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my facebook page is a rightwingnut hate free zone

BLOODY HELL, but I am fed up with the racism and the ho­mo­phobia and the misogyny and all the other hate-based ‘isms’ be­hind an end­less stream of com­ments posted by rightwingnuts on Face­book and in the Com­ments sec­tions of oth­er­wise de­cent web­sites. Now we have to wade through their foul com­ments fu­eled by their latest pre­oc­cu­pa­tion, Is­lama­phobia!

I want a Hate Free Zone on Face­book.

To get to the cause of my erecting a Hate Free Zone, you will have to wade through some back­ground in­for­ma­tion of the US gov­ern­ment and our be­havior in the on­going war against what­ever taking place mainly in the Middle East.

This ar­ticle was orig­i­nally pub­lished on Jan­uary 30, 2016, but a tech­nical error in Word­Press ne­ces­si­tated my having to re­move some dam­aged im­ages so I am re­posting it here more or less ex­actly the same as it was orig­i­nally ex­cept for a few new im­ages.

 

Facebook Page: dummy poster for fake movie GULD F WARS EPISODE II with images of George W. Bush and members of his team.

Un­like George Lu­cas’s Star Wars movies, there is no end in sight to the episodes of the two Bush’s Nev­erending War for Oil Re­serves in the Middle East.

Seymour Hersh on torture

Sey­mour Her­sh’s damning ar­ticle “Tor­ture at Abu Ghraib” ap­peared in the May 10, 2004, edi­tion of The New Yorker mag­a­zine. Sub-titled “Amer­ican sol­diers bru­tal­ized Iraqis. How far up does the re­spon­si­bility go?” it opened with these words:

“In the era of Saddam Hus­sein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most no­to­rious prisons, with tor­ture, weekly ex­e­cu­tions, and vile living con­di­tions.

As many as fifty thou­sand men and women—no ac­cu­rate count is possible—were jammed into Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells that were little more than human holding pits.”

Hersh is not waf­fling here: the ar­ticle ad­dresses the Army’s own in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Iraq and de­ter­mined that there had been “sys­tem­atic and il­legal abuse of de­tainees” that in­volved “sadistic, bla­tant, and wanton crim­inal abuses” at Abu Ghraib.

 

Amer­ican sol­diers bru­tal­ized and tor­tured Iraqi civil­ians. How far up the chain of com­mand does the re­spon­si­bility go?

 

Need­less to say, nothing was done to in­ves­ti­gate these heinous ac­cu­sa­tions during the rest of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion (2004–2008). Of course, it oc­curred on their watch, with or without their aware­ness.

And, um, they’re the Rep*blicans, y’­know.

Un­for­tu­nately, nothing was done to in­ves­ti­gate these heinous ac­cu­sa­tions during the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion (2009–2015 and counting).

They’re the Democrats—you know, the op­po­si­tion party—and proving these atroc­i­ties and linking them to mem­bers of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion would make them war crim­i­nals. Now de­spite the vast po­lit­ical cap­ital it could be worth the Dems in elec­tions for years to come, nothing has been done or will be done.

So the ques­tion as to who knew what—or worse, who ap­proved what—is left hanging, both­ering Amer­i­cans of con­science. We have to live with what ap­pears to be over­whelming amounts of ev­i­dence of ap­par­ently sys­temic phys­ical and mental abuse of help­less cap­tives in Iraq in 2003–2004. 1

How far up the chain of com­mand this aware­ness and con­sent went has never been ex­am­ined, al­though there has been years of spec­u­la­tion that it can be traced to former Vice Pres­i­dent Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney—our own home­grown Darth Vader.

 

Facebook Page: pencil sketch of Darkseid by Jack Kirby.

Readers of Jack “King” Kir­by’s so-called “Fourth World” comic books tend to be­lieve that Darth Vader was in­spired by Dark­seid, ruler of the planet Apokolips, and that George Lucas lifted many other im­ages and themes from Kirby for his Star Wars se­ries.

Godless heathen scum!

Per­haps no longer: the De­cember 14, 2015, issue of the Truthout newsletter car­ried an ar­ticle ti­tled “Court Rules Bush Ad­min­is­tra­tion Can Be Sued for Its “War on Terror” Con­duct.” Cred­ited to The Daily Take Team and the Thom Hart­mann Pro­gram, there was an ar­resting il­lus­tra­tion just below the by­lines with this cap­tion:

“Everyone who au­tho­rized and par­tic­i­pated in the il­legal roundup of hun­dreds of in­no­cent men after 9/11, from high-up gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials on down, is now fair game for a law­suit.”

I thought, Bravo! To put words in For­rest Gump’s mouth, “Tor­ture is as tor­ture does!”

