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Profile Information

Member since: Tue Mar 17, 2015, 12:56 PM
Number of posts: 6,409

About Me

I am a disgruntled former DU member. Most people here are fine, but the site is ruined by zealous Hillary supporters. DU took my money and put my account on everlasting review. Cowards. Dishonest cowards.

Journal Archives

A contest

Most of us know the English came up with specific terms for flocks of various birds, where the word "flock" is replaced by a species-specific label for various kinds of birds. So we have an unkindness of ravens, a murder of crows, a deceit of lapwings, etc. They get even more specific than that. If geese are walking on the ground, they form a gaggle, but they comprise a skein if they're flying in the vee formation. I thought it would be fun if we could come up with a term for a group of Republicans, so we could describe them as a group when they assemble on a stage and try to outdo each other in describing the violent stuff they'll do to ISIS.

A bloviation of Republicans? (Thanks Molly Ivins) A frenzy of Republicans? A nightmare of Republicans? Then there are the obvious: a dungheap of Republicans, a shitpile of Republicans, a clowncar of Republicans, etc. What do you think? What term best captures the uneasy feeling that comes over you when you watch the GOP candidates all insist we need to destroy ISIS, and the candidate speaking at the moment is the person to do so? Chris Christie called the president a feckless coward, so maybe it should be a tollbridge of Republicans.

Of course, in the spirit of all things Republican, you should support your submission by explaining how it is more violent, xenophobic, etc. than other submissions, and you should criticize the other submissions and their authors with personal insults. In the spirit of good, clean, Republican fun, I propose the prohibition on name calling ad gratuitous insults be waived for this contest. An example: "HassleCat is a feckless (thanks Chris) fool if he thinks a group of Republicans should be called 'nightmare.' He must be a dweeb of the highest order. It's obvious my suggestion of 'fellation of Republicans' is far superior because it refers to sex, probably between two or more men."

Anyway, you get the idea.

Follow up on Jihad John drone strike

A couple weeks ago, I posted something that caused quite a reaction among DU members. I said we killed the man known as Jihad John because he taunted us. There was such a strong reaction, I bailed off the site, but the furor made me curious, so I did a little digging, and I’m back with some further information to consider.

Here are some of the most negative comments I received.

“I'm glad this piece of crap is dead. I hope he vaporized almost completely so that an animal won't accidentally eat his carcass.”

“Stop trying to defend this repulsive piece of crap. If you don't think he's committed his share of disgusting acts as part of that disgusting isis, you're delusional. You should be ashamed of this post. I'm sure ashamed to see it here.”

“Stupidest post in DU history. Congratulations.”

“And by that I mean Fuck Jihad John, I'm glad he's dead.”

“Fuck him, fuck those fighting with him, fuck his supporters, and fuck anyone who sheds a tear for this fucking piece of shit. He didn't just "mock" us, he's murdered at least one innocent American that we know of, and has terrorized innocent civilians in Syria. The mass migration of millions of people out of their homeland is a direct result of this savage and his cohorts.”

“I've seen my share of fucking stupid posts on DU, but wow.....just WOW.”

There were sixteen comments, all negative, but not all as negative as the six shown above. The interesting thing was that nobody bothered to explain why I was so terribly, horribly wrong to post such a thing. There seemed to be an assumption that Jihad John was so incredibly despicable that it was not even necessary to mention why his death was a very good thing, and why I was an idiot for suggesting otherwise. Sure, we all agree he was involved in making videos of hostages being killed, mostly by grisly beheadings, but plenty of others were in on that action. This caused me to wonder about some things. Who was Jihad John? Why was he universally despised? Was he really a significant figure in ISIS? What horrible crimes did he commit that warrant such an effort to kill him, not to mention such rejoicing at his death? What makes him so special we expended so much effort to kill him?

First of all, there may be some doubt as to his identity. US and British intelligence organizations spent much time and effort digging up his true identity. It’s fairly certain he is Mohammed Emwazi , born Muhammad Jassim Abdulkarim Olayan al-Dhafiri. His mother says she recognizes his voice from some of the videos, although his father says he is not the man n the videos. Several friends and family members believe Emwazi is the same person as Jihad John, and wished for his death to help restore family honor.

