Thursday, June 25, 2015

Apple Store Drops Civil War History Apps Displaying Confederate Battle Flag

As the Confederate army drives up Oak Ridge on July 1st, 1863, Confederate flags mark brigades and the Confederate 3rd Corps HQ. Similarly, Union flags make the position of Federal brigades. In Apple's idea of a proper historical simulation, the flags of the "bad guys" are erased to avoid triggering knee-jerk spasms of angst amongst people who a week ago probably couldn't have distinguished a Confederate battle flag from a box of mac and cheese. Screen shot from Ultimate General: Gettysburg, a battle simulation recently pulled from Apple's App Store, because of the display in the game of the Confederate battle flag.
As concern over state-sanctioned display of the Confederate battle flag extends to loonier PC erasures of history, Apple Computer has buckled under public pressure, and dropped (nearly) all apps displaying the Confederate battle flag from its App Store.

This includes historical simulations, such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, a much-praised, historically accurate, simulation of the battle of Gettysburg. In an announcement on the Game-Labs forum, the company that makes Ultimate General: Gettysburg said that Apple had demanded the history game be redesigned to eliminate any display of the Confederate battle flag:
“Apple has removed our game from AppStore because of usage of the Confederate Flag. Ultimate General: Gettysburg could be accepted back if the flag is removed from the game's content…We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money. Therefore we are not going to amend the game's content and Ultimate General: Gettysburg will no longer be available on AppStore. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results.”
For the last week, a number of American corporations, including Apple, have been under pressure to eliminate selling any products that display the Confederate battle flag or any content that seemed to be supportive or insufficiently condemnatory of the Southern Confederacy. For example, this article directly challenges Tim Cook to remove all apps from the App Store displaying Confederate symbols. It encourages Cook to abide by the App Store’s guidelines, which state:
“Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected.”
The article writer, Zac Hall, did bother to include this exception: “I don’t believe Apple should censor historical content or remove informational material from iTunes or the App Store…”, but the problem is one person’s “historical content” is another person’s “defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited” crime against humanity. This is always the problem with censorship.

In most historical simulations, including ones enabling players to take the role of Germans (AKA "Nazis") and Japanese armies from World War II, the idea is to enable players to learn about history by simulating it, including from the perspective of the “enemy”. In military history games, of course, the main focus is on battle strategy, and not on the political conflicts that led to the battles.

This lack of political context, which mirrors a historical attitude seeking to find and assess factual data without ideological bias, has always been a vulnerable aspect of historical simulations—and especially military history simulations or wargames. Why, after all, should a person even want to play a game where the Nazis—or the Confederates—might win? Doesn't that say something very negative about the person? People who think that it does are going to be suspicious of the motives drawing people to play a game like Ultimate General: Gettysburg.

But—so what?

The point made by Game-Labs seems quite pertinent—all historical art forms, including games, should be treated equally. And unless Apple is getting ready to remove any work of art—movies, television shows, music—that has any display of something “Confederate”, it should restore apps such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, and any other history apps, whose inclusion of the Confederate battle flag is based merely on an effort to get the facts straight.

More than this, the Confederate battle flag, whatever people may think of it, has been such a constant feature of Southern culture and a number of American subcultures too, that attempting to censor it out of existence is not merely impossible, but is counterproductive to any goal America has in addressing its ongoing problem with racism. The kind of action Apple has taken, for example, seems reminiscent of 1984—which, if you know anything about Apple's marketing of itself, is quite ironic.

Read more about the Confederate battle flag controversy here.

UPDATE! Friday, June 26th, 2015—as of this evening, Apple has restored Ultimate General: Gettysburg to the Apps Store. Game-Labs says the game was not changed and "is the way it was...in 1863."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If You Want To Tear Down Flags Of Hate—Start With The American Flag

I’m writing this with my Texas accent turned on:

When it comes to history and flags—especially flags of hate—it’s a safe bet most Americans don’t know shit about a damned thing. I mean, it’s history. Americans don’t do history.