 

The man­i­fes­ta­tion of the bully on the In­ternet in the form of a troll con­cerns me. The anonymity of the troll is es­pe­cially scary, as there are no reper­cus­sions or pay­backs!

 

But as I sated above, nothing has been done about these ac­cu­sa­tions. Hell, it’s not even a topic of con­ver­sa­tion in the main­stream cor­po­rate media! And if you bring the ques­tions up to those voters who cast their bal­lots for Rep*blican can­di­dates, they have a handful of quick, easy replies:

1) “There was no tor­ture, there were en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques!”

2) “There was no tor­ture, but even if there was then it was nec­es­sary to pro­tect Amer­ican lives here in the good old US of A!”

3) “There was no tor­ture, but even if there was, it doesn’t matter be­cause the ad­min­is­tra­tion cannot be held ac­count­able be­cause they were only doing what they thought best to pro­tect us from god­less hea­then scum!” 3

Now the courts are saying oth­er­wise.

 

Facebook Page: caricature of Saddam Hussein by Rodney Pike.

Bril­liant car­i­ca­ture of former good buddy Saddam Hus­sein by artist Rodney Pike. Un­for­tu­nately for Saddam, he be­lieved United States Am­bas­sador to Iraq April Glaspie when she as­sured him that the US had “no opinion on your Arab-Arab con­flicts, such as your dis­pute with Kuwait.”

Only a soft-headed liberal

So I posted a link to the Truthout piece on my Face­book page with this cap­tion: “I nom­i­nate Darryl Issa and Trey Gowdy to aim their sights in this di­rec­tion for a few months.” That was it: eigh­teen words. No flip­pancy. No po­lit­ical wise­cracks.

But both Issa and Gowdy chaired Con­gres­sional com­mit­tees that in­ves­ti­gated the al­leged lies of former Sec­re­tary of State Clinton re­garding the Beng­hazi dis­aster (in 2012 and 2015, re­spec­tively).

There is vir­tu­ally no ev­i­dence to sup­port these al­le­ga­tions and, es­pe­cially in Gowdy’s case, there had al­ready been sev­eral pre­vious Con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Each con­cluding there had been no wrong­doing and no cover-up, just tac­tical er­rors.

To my Face­book posting I re­ceived the fol­lowing com­ment from a (so-called) con­ser­v­a­tive Face­book “friend”:

“Only a soft-headed lib­eral can come up with this warped per­spec­tive. Nine­teen Muslim ter­ror­ists hi­jack air­planes crashing them into the World Trade Center and The Pen­tagon, re­sulting in the deaths of 3,000+ in­no­cent civil­ians.

And the cry­baby lib­erals are more con­cerned about the ‘rights’ of ter­ror­ists. I say wa­ter­board the sons of bitches until they talk. A little wa­ter­boarding and pro­filing of Mus­lims is far less an or­deal than what they put their terror vic­tims through.”

The level of ig­no­rance in this one para­graph should be mind-boggling, but it’s not. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s typ­ical of the mindset of the rightwingnuts who run ram­page over com­ments sec­tions in so­cial media all over the In­ternet. 4

In fact, ac­cording to so­ci­ol­o­gists Carol Tavris and El­liot Aronson in their book Mis­takes Were Made (But Not By Me), the more facts that are pre­sented to “be­lievers” that dis­proves their be­liefs, the stronger they will cling to those be­liefs.

 

Facebook Page: cover of book MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME) by Carol Tavris and Eliot Aronson.

“Why do people dodge re­spon­si­bility when things fall apart? Why the pa­rade of public fig­ures un­able to own up when they screw up? Why the end­less mar­ital quar­rels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in our­selves? Are we all liars? Or do we re­ally be­lieve the sto­ries we tell?” (pub­lisher)

A rightwingnut-hate free zone

So in­stead of doing what I have so fruit­lessly done time and again—engage this person in a con­ver­sa­tion about facts—I opted for a very dif­ferent re­sponse. And this re­sponse was based al­most en­tirely on the vilely vi­cious “wa­ter­board the sons of bitches until they talk” state­ment:

•  I de­clared my Face­book time­line to be a “Rightwingnut Hate Free Zone” de­claring I would un­friend anyone who es­poused ha­tred and vi­o­lence on my page.

•  I de­clared that this would apply to any one of any po­lit­ical stripe if they got nasty and mean-spirited.

•  I “un­friended” this person and sev­eral others of his ilk. This means that his posts no longer ap­pear on my Face­book time­line nor do mine ap­pear on his.

This latter was done as an at­tempt at bi-partisanship, a term in the US that means at­tempts by the Dems to get the Rep*blicans to agree to some­thing any­thing to get a bill passed.

It was also prac­ti­cally un­nec­es­sary, as al­most all the nas­ti­ness that ap­pears on my time­line is from the Rad­ical Right.

