Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Interview - a good movie

James Franco and Seth Rogen as CIA operatives in the funny film, The Interview.

The Interview is hilarious!

I just viewed it on YouTube which steamed the movie starting at 1 p.m. this afternoon.  I clocked in around 1:10 p.m. paid $5.99 to rent the movie and viewed it.  I saw it for cheaper than at the movie theater and that is also cheaper than a senior discount.  LOL!  

Of course, Kim Jong Un probably has my credit card number now, but hopefully with N. Korea's Internet service going in and out he won't have the capability to display it.

I recommend seeing this much talked about movie.  Since I am a proponent and advocate for First Amendment rights and freedom of speech and of the press, I had to view this movie and I am glad I did.

I won't go so far as to say Seth Rogen is a genius but I will say he is brilliant.  And, he has written and produced a brilliant film.  This film is definitely a parody and satire of N. Korea and Kim Jong Un, but it is also a parody of talk shows and talk show hosts and their producers, as well as the CIA.  

And all this along with Katy Perry's song, Fireworks.  You have to see it to believe it.

This film is definitely a "bromance" between talk show producer (Rogen) and talk show host (Franco).  That alone is hilarious.  Seth Rogen plays straight guy to James Franco's egotistical, shallow and sallow, bumbling character.

Franco's talk show host name is Dave Skylark and by the end of the movie the viewer realizes it is a play on the James Bond 007 Skyfall movie, which also adds humor to this movie.

And, the premise of this movie is not so implausible with the recent visit of Dennis Rodman to N. Korea and his friendship with Kim Jong Un.  There is a scene in the movie of Dave Skylark playing basketball with Kim Jong Un in which they bond as friends.  It is eerily reminiscent of Rodman's visit to N. Korea.

There is even reference to Kim Jong Un's "ankles" during the basketball scene.  Again, just hilarious.

If Kim Jong Un had just ignored this movie it would not have become a beacon for freedom of speech and probably not as many people would have seen it.   I urge everyone to see the movie to prove to Kim Jong Un he can't scare us into censoring this movie.  I am glad that Sony has found several hundred movie theaters that are going to show the film tomorrow, Christmas Day, December 25, 2014.  

I am also glad they are streaming it on YouTube.  While the critics have dissed this movie, I found it to be hilarious and not over the top which some Seth Rogen films can be.  It is funny, satirical and pokes fun, not at just Kim Jong Un, and N. Korea,  but also the CIA, talk show hosts and the talk show industry, as well as the producers who create the talk shows.

Also, the ending is not as bad as the critics have said.  Actually, the ending is funny and I won't go into the details, but there is the demise of Kim Jong Un and his face is the last thing we see from that scene.

This movie made me laugh out loud several times and yes, it is a farcical parody, but it is a good one and I think Seth Rogen is brilliant for having come up with the concept, written it, and produced this movie.  

Kim Jong Un, you should have just ignored this movie.  It is much to do about nothing.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Senate CIA Torture Report

Torture is used against terrorist detainees and prisoners of war.

Torture has been used by the rogue nations of the world:  Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan (WWII), N. Korea, N. Vietnam, Russian KGB, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Syria.

And, now the U.S.A.

Yes, the U.S.A. now joins the rogue nations of the world who use torture.  We have stooped to the level of these rogue nations. Where we used to take the high road with our POW's and detainees, now we grovel in the torture mess of the world.

 We hear of the brutal interrogation tactics, nothing less than torture, in graphic detail in the recent Senate Intelligence Committee CIA Torture Report complied at the request of Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Many of the brutal interrogation attacks (torture) include but are not limited to:

  • sleep deprivation
  • sensory deprivation
  • water boarding
  • chained to walls and floors
  • chained and then hung
  • forced stress positions
  • isolation
  • threats
  • rectal hydration
  • ice baths
  • wall slamming
If you saw the Osama bin Laden movie, Zero Dark Thirty, then you saw the use of some of these torture techniques against detainees in the movie.

Of course, former vice-president Dick Cheney, who coined the euphemism "enhanced interrogation techniques," (EIT) in place of the word torture, has weighed in by calling the Senate report of the CIA to be "bolognie".  He claims, opposite of the report, that the EIT was approved by the Bush administration.  The report claims torture of detainees was never approved by the Bush administration and further more, then President Bush was never informed of the torture techniques used from 2002-2006 during his presidency. 

Private, secret torture prisons were set up by the CIA around the world  because torture techniques could not be used in the U.S. prison system nor could they be used on military base prisons. Some prisons were built in the Middle East such as Abu Gharib, one in Thailand, and several in Afghanistan run by Blackwater, and of course, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.  These prisons have no accountability or oversight and are free to use these torture techniques.  They are free to keep detainees as long as they wish without due process of a trial.

Coercive psychoanalysis techniques were used to induce psychological regression in detainees according to the Senate report.  The CIA interrogators hoped to bring a superior outside force to bear on the detainee's will to resist.

They used academic research on interrogation, "learned helplessness," or other methods that can't be tested in an ethical way in the real world and provide little guidance for effective questioning.