But they do hate—real good.

For example, if I told you the first Confederate flag looked pretty much like the Tea Party flag, you might be shocked (if you were a fucking idiot). Usually, some pro-Confederacy asshole will at that point say: but the Don’t-Tread-On-Me is a flag of the American Revolution!

Georgians gathered, on November 8, 1860, to get the hell out of the USA. Under a banner designed by a South Carolina slave trader, Christopher Gadsden (a hero of the American Revolution), the Georgians rallied to the slogan and idea of "Southern rights", by which they meant the Southern white right to own black human beings as livestock. Yep, the "Don't Tread On Me" flag is absolutely a pro-slavery, Confederate, flag.
Well, yeah, a flag of the American Revolution, whose mission in part was to defend the institution of slavery, in spite of what the slaveholding, child-rapist, hypocrite POS Thomas Jefferson had to say about “freedom”—whatever, white man.

Thing is—America’s first and most glorious flag of slavery was sure as hell not either the now much-hated Confederate battle flag, OR even the Don’t-Tread-On-Me flag, it was this one:

The "Betsy Ross" flag, 1777, whose ring of stars does not include, but it certainly suggests, the black people being symbolically lynched inside that circle of compromisers on slavery.
And if you really want to get technical, it was this flag:

18th-century British colonial flag. We must always remember that, but for the British, the USA would not exist, and would not have so enthusiastically embraced slavery as an economic model of labor. On the other hand, a big reason the American colonies broke away from Great Britain was to insure the sanctity of property—most especially slaves—which the somewhat more civilized British seemed on the road to eradicating in 1776.
The European monster nations, the colonizing white viruses of the world, spread out to conquer, slaughter, exploit poor brown and black peoples everywhere they could find them.

The English, who were too stupid, too poor, and too slow out of the gate, to colonize nice places like Mexico or Peru, ended up colonizing a bunch of stupid woods with bears and hostile people-who-already-lived-there in them. On the good side, no white people except the even dumber and slower French, had much interest in competing to control the vast blob of woods. So, the English had it made for a while, slowing creeping and killing westward.

Finally, these English colonists got so woodsified and “savage”, that they were not even recognizable as human beings to their evil colonial overlords back in London. And so the King and the Colonies had that little 1776 dustup which liberated the now fully-American white people to go hog-wild killing and robbing and building the “greatest nation in the history of the world!” YAY!!

And a big part of the reason that nation of natural predators had so much economic success was all the labor stolen from millions of black people for hundreds of years. So important was slavery to the USA, that when it came time to form the USA, all those allegedly anti-slavery savages up in the cold Northern states, took the word called “compromise” and wiped the nation's shitty butt with it.

Because what they did to that word was give the impression that something noble and good had happened when those Northerners compromised with their orc-like Southern cousins on the issue of slavery. Yep, the Northerners actually wanted slavery in the new USA. And they economically benefitted from it all along.

And that brings us to the question of the flags of hate. If flags that flew over, and legally institutionalized slavery, are bad things we should tear down—you had better start with the American flag itself. Because that is the first flag of slavery in the USA.

But wait! I hear you screaming like caged monkeys, wasn’t the American flag redeemed by all the blood that was shed in that Civil War thingy? Well, no. It wasn’t.

Confederate battle flag—which is the American flag without the hypocrisy.
You know why? Killing a whole bunch of people doesn’t actually make your flag better. It just means the USA was so stupid, it went out and killed and maimed millions of its own people to eradicate slavery, only to then turn the administration and fates of those freed black Americans over to their former slave masters and the now intensely hate-filled former Confederate soldiers—and their millions of hate-filled descendants.

Yeah, that’s some real good thinking going on there.

And anyway, who had time to worry whether emancipation of slaves took or not, when you had all those injuns to kill and their lands to finish stealing?

