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That's the title of a new post at The New Yorker by torture expert Jane Mayer.

You should read it.  It's only a few paragraphs.

At the request of the CIA, she withholds the name of the Queen of Torture.  (As does NBC News.)

I am against war crimes.  I consider statist torture a war crime.

I am also uncomfortable with catchy nicknames.  The person in question is a high-ranking CIA officer.  Mayer tells us she holds the rank of general in the military.  Her name and her failures have been known for some time.  Her name is, almost certainly, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky.

Here are some dots:
http://en.wikipedia.org/...
https://www.google.com/...

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Should war criminals be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law regardless of nationality?

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Lyle Jeremy Rubin has just posted an article at The Nation that I encourage everyone to read.  (This diary is simply my attempt to broaden its reach.)  The title is

A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson

Go read it.  It's illustrated.  It's well done.  It should be read by every American.

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Yo.  I am, apparently to many of you, an "atheist".  This label is unimportant to me, but seems to mislead.  I do not wish to be known by what I am not (not theist), and I do not wish to allow the category of negation to be included among the categories of actualization.  ("Not religious" is simply not congruent to other groupings under "Religious affiliation".)  Let me be specific -- and ask you to use this specificity should you wish to discuss me.

I am not superstitious.  I try to help those who are superstitious overcome their superstitions (this was, for me, part of growing up).  What, exactly, defines "superstitious"?  A belief in the supernatural.  What defines "a belief in the supernatural"?  Any -- and I mean any -- assignment of material change to non-material actors.  "Supernatural" is, to me, an excuse for not fully understanding the natural.

I will jump to the chase.  There is no God.  There are no Gods.  There never were any.   (As an aside: all prophets lie.  If you take nothing else from this diary, remember that: all prophets lie.)  It is meaningful that those who argue otherwise talk about "belief".  Belief is simply a category for accepting the supernatural without calling it supernatural.

Belief in the supernatural is ... insupportable.  It may be important to you -- it may vital to your psyche -- but it remains insupportable.

You may think of me as an "atheist".  That misses the point.  Whatever I am -- I am embodied, and I perceive that which is external to me.  I apply logic to those perceptions.  Logic demands that I restrict my underderstanding to that which is material.  And so I do.

(There is nothing under the croissant with two backs.  I will respond to comments after giving them some thought, which is to say, tomorrow.)

Thanks for reading.  And for thinking twice before using the term "atheist". (It's a bit like "non-White".)

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Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 07:58 AM PDT

What God Intended

by Yellow Canary

How the fuck would you know?

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There is quite a bit of discussion this morning about Chris Matthews accusing Romney of "playing the race card".  This is all worthy -- and not what this diary addresses, which is:  What does "Playing the Race Card" mean?  Is it helpful to use it here?

It means:  

exploitation of either racist or anti-racist attitudes by accusing others of racism
This is not what Matthews accuses Romney (and his campaign) of doing.  Matthews would be much more effective if he were more specific: Romney's campaign relies on racist demagoguery.  This is not gamesmanship -- it is inseparably close to straightforward racism.

The cited Wikipedia entry also contains this:

George Dei, Karumanchery, et alia, in their book Playing the Race Card argue that the term itself is a rhetorical device used in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism.
I don't think that was Matthews' intent, but it is the effect.  While I applaud Matthews efforts, his diction dulls his accusation on two counts.  First, it mis-describes the actions he is criticizing, and second it moves the discussion from the reality of racism to the meta-reality of game playing.  (NB:  I have not closely watched the actual exchange.  I am relying on reports of it posted here on DKos.)

The Republican platform is (and has been for decades) raised on planks of racist demagoguery, from which slight elevation racist demagogues promoted and promote racism.  It should be identified as such.  Here, for once, we have an opening to discuss that.  It has nothing to do with "playing the race card".

(I have no love for the word "demagoguery" -- suggestions for alternatives welcome.)

Discuss

I have long felt that the solution to many of the problems Americans face could be found in, first and foremost, popping the media bubble that we are forced to live within.  Humans use mirrors to see themselves -- we seem to almost uniquely have the ability to understand something external as representing our selves.  That mirror was never going to present a perfect reflection, but it's now being strategically used to present to Americans a willfully falsified picture of themselves as a people.  Individually, we create a world from the myriad inputs our senses provide; as a people we create a world from the inputs available to us.  The single most influential of these is TV.