This raises an interesting question. How certain should we be about someone’s identity before we kill him? If you read through the inquiry into the identity of the man in the videos, you will find it was not at all clear cut. Media outlets reported others as prime suspects of being Jihad John, until consensus seemed to focus on Emwazi. Of course, we cannot know what caused intelligence analysts to conclude Emwazi was Jihad John, but it’s pretty clear they were not certain for quite a while, and were looking at other possibilities. And we will never know much about the information they used, the sources of that information, how it was evaluated, or anything else that would give us clues about the accuracy of their ultimate conclusion. We know they were certain enough to order a drone strike against Emwazi, but what degree of certainty did they demand of themselves? After the fact, they seem very sure, but we know there have been cases of mistaken identity associated with almost everything we have done from Afghanistan to Gitmo to Iraq to drone strikes.

Whether or not we killed the right person, the crimes of Jihad John are so despicable, and so irrefutably linked to him, there can be no question we were beyond reproach in killing him. But you see where I’m going with this, right?

In fact, there is considerable doubt about the role Jihad John played in the murders depicted in the videos. Many people who are supposed to know about these things have weighed in, and they can’t agree about what’s going on in the videos. Some claim they are exactly what they seem to be, the murders of captives and hostages. Others believe the videos are staged and scripted, heavily edited, with the actual killing done off camera. Either way, the man known as Jihad John seems very enthusiastic in his support of the murders. So he’s an accomplice, a participant, etc. That makes him just as guilty as any of the others, even though he might not have done the actual murders, as the videos suggest. But why was he singled out?

So why is this particular individual the “most wanted?” I think there are several factors at work here. First, Emwazi is probably the easiest to identify of all the terrorists in the videos, due to his good English and British residency. It’s far easier to track down an ISIS member who speaks good English and appears to be some kind of spokesman than it is to identify someone who speaks only Arabic or another mideastern language. I suppose voice print software works in Arabic, but there have to be known samples for comparison, which is far more likely when looking at someone who lived in the west. In fact, he may be the only one we could identify with any degree of certainty.

Of the four English speaking ISIS members involved in the murders, Jihad John appears to be the only one who has been positively identified, or at least identified with any degree of certainty. The terrorist known as “George” seems to be the ringleader of the group, and the identity of one member still seems a complete mystery. So it appears we may have killed Emwazi partly because he was the only one who could be identified with much certainty.

Second, I come back to my original contention that we droned this guy because he taunted us. After all, that was his job. You don’t have to be a devoted student of terrorism to know what ISIS is up to. They aim to draw the western nations into a holy war, an asymmetrical conflict that will cost so much in lives and money that the western powers will abandon the region entirely, leaving it in control of Islamic zealots, who will then establish religious governments. An important part of this scheme is to goad the west, to whip up racial and religious hatred toward Islam and largely Islamic states. This will cause the west to fall into a blind fury, so the thinking goes, and we will stumble into the trap, engage in a repeat of the Crusades, and cause all Islam to rise up against us. And don’t forget the destruction of Israel.

And this is where the ISIS plan seems to be successful. The war in Iraq was a huge success for Islamic extremists, destabilizing several countries, removing Saddam Hussein as a restraining force, radicalizing thousands of Muslims and fertilizing the soil for the growth of ISIS. In the case of Jihad John, we appear to have played the ISIS game by their rules. We spent years identifying, tracking and finally killing Emwazi, so the price we paid to get this one person was significant. And what did we accomplish? We made ourselves feel better, and… um… Not much else. His death is not much of a strategic or tactical accomplishment. If we were trying to break up an organized crime syndicate, and we killed some middle level hit man, would that be a cause for celebration? This guy was not a kingpin, not a strategist, not a leader, not much of anything other than someone given a prominent role because he could push our buttons.