Them neegrows? Thay’s free. Thay’s on their own.

On their own in a land of white hate so fierce that white Americans took to lynching and burning black people just for good, family entertainment.

And so we went until Martin Luther King, Jr. opened his arms with Christian love and asked—cain’t we just get along like Jesus Christ said? And James Earl Ray articulated with a bullet the Southern white-people's response: “Fuck you, nigger!”

Now, that response was in part also a response to liberal white people, who are always feeling guilty (but not that guilty) about how this great nation is a pirate, terrorist state, and who went off and started passing “civil rights” laws to finally start pretending like black people were real Americans. The white liberal thinking was that if you forced regular, racist white people to act like they accepted black people, then maybe they would start feeling that way too.

But that shit never worked, because, as President Half-White said the other day—racism is as American as apple-pie and killing people just to watch 'em die (which, you know, he does a lot).

So, you can take down the Confederate battle flags—hey, Walmart can even, finally, stop selling them to the millions of its best Confederate customers—but that ain't gonna do anything other than drive the hatred into deeper, darker, recesses of the black-hearted white soul.

Now, if you want to honestly address the problem in the USA, you need to tear down every American flag and replace it with—

—and that’s what we really need to have a national debate about.

Not some stupid easy thing like hating the CBF, but we need to talk about replacing the main symbol of hate in America—the American flag itself.

We need to talk about how, and even whether, we are going forward as a nation together, or increasingly as little cultures and tribes, all fighting against but never together.

Maybe disintegration is just the natural process of a nation formed in such ignominy and hypocrisy. Eventually, the USA very well may not survive its own bullshit. So it goes (in history) with any two-bit, flash-in-the-pan, and extremely hateful empire.

UPDATE, June 24, 2015—looks like Rush Limbaugh read me yesterday. He predicts "the left" will soon articulate the very argument I made in this article. Rush writes:
"And I'll make another prediction to you. The next flag that will come under assault, and it will not be long, is the American flag...The American flag is what? It's the symbol of America. The left what? Doesn't like this country very much and never has and it's getting angrier and angrier about it seemingly every day. The American flag stands for the United States of America and, as such, everything that's wrong with it. And you wait. It isn't gonna be long before the American flag is gonna cause chills, fear, scary thoughts, it's gonna make me nervous, the American flag, when I see the American flag, it's a symbol of hate."

The jerk needs to acknowledge his sources.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Bushy Traits Of Barack Obama, War Criminal And Tyrant

In a recent picture, Barack Obama reportedly reaches for a smoke, as he talks tyranny with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The white hair and the cigs come with the realization on the part of US presidents that if there is a Hell, they most certainly are bound there.
That Barack Obama is an awful person is not news. And I don’t mean, as the conservatives do, that he was born especially awful, i.e. Kenyan, or that his actions have been especially awful. No, the fact he is POTUS necessitates, we are told, his awful actions. 

But the ease with which Barack Obama repeatedly subverts the law, kills people (including Americans and poor, brown babies), spies on all Americans, fights and expands undeclared wars, and gripes (just like Bush did) about how it would all be easier without Congress in the way, makes me think Obama is not a better man or a better president, but quite a mediocre war criminal and tyrant.

And if you would say well that all just comes with the office, then maybe we should get rid of the office, and the awful assumptions that motivate expressions of its power.

It is difficult at this point to view Obama’s escape from Iraq, certainly on the timetable devised by the Bush regime but still, as anything other than a green light to what became Islamic State. Does that qualify as a strategic foreign policy blunder on Obama’s part? 

The Terror Wars have been such a continuous and horrible stream of blundering, it is difficult to see how this particular portion of it is much worse than any other. Yes, Islamic State seems worse, but really it is just a logical result of the dynamics that have been in play in Iraq ever since George W. Bush made the catastrophically stupid decision to take out Saddam in 2003. 