Military psychologists and the American Psychological Association are outraged that these types of techniques were used as methods of torture against detainees.  Psychological techniques are to be used to help not to torture.

The Senate report findings conclude that the brutal techniques used against detainees were torture and did not add valuable information to what had been already obtained through less coercive means.

Severe stress disrupts people's ability to think quickly and some experienced interrogators emphasize the value of establishing rapport with a detainee and obtaining information on the basis of trust rather than cruelty.

Under torture, a detainee will say anything the CIA operatives want to hear to stop the torture.  Torture also creates hate on the part of the detainee and causes more resistance to information wanted or completely false information given during torture.

Our country completely overruled the Geneva Conventions, partly written by the U.S., and is accepted internationally as the accepted treatment of prisoners of war and detainees.  No longer can the U.S. insist on the Geneva Conventions being followed for U.S. soldiers as prisoners of war because we have ignored it when it comes to our detainees.

The use of torture by the U.S. has opened the door for beheadings and torture being used against our soldiers and hostages.

To be fair, the report did not interview the interrogators or CIA operatives that used the torture methods and it is why there has been an outcry from the CIA that its side was not included in the report.

The CIA has come out with rebuttals and Republican politicians have come to the CIA's rescue by publicizing findings of their own.

But, the fact still remains, torture was used in secret for many years against detainees and we can't now complain when our soldiers and hostages are tortured or beheaded.

What values does the U.S.A espouse?  Do we want to be known as a rogue nation that tortures or do we want to be known as an humanitarian nation that that respects all life?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner - "I can't breathe"

Eric Garner being arrested by NYC police officers

"There is something rotten in Denmark."   Denmark being New York City this time.  Again, within ten days we have a grand jury find 'no indictment' in the death of an unarmed African-American while being arrested. Eric Garner, a African-American male lost his life when he was arrested by the NYC Police department.  

What makes this arrest different than Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, is that this arrest was completely videoed by a passerby on his cell phone.  I have watched the video.

Eric Garner, under suspicion for selling loose cigarettes (selling them tax free) in Staten Island does resist arrest.  He tells the police officers not to touch him and at that point a swarm of police officers attack him with one officer putting Garner in a choke hold. Garner is wrestled to the ground, in a choke hold, with an officer pushing his face to the ground. Garner gasps out eleven times, "I can't breathe."  But, the police officers push him even further into the ground and do not heed his pleas.

What is so horrifying is watching these police officers literally kill Garner before our eyes. The video is disturbing and difficult to watch.  I find it horrifying to watch the breath and life squeezed out of Garner by the police simply over suspicion of a misdemeanor in this arrest.

Yes, there is something rotten in our country and it is blatant racism.  The NYC coroner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide.  So how could a grand jury exonerate the officer that held Garner in a choke hold?  Why were the other officers in this arrest given immunity?  If they were given immunity that suggests wrong doing.   Who is going to pay for this homicide?  

Many have argued that Garner was obese, had asthma and possibly a heart condition and this is what caused his death.  Had Garner not been arrested in this manner, I don't think he would have dropped dead from obesity, asthma, or a possible heart condition.

Many have argued if he could gasp, "I can't breathe," then he wasn't being strangled and losing his life at that point.  He could get breath out, but he couldn't get breath in to replace it.  That is how he died from the choke hold.

Yes, again, Garner should not have resisted arrest and he would be alive today if he had followed the police officers' commands.  But, again, an African-American man dies because he questions his arrest.   But, what if Garner was truly innocent?   He was being arrested on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes, not the definite act of selling loose cigarettes.  Garner was not caught red handed.

What has happened to innocent until proved guilty?  No man of any color should lose his life over being arrested for a misdemeanor or being arrested at all, for that matter.

And, here in lies the problem.  Yes, African-American mens' lives are seen as less worthy than those of white men.  Our rule of law system is not working correctly.  How can a grand jury watch a man being killed before their eyes on this video and not find the police officer guilty of homicide?  

The prosecutors are not prosecuting these cases when it comes to African-American men being killed by white police officers.  They are not getting indictments because they don't want to get indictments.  Most prosecutors and police forces have a symbiotic relationship. They are co-dependent on one another to get convictions and/or protect one another.  And, when it comes to a white police officer killing an African-American male during an arrest, the prosecutor protects the police officer at all costs.  This relationship between prosecutors and white police officers needs to change.

When an African-American male is killed by a white police officer a special prosecutor must be brought in to handle the case.  No more can the given prosecutor of a community/city handle these cases before the grand jury. It is obvious the prosecutors and police are in bed together.

Yes, our country has the rule of law, but it must be applied equally to all citizens no matter the race, class, or gender of the accused.  

The profiling of African-American males must stop.  Our culture has been conditioned   since the days of slavery to see African-American men as sub-human animals. Even with the end of slavery, our culture has continued to be conditioned over the years to believe that African-American males are dangerous, out of control, up to no good, and committing crimes.  This is not so for the majority of African-American males who live peaceful and law abiding lives.

Yes, "there (definitely) is something rotten in Denmark."

Video taken of Eric Garner's arrest