And he certainly did that. Some of us, many of us, maybe the majority of us, are completely uncritical when it comes to killing people designated as terrorists. We not only accept drone strikes, but we accept that they are surgically precise, that the targets are carefully vetted, and other persons killed or injured deserve what they get because they are complicit somehow. Don’t forget, this is what "they" are seeking. They want us to conduct more drone strikes, not fewer, and they don’t want drone strikes limited to leaders and key figures in ISIS. And they want plenty of celebrating every time someone is killed. They want us to hate them. It’s important that we hate them, crucial to their success. They want us to be more like them, because it increases the chances we’ll make mistakes.

Yes, many people are concerned about the rules of engagement, worried that we might kill too many innocent bystanders, bothered by the idea that we are waging a war without observing the rules of war. I am one of those people, and an incident such as the killing of Jihad John raises important questions. I find it very, very interesting that many people don’t see any problem here, and accept what we did without any questions at all. This is pretty much the reaction you would get if you polled the citizens of any nation involved in any conflict in the history of the world. Very few people would respond, “I can see where we maybe should not have killed that guy.” But Americans are supposed to be different. We’re supposed to be more critical of our actions, actively look for mistakes and learn from them. I think we made a mistake going after Jihad John. I think we killed him because he taunted us. I think his death is largely a symbolic victory which will have no effect in the war on terror.

What do you think? And I mean “think.” When you suppress your emotional reactions and look at this guy rationally, what do you see? What is the message we sent? How does this fit into the larger strategy of our efforts against terror in general, and ISIS in particular?

So long and thanks for all the fish

Somehow I posted this in the Welcome & Help.

Time to go. It's been fun, but I don't belong here. I posted something objecting to a drone strike against a terrorist, and I got an incredibly bloodthirsty reaction. Of course my post was hidden within minutes. I find it truly disturbing that so many people on DU could so easily subscribe to the notion we are entitled to designate human beings as Bad Guys and execute them without due process. I'm sure not all DU people agree with that, nor the drone wars conducted to facilitate it, but I am shocked (yes actually shocked) that so many people enthusiastically subscribe, unquestioningly and unconditionally, to the drone wars. I am also shocked that so many people are so eager to hide posts with which they disagree. Thank you. Take care. Try to show some respect for each other. Vote Democratic

So long and thanks for all the fish

Time to go. It's been fun, but I don't belong here. I posted something objecting to a drone strike against a terrorist, and I got an incredibly bloodthirsty reaction. Of course the post was hidden within minutes. I find it truly disturbing that so many people on DU could so easily subscribe to the notion we are entitled to designate human beings as Bad Guys and execute them without due process. I'm sure not all DU people agree with that, nor the drone wars conducted to facilitate it, but I am shocked (yes actually shocked) that so many people enthusiastically subscribe, unquestioningly and unconditionally, to the drone wars. I am also shocked that so many people are so eager to hide posts with which they disagree. Thank you. Take care. Try to show some respect for each other. Vote Democratic.

Is this a good idea?

I'm reading the Seattle Times, and they have an article by Denise Grady of the NY Times.


It explains how uterus transplants will begin. The will take the uterus of a recently deceased woman, and put it into a woman who doesn't have a uterus. It is described as very risky, since the developing fetus will be exposed to the anti-rejection drugs the mother must take. It must be enormously expensive, although I don't see any mention of that, ad it doesn't say anything about insurance coverage. Some medical ethics guy from John Hopkins say it's OK, and they're already doing them in Sweden.

I have one question. Is this a symptom, or a cause, of our broken medical system? Many low income women cannot get adequate prenatal care, but we devote enormous resources to making sure women with money can have children. Is it simply a question of making money? It's kind of like the old, "If we can send a man to the moon..." If we can transplant a uterus, we can ensure adequate prenatal and pediatric care for low income families. Or maybe we can't. I don't know.

What is a Real Democrat?

Here on DU, we have a broad cross section, I'm guessing. I noticed two posts that caused me to wonder about the diversity of opinion among Democrats, and whether there are certain issues on which one must hold a particular view to be a Democrat, some kind of line one must not cross.