And it wasn’t just the taking out part that was stupid, it was the absolutely inane idea these neocon wonderturds promoted—and still promote—that if you broke Iraq into ethnic shards, somehow democracy would rush in to fix everything. Or, if you just spent an enormous fortune training the Iraqi military, it could defend itself when committed jihadists came calling from Syria and Anbar.

It isn’t that I forget to blame the war criminal Bush in this critique. Far from it. It is that I find quite striking how Bushy Barack Obama has become, and how I think he most likely always was. 

The campaign blather about hope and change? 

Only the most dire fools believe that shit any longer. This is an empire after all, and Barry wasn’t going to let the black guy fuck that up.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Barack Obama’s Silly DOA Anti-Austerity Budget

In Barack Obama's world, there are those who do "spectacularly well"—meaning those who exploit their circumstances and other people to become fabulously wealthy, and there are those who are working hard to be those people. Yet, Obama wonders why in such a world, where the most heinous humans, soulless monsters of greed and hatred of poor people, are counted as doing "spectacularly well", there is not more general compassion. This from a man who regularly murders children and other innocent people with drone strikes.
In his weekend address to the nation, Barack Obama asked a question:
“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?”
Obviously, yes, “we” will—“we” have been doing it since the beginning after all. And what does “spectacular” even mean if everybody or most people can do it?

Well, that’s just one of the problems with Barack Obama. A lot of the time, he just doesn’t make much sense, even if his proposals are not wholly misguided.

So, why is now the time to call for passing a $4 trillion budget, one that demands at least some increases in social spending for poor and working class people? Shouldn't Obama have pushed for big spending to help most Americans all along?

Of course a lot of conservatives will tell you that Obama has been doing just that, which is why Americans dumped Democrats in the fall election. And they will tell you that when Democrats controlled Congress the first two years of Obama’s administration, the huge, communistic, entitlements to poor people nearly wrecked rich people and corporations (the “job creators”).

And these same conservatives will also tell you science is the work of Satan.

But the truth is the little bit of spending Obama got through his first couple of years mainly helped rich people and corporations expand their wealth and domination over America. Poor people, working people, got a few crumbs to make the most dire economic crisis since the Great Depression seem slightly less horrible.

And what about the much-beloved “middle class” the Democrats have pledged themselves to? The dirty little secret about them is that they don’t really exist any longer. The “middle” isn’t that, but should correctly be classified as the lower wealthy class. Even talking heads on television, people making millions of dollars every year, claim that they are “middle class”. Clearly, the meaning of key words has changed.

Meanwhile, rich people, banks, corporations all said the same thing to Barack Obama—hey thanks for the bailouts, the cash incentives and tax breaks (to hire people that, you know, we didn’t do), and especially thanks for driving American labor to the brink of ruin and insanity.

Because that last bit of the Great Recession—caused by massive sustained unemployment and the corporate reaction to it of reshaping "jobs" as a privilege Americans had to work for free to (possibly) earn, turned American workers into Chinese-style slaves. It also increased the profits the rich were getting from running their businesses. After all, as any Confederate slaveowner could have told you—and as many of their descendants in the Republican Party ARE telling us today—“free” is the best price to pay for labor.

So, now, Obama tells us:

“I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.”

So, how did the “mindless austerity” come into effect? Oh you know, through that across-the-board budget cuts that happened when Congress refused to work with Obama and the Democrats to avoid them. Those cuts, called “Sequester” budget reductions, were initially put into place to force the Democrats and the Republicans to work out some kind of “Grand Bargain”, which basically means throwing current Americans under the bus to save a mythical future America half a century from now.

