Guns in Caldwell County, Texas.

Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea if at least parts of Texas seceded from the Union.  Those good ol' boys could redo the U.S. Constitution so it's more to their liking, and they could fix the Bible with an 11th Commandment:  "Thou shalt cling to both your God and your guns lest you git shot in the ass by a Democrat." 

Thanks to Christian Nightmares.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

For Mr. Kerry, the right war just came along!

From Kapshen.net

Shanah Tovah - Happy New Year

Rosh Hashana being celebrated in Berlin, 1945.

Rosh Hashana began at sundown, September 4.

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה‎, literally "head [of] the year"), is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe") which usually occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of Tishrei. The day is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve or Adam and Lilith, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind's role in God's world. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram's horn) and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a "sweet new year".

-- Wikipedia

An alternative way to deal with the Syrian crisis

"A grassroots progressive in Oklahoma, Tom Guild, is an independent thinker and is going to have an open mind. 'Syria is a basket case,' he told us, 'with heartbreaking tragedies piled one on another. The [Assad] government is evil and much of the opposition is affiliated with enemies of the United States. We should tread carefully and make sure we are not drawn into another war without end. American cannot be the world’s policeman, and we have paid a heavy price trying to do so.'

"Nick Ruiz, a professor who once ran as a Green, is the progressive Democratic candidate in the Orlando area running against GOP warmonger John Mica, also gave us a position just before Obama announced he would ask for a congressional vote before attacking.
'Why not conference and engage the Syrian leadership and factions-- and Iran, along with Russia and China for good measure? Before drones and Tomahawks, bombs and killing; as an alternative to the stereotypical language of violence that the world is so tired of hearing. Let's talk about it; not naively, but intensely; let's argue about what's happening in Syria, with the Syrian leadership and rebellion, their neighboring ally Iran, and advocates of sovereignty: Russia and China. We get it. We understand boundaries and sovereignty. And we ought to thoroughly understand rebellion, having been borne of it... The world's interests are better served with an eye toward de-escalation, rather than aggravation and aggrandizement... My vote would be NO on assaulting Syria.

'As Democrats we know better than to fight unjust wars; we do not leave the poor defenseless, nor erode civil rights or ignore social injustice. We helped to define these vital, democratic concepts in the modern era. When our leaders change for the worse, and seek to lead us toward the lowest common denominator, then we should thank them for whatever good they've done in the past-- but must tell them 'No, we will not follow you there, and further, you will not lead us any longer.' It is a crucial time when one must have the good sense to choose new leaders. But it's now true: that time is upon us.'"

From Crooks & Liars here.

Stupid people in large groups

Could it be...

   there is a correlation...

      between the message on this sign...

         the U.S. Congress...

            and the need to punish

               Bashar al-Assad of Syria?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Ten Commandments - by NonStampCollector

One wonders if the wingnuts who want to post this nonsense on the halls of our judicial palaces have even read them!

Here's more of these delicious satires on YouTube - the NonStampCollector's creations.

The Arab world ignores Syrian pleas for help.

From:  Today's News.  Captioned.

Jon Stewart - Obama, Syria and The Red Line

Jon Stewart was back from his summer vacation with a vengeance this Tuesday and he let the Obama administration have it for the push for military intervention in Syria. Stewart, like a lot of us, wanted to know why the push now to go in there when we've already seen a hundred thousand Syrians slaughtered by other means than chemical weapons, and thinks he found his explanation.
After pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of the United States making an issue of another country using chemical weapons, Stewart showed several clips of pundits and Sen. Ted Cruz saying we're going to look weak, and "that bullies and tyrants don't respect weakness," Stewart responded:
STEWART: Oh right! We have to bomb Syria because we're in seventh grade! And the red line... the red line that they crossed is actually a dick-measuring ribbon.
Why does holding back look like weakness? Isn't it maturity? It's like when a guy's picking on Clark Kent and he doesn't do anything, even though he knows he could throw that guy into the sun.
I'll tell you what would be real weakness, Clark Kent laying waste to a town because someone called him a pussy.
You know what else is weakness? Asking the advice of a plague of idiots who got the same issue completely wrong in Iraq -- or as those people are known on cable... experts.
Cue Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld and Bloody Bill Kristol doing just that.
STEWART: Hey everybody! The idiot parade is in town! Shut the f**k up! Shut the f**k up!....
And on he went. My thoughts exactly any time I see one of them on the television. Welcome back Jon.