Whoever controls TV controls the reflection we judge ourselves to be -- they define us to ourselves; they create our national identity.

That mirror is crazed and cracked.  The image is monstrous, mistaken, wrong.

Here on DKos, almost everything we do is part of an effort to correct that wrongness.  It's how I came here, and why I not only stay, but rely on DKos for news and insight -- for that most precious of things, a straight draught of reality.  (Of course, all media is a mixed meal; one orders what seems nutritious, and passes on dishes that are not.)

This diary is not about that -- not directly.  I do think it's a proper way to reflect on what I present below the mating orange winkles: how to get the full BBC Olympics site, with all 24 live feeds, when you live within the media bubble of the US.  Fill your lungs, and let's go below.  Make it a deep breath -- we are leaving the land NBC pretends we live in, leaving behind NBC's canned, boiled, canalized, childized, all-for-the-good-of-advertisers pablum-pump.

Poll

Would you like a follow-up diary on getting around and making the most of the BBC's Olympics site?

81%26 votes
12%4 votes
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| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 06:24 AM PDT

Quick one: photos of signs real?

by Yellow Canary

There are two diaries on the rec list right now -- 9a Eastern time on 5 August 2009 -- which feature photographs of people holding signs at rallies.  Some of these signs look to be photoshopped.  This brings up obvious questions:
-- can we tell which are real and which are fake?
-- are any fake?
-- do we have a responsibility to "sign-check"?

I don't know -- photoshop forensics are above my seed allotment.  I would suggest that
-- photographs be understood to be easily manipulated (we tend to use them as stand-ins for reality -- when Sinead O'Connor tore a photo of the Catholic Pope, it was felt by many as a nearly physical assault),
-- we more stringently vet photos posted.

Thanks.  Some samples below the fold.

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If you haven't heard of Ray McGovern, you should.  He is the brave man, he has the knowledge and experience found in the wise, and he has something important to say to America -- which I will paraphrase, so that you may draw your own conclusions.  This is aimed not just at Kossacks -- please read on.

I had the good fortune to be able to hear Mr. McGovern speak a few days ago.  He is traveling the Northeast, speaking to Americans, telling them what he feels they should know.  He came and spoke at a gathering an hour outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It was held in a junior high school auditorium.  The gathering was sponsored by (as best I can tell), Democracy for America and Witness for Peace.

Join me over the flip for my notes from his speech, and his upcoming schedule.

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Want to really GET OUT THE VOTE on Nov. 7th?

"What can I do?"

I am asked this question every day right now.  Every day people of all ages ask me what they can do to derail George W. Bush and his nasty band of Republican cronies.  If you live in a hotly contested district, there are many opportunities to volunteer.  But for many -- whether in less competitive districts, or because they are shy or uncomfortable or new to politics -- volunteering face-to-face is not an option they are willing to pursue.  Still, there IS something everyone of your progressive/liberal/Democratic friends can do:  volunteer for MoveOn.org's "Call for Change".  And there is something easy you can do:  spread the word on the GOTV effort!.

Imagine if every Kossack got ten people to get ten people to get ten people to volunteer for the Democratic GOTV effort.  That's how to exponentialize our GOTV efforts.

Jump the fold for my open letter to my friends asking them to help get Democrats elected.

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Please see update at end.

I received an invitation from Democracy For America to attend an event featuring SCOTT RITTER and RAY McGOVERN.  According to the invite, they will be speaking in Cranberry, at the Hain Middle School TOMORROW evening, Saturday 21 October at 7 PM.

Democracy For America link:
http://www.dfalink.com/...

Details over the flip.

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Yes, it's all about elections.  To the victor goes the spoils, and the spoils includes the tools to weaken your opponents for years to come, not to mention controlling the national agenda, controlling spending, and passing and enforcing laws.  We are working round-the-clock and contributing regularly to win elections.  There is more to elections, and more to this election, than that.  Take the jump.  (Some pictures, one of them moderately graphic.)
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Quick heads up for tonight:  
Frontline is broadcasting a program on Vice President (the Master Gepeto of the Bush Theater of Cruelty) Dick Cheney, tonight at 9 Eastern time.  Check the web site for local listings.

Here's what Frontline says by way of introducing this peek into the black hole of US government sanctioned illegal activities:

(Over the jump.)

Poll

Who is the most powerful US citizen?

11%7 votes
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22%14 votes
6%4 votes
15%10 votes
1%1 votes
23%15 votes
6%4 votes
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| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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