As Paul Krugman recently said, and has been saying, this kind of economics, designed to bolster the wealth of an elite minority of current Americans by making the majority of Americans, who deserve assistance (in a civilized country anyway) even more than rich people, pay the cost of saving Americans in 2065, is heinous and stupid:
“Even where the long-term [debt] issues are real, it’s truly strange that they have so often taken center stage in recent years. We are, after all, still living through the aftermath of a once-in-three-generations financial crisis. America seems, finally, to be recovering — but Bowles-Simpsonism had its greatest influence precisely when the United States economy was still mired in a deep slump. Europe has hardly recovered at all, and there’s overwhelming evidence that austerity policies are the main reason for that ongoing disaster. So why the urge to change the subject to structural reform? The answer, I’d suggest, is intellectual laziness and lack of moral courage.”
Nevertheless, one cannot look at the Obama budget proposal and not think about how great it would have been if he had been making $4 trillion budget proposals, and getting them approved by Congress, all along. Or hey—maybe bigger budget proposals than that.

All over the world, and especially in Europe, the economics of austerity has failed. Even in the USA, where the economy has come back big time for wealthy people, the deep, structural and moral damage done to most Americans through savage budget cutting has been a mortal wound for millions of Americans. They have lost careers, homes, futures, and their families in the vast, GOP-style recovery.

Why did Barack Obama allow that to happen? Because for most of his presidency he preached at people that compromise was king of American politics, that “maturity” is reaching across the aisle to make a deal with the other side.

The problem was Barack Obama started out the negotiations by giving away the house (he had already lost the House) to people whose number one goal was to compromise with him when Hell froze over. The American people stood no chance with that kind of cowardly, hatefully stupid leadership in both parties, but Obama had the obligation to stand up to the Republicans, to protect the people, and he failed to do so.

What Obama should have done was to call upon the American people to descend on Washington DC—in the tens of millions—to demand their legislators do the work for the people, and not just for the ruling class. But, again, Obama failed to do this, as his ability to inspire action on the part of Americans began and ended at the voting booth on the two election days he won the Presidency. Why did Obama so often kowtow to the demands of Wall Street, corporations, and the rich ruling class? At this point we have to admit that a big reason he failed to stand up for the American people is because Obama is also the ruling class.

And so when Obama offers up this $4 trillion budget, one that stands no chance of being passed by Republicans, it is both a reminder of what the GOP is willing to do to Americans, as well as a reminder of what Barack Obama has utterly failed to do for Americans.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting Over The Pie

We need to get over tribes just like we need to get over gods. We need to get serious about humanity as a common experience. And that means taking the rap for EVERYBODY just like taking credit for everybody.

In other words, if you feel some pride that humanity can reach out to the stars, that we can understand the Universe in a deep way, that we can reach into the body and do amazing things to save lives, that we can feed more people than ever before, that we are the smartest and most wonderful monkeys on the planet—then you have to take the downside too.

In other words, the feeling you should have about the Holocaust ought to be PERSONAL shame, that your species is that fucked up. The same with Islamic State. It isn't just Muslims who should have a personal problem or sense of failure about the behavior of those maniacs. Everyone, every thinking person, should have a shared sense of failure that our world (with humans in it) is that incredibly vile.

Don't just join hands to sing Kumbaya. Join hands to sing—"God, we suck".

And then try to move on, together. In order to facilitate that, we have a lot of talking to do, about the most basic things, like where we should be moving on towards—together.

I would suggest one small step for humanity in the right direction is to get over satire. Authorities need to be pelted with pies in the face, every day. And killing people for it is insane. Pretty simple.

On the other hand, knowing you are offending hundreds of millions of people with your pie is maybe not the brightest way to make your satire effective in the sense of illustrating the problem with the authority, instead of you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Islamic Sword Is Far Mightier Than Stupid Internet Pens

The same people who are morally outraged when anybody says anything mean about one of the usual list of approved victims are up in—well, pens really—about Muslims taking mortal offense at the constant satirical abuse spewed their way by the French publication Charlie Hebdo. Tonight all over the vain and throughly idiotic internet people are tweeting "Je suis Charlie" to show their solidarity with the idea that there is some kind of valuable right to express hatred towards others (especially Muslims). Indeed in the USA, this right is enshrined in the First Amendment, a freedom that has never meant anything to the extent that free speech might inspire (unmet by overwhelming state violence) any meaningful pushback by the proles against their ruling-class overlords.
So, for that matter, is the Chinese sword, or the Russian sword, or the American sword.