One post seemed to exhibit a very bloodthirsty attitude about capital punishment. It expressed joy that one person was executed, and included the fervent desire to see another person executed. I know Democrats who support capital punishment, but with many reservations. Personally, I think Real Democrats oppose capital punishment under all circumstances, but I guess the line is drawn differently for others. Where is the line on this issue? Are there any of you who think we should execute more criminals? If so, why? And how does this square with calling yourself a Democrat?

The other post I noticed proposed it was a good idea for the Indian government to expel Greenpeace because opposition to development is a bad idea, and development is a good thing in poor countries. It has always been my impression that Democrats opposed headlong development because it (1) exploits the poor, (2) promotes oligarchy, (3) causes environmental damage, (4) leads to slums, disease outbreaks, sanitation problems, etc. What say you, DUers? Can I still call myself a Democrat if I advocate unfettered development in poor, overcrowded nations? Where is the line on this issue?

On edit: The reason I ask is because every Democratic candidate says something like, "I stand for the values, principles and policies that have defined our party..." and then they usually go on to mention some examples. What are those values, principles and policies? The Republicans seem more ideologically pure. They kick you out if you show even the tiniest shred of humanity. But we seem receptive to just about anything., as a couple responses have indicated.

How do the candidates feel about charter schools?

I oppose them, and feel they should be eliminated, or at least denied federal money. Do the candidates support or oppose charter schools? Here's a link to a post indicating how Clinton feels about them.


Sanders should give up, say Clinton supporters

Here is a post from (name deleted) on the Clinton board. http://www.democraticunderground.com/110725254


"bernie sanders has to realize by now he is creating a Republican Campaign Commercial

..if he strikes too hard against Clinton" as to the investigation. "He's walking a fine line in trying to draw a contrast to Clinton, but he has to do something to get his numbers up".

NPR just now, speaking with MSNBC Kate Snow

Personally I believe we are witnessing the last gasp of a dying political campaign. He has no chance of winning more than one Primary State, at best & on a really good day.

Bets are that he goes home after Feb 8, 2016.


Does he have a point? One fault they share with us is that they leap to the conclusion everything said about their candidate is an attack. In both cases, these attacks are seen as useless because Clinton has already won. We say she should just relax and not say anything bad about Bernie because she believes she has it in the bag. They say the same thing, but add we're just giving the Republicans more ammo to fire at Hillary in a futile attempt to convince people they should support Bernie over Hillary.

Well, we're both wrong. We have primaries so political candidates can criticize each other and persuade voters to support them, not their opponents. As long as Clinton and Sanders keep it fair and factual, they should point out each other's shortcomings. Clinton should ask Sanders why he supported indemnifying gun makers from certain lawsuits. Sanders should ask Clinton why she favors capital punishment. And so on.

In regard to this specific issue, the OP reflects the hyper-sensitivity of supporters, theirs and ours. Sanders said the investigation into Clinton's emails should continue, and that is correct. He was speaking of the FBI investigation, not the Gowdy Circus, which he already called out in a very public way. So it's not an attack. Everybody should just relax and accept the primary campaign for what it is. Politics.

On edit: I deleted the name of the OP author because it might be considered a "call out." It certainly is not, and I have no attention in "calling out" anyone, ever. I assumed I should give credit to the person who wrote the OP, but others advised me it does not work that way. Thank you. I get it.

A question just for fun

Here on DU, we have supporters of the various Democratic residential candidates. Some of them are really effusive in their praise of a chosen candidate, and some are unintentionally funny when they say stuff that amounts to, "My candidate is the most wonderful human to ever walk the earth, and I have proof!" Sometimes they stand logic on its head, which is only funny if you understand logic. So I am wondering if anyone has noticed any particular gems. If you have examples, please submit. I do ask one favor, since this is just for fun. Please omit the candidate name and any reference to gender. "I support ... for president because (he or she) once made a life size statue of Grover Cleveland from belly button lint." You get the idea.
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