Thanks to Crooks & Liars.  The above commentary by Heather.

So what's changed?

Nine years ago, Uncle Rummy spoke of the need to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

So, what's changed?

The names.  Today it's Syria that needs our intervention to rid Syria of Bashar al-Assad and his chemical weapons and it's Uncle Kerry preaching the same old crap.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Let's be damned for not blowing up the world!

One of the surest signs we ought to step back and reconsider Obama's desire to send the American military to blow Syria apart is the fact that Boehner and Cantor and McCain approve.  There's something seriously wrong with this picture!

The picture got even more dismal when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for Obama's plan of military action.  It darkened some more when Ms. Pelosi also climbed aboard the military juggernaut! 

When I read of these things a creepy realization dawned:  there's no hope.  When push comes to shove, there's not much difference between the Democrats and Republicans.  They both follow the path of least resistance -- morality or goodness or just plain common sense be damned.

We are told by Democrats in whom we have believed that if we do not send rockets into Syria the consequences will be horrific!  Shades of Iraq.  Again, we're not told what those consequences will be--just that they will be bad, very bad.  We must start shooting now!  Fire up those missiles!

We've heard all these rationales before.  Kerry says it's not like Iraq.  Why not?  How not?  It's not like Afghanistan, he said.  Again, he didn't, so far as I know, explain the difference.  We're not going to war he said.  Well, when the hell did bombing another country not constitute a state of war?

And then later today, he hemmed and hawed about putting boots on the ground.

This is the way it always begins.  And it always ends with our young American men and women dying in the trenches while the rich and the powerful and the mighty sit home sipping martinis, getting deferments for their kids, collecting bonus checks from the companies that provide the resources to fight the war.

[Here's a thought:  Follow the money!  Who or whom will benefit from military action in Syria.  It won't be the American taxpayer!!!!]

Well, where the hell is the money coming from?  We've got a sequester going.  All kinds of necessary things, like education, are suffering from that particular bit of stupidity which was the "gift" of Boehner, Cantor, McCain and other nogoodniks in our Congress.  We haven't begun to pay China for the Iraq war!  Isn't it strange that all these folks in our government who have been weeping and whining about our debt, claiming it is strangling us and will be the death of us, can somehow find the money to go off on military misadventures but never can find a cent rebuild a few bridges that are falling down, or hire more teachers or put more cops on the beat?

Norm Chomsky says that if we do what Obama wants we will be guilty of committing war crimes.  Of course, that fact doesn't get a lot of traction seeing as how there isn't anyone or any country powerful enough or stupid enough to try to stop us.  And we remember too clearly how the Bush-Cheney gang got off scot-free even though there was no question under the law that our militaristic adventures in Iraq were illegal and based upon a series of lies and evasions which means that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al., are clearly war criminals. 

But let's turn this around.  Let's say our treatment of "illegal" immigrants and our treatment of minorities was thought to be horrendous by another country, Mexico, for example.  So, Mexico, in its sovereignty, decided to shoot a few rockets into Border Patrol stations along the Rio Grande to teach us a lesson

We would scream bloody murder and bomb Mexico into little bitty tacos. 

Now perhaps our treatment of minorities and "illegals" does not measure up to the same standard of dastardlyness that Assad's chemical weapons do, but that really isn't the point.  The point is encompassed this way: 

By what right does an American president and an American Congress, against the majority will of the people of these United States, shoot rockets or missiles or whatever the hell they've got planned into another country to "punish" the leader? 

There is no such right, even though George W. Bush attempted to create one. 

But there's more.  Why did we not intervene when 100,000 people were killed by Assad's forces?  Is it OK to kill by automatic weapons, bombs, grenades, etc., but not by using other weapons we find particularly distasteful?  A few hundred Syrians killed by "chemical" weapons justifies American intervention?  What nonsense! 

And more.  We don't even know who the "good" guy rebels are and who the "bad" guy rebels are?  We do know, however, the al Qaeda wants Assad gone and other terrorist groups are actively present in Syria!  So, will our military might assist them in reaching their goals, whatever such goals might be?

And more.  If we really cared about the Syrian people, we should find some creative ways to assist the thousands upon thousands of refugees who have fled the country and are now living in despair and misery.

And finally:  It's a no-win situation for the United States.  We are hated in the Middle East for our interventions and not one Arab anywhere gives a damn about our good intentions.  Whatever we do or don't do we will be damned. 

So let's be damned for not blowing up the world for a change!