We all know this is true. It is why we have armies made up of killers, and not writers.

All the satirical cartoons in the world cannot stop a bullet or its consequences. Just last year we commemorated the start of World War I, which began or anyway was given an opportunity to begin by one man firing one pistol. While that man, Gavrilo Princip, did not personally start World War I, his two pistol shots gave the opportunity to an entire continent of maniacs, who were just itching to go off to glorious war.

No pen saved them from their folly.

On the other hand, many pens extolled the heroism and justness of their various insane causes—all backed by God and his Will of course. What killed the 20 million victims of World War I were the bullets, the explosive shells, the bombs, the poison gas, and the terrible diseases and deprivation that accompany war—especially that horrible war.

It is time for Westerners to come to grips—serious, realistic grips, with the fact that their silly little ideology about freedom has run its course. It is madness to think in today’s world you can say anything you want about anybody and that nothing is going to happen to you.

This is particularly true the more visible and popular is your writing. But it is even true for regular civilians. The more eyes on your ideas, whether they are terrorists, or just employers who may not like what you write, the more likely you will mortally offend somebody, who will then act upon that provocation to cause you the same (or actually even worse) harm they feel you have caused them.

Is it right and just that this should happen?

Well, that’s the interesting question. In the West, if certain classes or groups of people (e.g., ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, women) say something offends them, many people these days rush in to say the offense and the offender should be banned from everything—the internet, their jobs, any future whatsoever.

And yet, many of these very same torchbearing ninnies are today tweeting “Je suis Charlie”, like the tweet is some kind of public stand for the freedom of speech or something, instead of what it is actually is—another stupid sloganeering masturbation by the herd of heinous group-thinkers.

All that will stop the maniacs of the world from perpetrating their mania is their deaths (which the world considers too barbaric a remedy) or your submission to their wills. And for most people, and especially for most corporations (like Sony), submission and compliance are far less expensive and disruptive than standing up for freedoms that pretty much everyone now considers “quaint”, as the Bushies said. And that raises another point—which maniacs are we talking about? Because they are all around us, and often are us.

This is the twilight of freedom. Most people don’t want to die for it. And they especially don’t want to die for somebody else's freedom. There are simply too many fun things to do while under the protective custody of Big Brother.

So, with respect to taking any truly risky political stand, what the mass well understands is that wisdom is to shut the fuck up, mind your own business, and just let the psychopaths do theirs. And yeah, I mean their psychopaths, and your own.

It’s not just the American way. It’s the only way in the world at all to be a little safer than the free fools.

And whether or not that’s a true assessment of the facts and any obligations regarding them, it’s surely the default working premise for living life (as opposed to stupidly sacrificing oneself for anachronistic rights) in the 21st century.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Another War Of Colonial Aggression, USA Water-tortured Filipinos

At first glance, you might think these troops are coming to the aid of the person on the ground, until you notice the troops holding down the victim, and the pleasure exhibited by the US soldier on the left. Calling water torture the "water cure" was a way of pointing out that the United States had a real Philippines problem (the Filipinos didn't want to be conquered and lorded over by Americans, either), which, among other horrors inflicted by US troops against countless victims, the "water cure" aided, by breaking the will of the Filipino insurgency.
It was over a century ago now, when the military forces of the United States of America engaged those of Spain, in a war for colonial possessions, that pretty much no American knows (much less recalls) happened.