So I don’t ap­pear to be pat­ting my­self on the back for some great achieve­ment, I re­alize that this could ap­pear to be a bit of grand­standing. It was in­tended to be. But if enough people on Face­book tossed these vile tossers (British slang, look it up) off their time­lines, the level of so­cial dis­course would im­prove dra­mat­i­cally. 5

Plus, I now no longer have to sip my Trader Joe’s Dark French Roast with a dollop of that com­pa­ny’s mesquite honey (please make an ap­pro­priate yummy noise in your head here) and read the rants of racist, ho­mo­phobic, misog­y­nistic mis­an­thropes on my time­line again!

 

Facebook Page: photo of journalist extraordinaire Seymour Hersh.

Sey­mour Myron “Sy” Hersh is an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nalist and a reg­ular con­trib­utor to The New Yorker. He first gained recog­ni­tion in 1969 for ex­posing the My Lai Mas­sacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he re­ceived the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for In­ter­na­tional Re­porting. He is a five-time Polk winner who has also won two Na­tional Mag­a­zine Awards and the 2004 George Or­well Award.

A moral force for good

Sey­mour Hersh ends “Tor­ture at Abu Ghraib” with a call-to-righteous-arms, one which has of course gone un­heeded for more than ten years:

“Ob­vi­ously, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion doesn’t ex­actly have a stellar record when it comes to the ‘war on terror’ ei­ther, the drone wars being just one ex­ample. But even so, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion still bears the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bility for taking our country down the path we’re still on a full decade-and-half after 9/11.

And that’s why we need to pros­e­cute everyone in Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion who par­tic­i­pated in these crimes—Bush, Ch­eney, Rums­feld, Wol­fowitz, Ashcroft—I mean everyone, right now.

Like any self-proclaimed democ­racy, the United States can and should be a moral force for good in the world. But it can’t be one when it lets the biggest war crim­i­nals in its his­tory get off scot-free.

The de­ci­sion by the Second Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals al­lowing law­suits against people like former At­torney Gen­eral John Ashcroft is a step in the right di­rec­tion. It opens up a new path for our country, a path that of­fers us the chance for a na­tional re­demp­tion of sorts.”

To which I say, “Amen, in­deed!” as I sip my yummy coffee!

 

Facebook Page: anti-bigotry artwork by Jerm IX of Vancouver, BC.

HEADER IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is by artist Jerm IX. Ac­cording to the artist, “In the past few months, there have been a handful of vi­o­lent gay-bashing in­ci­dents in Van­couver. In the last few weeks, a handful of cow­ards began tag­ging racist, pro-white, anti-Chinese garbage in Rich­mond, a ma­jority Chinese-populated suburb of Van­couver. I’m dis­gusted by this filth and was in­spired to use this map of Van­couver to de­clare this city a hate free zone.”

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   One’s con­science is de­fined as “the part of the mind that makes you aware of your ac­tions as being ei­ther morally right or wrong” and “a feeling that some­thing you have done is morally wrong.” Amer­i­cans like to be­lieve that we as a group excel in this de­part­ment, de­spite the fact that the rest of the world—the other six bil­lion human be­ings that in­habit the planet with us—tend to think the op­po­site.

2   Some Kirby readers be­lieve that Dick Ch­eney was also pat­terned after Dark­seid.

3   I use com­miepinkofag­bas­tard as a joke con­cerning the terms that righties have tra­di­tion­ally used as in­sults against lefties. I’ve been called much worse in my time.

4   For ex­ample, ac­cording to the of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion for the at­tack on the World Trade Center on Sep­tember 11, 2001, of the nine­teen hi­jackers, none were Iraqi (our sup­posed enemy); fif­teen were Saudi Ara­bian (our sup­posed ally). Yet we at­tacked a country that had no hand in the at­tacks and re­main al­lies with the country that should at the very least have been im­pli­cated!

Renowned so­cial psy­chol­o­gists Carol Tavris and El­liot Aronson take a com­pelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. When we make mis­takes, we must calm the cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance that jars our feel­ings of self-worth. And so we create fic­tions that ab­solve us of re­spon­si­bility, restoring our be­lief that we are smart, moral, and right —a be­lief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, im­moral, and wrong.

Backed by years of re­search and de­liv­ered in lively, en­er­getic prose, Mis­takes Were Made (But Not by Me) of­fers a fas­ci­nating ex­pla­na­tion of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can over­come it.”

5   I fre­quently find my­self vis­iting news sites where there are calls from reg­ular readers to toss all the rightwingnut com­menters off the site, as they seem bent on dis­rupting in­tel­li­gent con­ver­sa­tion with con­de­scen­sion, in­sults, and gen­eral trolling. In fact, rightwingnut trolls are be­coming a topic of con­ver­sa­tion all over the In­ternet …

 

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