But it was in that war that Cuba gained a kind of freedom—to be economically exploited and militarily bullied by the USA—until the Communist revolution would establish Casto’s rule. And it was in that war that Teddy Roosevelt obtained fame as a hero for a battle (San Juan Hill), mostly led by black troops he wasn’t commanding. The hero meme would help lift Roosevelt to the vice-presidency of the United States in 1900. The next year, after President Mckinley was assassinated, Roosevelt became President of the United States.

And—it was in that war that the USA took over the Philippines (named for King Phillip II of Spain). 

After America entered the war against Spain (in jingoistic thrall to the false notion Spain had blown up the US battleship The Maine) and in so doing became natural allies (of a sort) with the Cuban and Filipino revolutionaries, the USA made all kinds of promises or hints of them to all kinds of people America wished to temporarily use to win the war. 

That said, the USA had not exactly promised the Filipinos that once Spain was defeated, the Philippines would be set free from colonial exploitation. In fact, the American idea for post-war Philippines was not very different than George W. Bush’s idea for post-Saddam Iraq, a century later:
“[T]he mission of the United States [in the Philippines] is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.”
In other words, the USA was offering or actually forcing a trade to the Filipino people, eliminating the evil Spanish arbitrary colonial exploitation for the good American “mildly swaying” colonial exploitation.

The only problem was that the Filipino people were not interested in American mildly-swaying colonialism. Or any colonialism. They wanted real freedom. So they sized up the Americans as being just as bad as the Spanish and declared war on the American colonial occupation. 

America responded by enforcing its agreement—with Spain!—to replace Spanish rule in the Philippines with American rule.

The Philippines War was relatively short (especially by Afghanistan War measures), and so extremely brutal that it deeply divided Americans, for the short time Americans paid attention to it, on the questions of America’s role and conduct in the world. It wasn’t just a question of whether or not the USA should even be a colonial power. That was happening, regardless of what the American people wanted, and they were fine with it so long as they believed the people they were colonizing were getting freedom!?—or anyway a better deal.

But, in addition, Americans wanted to believe that when their brand of colonial conquerers went forth to slaughter and lord it over the colonized, they would bring honor to the USA—unlike all those bad and inferior brands of European colonizers. 

Unfortunately, in the Philippines War, the natural beast of the American character was given full expression. In fact, so bad did things become in that war, that Americans took to regularly torturing and murdering any Filipinos who were or who just might be an insurgent.

Here is a description of American military behavior in the Philippines, from a letter published in The Philadelphia Ledger, on November 11, 1901:
 “The present war is no bloodless, fake, opera bouffe engagement. Our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, and children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people, from lads of ten up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino was little better than a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, whose best disposition was the rubbish heap. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men "to make them talk," have taken prisoners of people who had held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and, an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them up on a bridge, and shot them down one by one to drop into the water below and float down as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”
You may note in that the line about pumping salt water into men to obtain—well, whatever the torturers wanted really. In fact, the favorite form of torture employed by American troops was something sardonically referred to as “the water cure”. Here is a description of this practice, as detailed in testimony given before a 1901 Senate Committee investigating torture by US personnel in the Philippines:
“The presidente [‘native town officer’ captured by American troops] was tied and placed on his back under a water tank holding probably one hundred gallons. The faucet was opened and a stream of water was forced down or allowed to run down his throat. His throat was held so he could not prevent swallowing the water, so that he had to allow the water to run into his stomach. He was directly under the faucet with his mouth held wide ope. When he was filled with water, it was forced out of him by pressing a foot on his stomach or else with the hands. This continued from five to fifteen minutes.”
We are told “This unhappy man was taken down and asked more questions. He again refused to answer and then was treated again.”

After 15 minutes of that kind of torture, the “unhappy man” had nothing to say? Or knew nothing to say?

The description continues:
“One of the men of Eighteenth Infantry went to his saddle and took a syringe [not with a needle, but a tube] from the saddle bag, and another man was sent for a can of water holding about five gallons. Then a syringe was inserted one end in the water and the other end in his mouth. This time he was not bound but he was held by four or five men and the water was forced into his mouth from the can, through the syringe. The syringe did not seem to have the desired effect and the doctor ordered a second one. The man got a second syringe and that was inserted in his nose. Then the doctor ordered some salt and a handful of salt was procured and thrown into the water. Two syringes were then in operation. The interpreter stood over him in the meantime asking for this second information that was desired. Finally he gave in and gave the information.”
Then we are told: “On the strength of this confession a town of 12,000 inhabitants was burned down.”

Note above there is mention of “the doctor”. Yes, a Dr. Lyon, a contract doctor working for the United States Army was conducting the torture, just like these guys, contract psychologists working for the US military, were the architects and operators of the USA’s global torture regime during Bush’s war on Muslims.

As you can see, the Philippines War “water cure” sounds like a form of waterboarding. 

In fact, one of the CIA apologist talking points this week, has been to denounce the “moral equivalency” of claiming that waterboarding is anything like the water torture used, for example, by the Japanese Empire in WWII against American troops.

Here is Dick Cheney employing that talking point this Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press:
“It's a really cheap shot, Chuck, to even try to draw a parallel between the Japanese who were prosecuted for war crimes after World War II and what we did with waterboarding three individuals—all of whom were guilty and participated in the 9/11 attacks.”
Just a note on that before we continue, but the United States employed waterboarding torture on an unknown number of torture victims. While the CIA claims only three hi-value detainees were waterboarded, CIA’s credibility on many questions is pretty much non-existent. Note the “value” of the detainees, as alleged by CIA, was not even credible.

Further, as this article explains:
“One question raised related to waterboarding, and how many detainees were subjected to it. Although the CIA has said technique was only used on three detainees, the committee found a photograph during their investigation that showed a waterboard and buckets of water at a detention site where the CIA claims it never used the technique.”
Again, in terms of the moral equivalence talking point (i.e. the one regarding comparing modern CIA torture with Japanese WWII torture), this idea is filled out in more detail in a book published in 2010, by Marc Thiessen, whose title tells you a lot: Courting Disaster, How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack.

Thiessen argues that it is a “dishonest comparison” to view Imperial Japanese water torture as equivalent to American waterboarding:
“A careful examination of Japanese interrogation practices shows that the Japanese practiced a form of water torture called “pumping” in which they filled the victim’s stomach with water until his intestines and internal organs expanded painfully. Once the victim passed out from the pain, [the Japanese torturers] would press on the stomach to make him vomit up the water, reviving him—and then start the process all over again.”
A little later Thiessen tells us what another book on tortures, Torture and Democracy, has to say about “even more gruesome details of water torture as practiced by the Japanese”:
“Interrogators used hoses and teakettles to funnel water down the throat.”
You may recall above, American torturers in the Philippines War did exactly the same thing—using two separate “syringes” or hoses to funnel water down the throat, one hose through the mouth and one hose through the nose, of their victim.

As you can see, the description of the allegedly much worse Japanese Imperial water torture and the American “water cure” torture of Filipinos, which occurred 40 years earlier, are pretty much identical.

Now, you may say—well, waterboarding isn't like that—they aren't pouring water down people's throats. But the point is they don't have to. The purpose of all water tortures, including waterboarding, is to torture with great pain and great dread of death, chiefly from drowning. Waterboarding has often been called "simulated drowning", but of course that isn't really the case, as it is instead slow drowning.

In 1901, talking about American water tortures of the Filipinos, this description of the intended effect on victims sounds pretty familiar:
"The suffering was...that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown."
Of course, that isn't quite true—people certainly did drown, or were driven so close to it they died from the accumulated abuse of the torture inflicted.

The people who would parse the pain or the definition of torture, in order to excuse the CIA from its gross criminality in the Terror Wars, are overlooking—for many because they do not know it—the grand tradition of American water torture of helpless, and in many cases entirely innocent, human beings.