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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our Government: The New No. 1 Crime Family

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For research, I was watching the movie Casino (a movie by the way that is based on actual events) when I came upon a very popular practice in organized crime. For whatever reason, a small business owner owes money to the mob; perhaps, it is due to a gambling debt or a personal loan. Now in the world of organized crime, they don’t send you a thirty day notice, they send a collector. If your debt is due at 11:50 and you still have not paid it, you can expect a knock on your door at 11:51. The Mob runs a pretty effective collection agency, if you know what I mean.

In some instances; however, if the person owing the debt is a business owner, the Mob seizes control of the business (unofficially) and runs through its resources like an aggressive parasite. They would take out big loans against the business, use it to launder money, and basically suck it dry until all that’s left is the human devastation of the owner and his family. Bankruptcy for the owner is almost always the conclusion of this unholy partnership.

Now, does any of this ring a bell or seem oddly familiar? If it does not, I have to conclude that you were either born last night or you have an unhealthy love affair with president Obama. Either way, you are not privy to current events.

The United States entered the current recession in the latter part of 2007, but it wasn’t until the end of the summer of 2008 that the bottom fell out (unfortunately for John McCain). American companies were shedding jobs at an alarming rate, and the housing market was basically in a free fall. People were realizing that they owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth or they were just unable to make further payments on their mortgages altogether. Most of the fifty states were reporting billion dollar deficits; the automotive industry was in serious jeopardy of declaring bankruptcy. To top it all off, the stock market was loosing 400 points a day. Consequently, the money we saved for the last 10 years was gone, almost in the blink of an eye. So overwhelming was the recession that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan became a distant consideration for the American people. Now I would argue that the recession was for the Obama campaign what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was for George Bush. Both John McCain and John Kerry lead in their respective presidential bids until the economy and the Swifties rained on their parades. In Gangland, Mobsters would see the situation I just described not as a recession or a reason for sorrow, but as an opportunity. As a matter of fact, the Mafia is often described as one of those recession-proof professions, as is the United States Government evidently, since it is the only “business” entity that is growing right now in the present downturn.

So now the stage is set for a Mafia style takeover of our country, not for monetary gains but for ideological ones and Barack Obama comes on the scene, offering a way out of our present misery by way of “change.” At this point, I am compelled to say that President Obama is not in the Mafia and he is not a mobster - this is not a premise for my argument and so if anyone chides me for calling the President a Mob boss, I’ll just have to correct him or her and point back to this statement. I am saying; however, that President Obama is an opportunist in the same way a Chicago Mob boss is an opportunist. A mobster knows that what he is doing is wrong and against the law. President Obama, on the other hand, believes that what he is doing is right and necessary. What then is the president’s end-game? It is to institutionalize liberalism, driven by the misguided notion that people if left to themselves will “eat” each other, and that it will be rich white men “feeding” on minorities, mainly African Americans (and lately Hispanics). We the people therefore need oversight and who better than the government to be our overseer and benevolent caretaker? What is the point in borrowing trillions of dollars against our country, basically using it as collateral? What is the point of printing new money? What is the point of lending billions to GM and Chrysler and then taking them over? What is the point of pushing universal healthcare when a much smaller version of it (Medicare) will be out of money in 14 years? What is the point of increased funding for abortion? What is the point of taxing the rich; taxing corporations and thus taxing all of us? What is the point of tightening the rope around the financial necks of the American people in fighting global warming – a phenomenon that is at best a theory and at worst, nonexistent? What is the point of nominating to the Supreme Court a woman who thinks white men are an inferior species of Homo sapiens and who thinks justice should not be blind to minorities? My fellow Americans, what is the point of all this?

In the words of his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, the President is not letting a serious crisis to go to waste. After making that statement and realizing that he had made a huge mistake, Rham Emanuel went on to say, “What I mean by that is that it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before.” Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

Some time ago, I wrote an article titled, “Mr. President, this conservative wants you to fail.” Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not at home reveling in the failures of any human being and certainly not our president’s. But when his definition of success boils down to big oppressive government, high taxes, out of control spending, debt as far as the eyes can see, abortion on demand, two legislative branches of government, all healthcare under the control of the government and the redistribution of wealth, then I cannot wish for his success under those terms with a clear conscience.

We must open our eyes and become the fourth branch of government, thus offsetting the other three. We are the ones wielding the proverbial “big stick” in this country and it’s about time we reintroduce our elected officials to some coercive interrogation using our big stick: our money, our hard work, our voices and our votes.

Danian Michael,
Political A

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Harsh interrogation - A case study

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On the use of force during an interrogation, the Army field manual states the following:

“PROHIBITION AGAINST USE OF FORCE - The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.…”[1]

Is it the case that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation? The argument goes as follows; harsh interrogation does not work because a prisoner will tell you anything to avoid pain and because generally speaking, people are more amicable to your request if you treat them kindly. I am going to argue that actually, harsh methods for gaining information and changing behavior is not only effective but is also foundational to our way of life here in the United States and I’m going to prove this by way of the illustration of three case studies.

Case No. 1 – The Police:

I was watching television yesterday; watching one of those programs that follow actual policemen as they fight crime. In this episode, police responding to a 911 call approached a house where the husband was out of control. The wife and neighbors were not able to calm this very large man down. The woman was hysterical and told the officers, “He’s going to kill me.” The two policemen drew their guns and entered the house and as if by magic, staring down the barrel of two loaded guns, this man became a model citizen.

Case No. 2 – My Parents:

I hate to admit this but I was not always the perfect son growing up in my parent’s house. There were times when I was just downright disrespectful to my mother, especially when I was in my teens and bigger in physical stature than her. I remember one incident when my Mom would not let me play soccer with my friends. I would not listen to her wishes, that is, until my Dad came home, then I became the model son.

Case No. 3 – The Courts and the Mafia:

Can you imagine what our justice system would be like if there was no penalty for lying under oath? People would say anything to avoid serving time in jail. Incidentally, the most popular argument forwarded for a case against torture happens to be the one I’m trying to refute right now; the fact that a prisoner will tell you anything to avoid further pain. It would seem that this problem (people just telling you anything) exists even if there is no threat of punishment; why have a penalty (which can be very severe) for lying under oath if people will always tell you the truth? Case in point: Joel Glickman was a convicted bookie for the Chicago Mob. Glickman was offered complete immunity if he would testify against five mob bosses. Over and over again during his trial Glickman would respond with, “I respectfully refuse to testify.” Finally the presiding judge, Mr. Zagel threw Glickman in jail and said he would be released when he was ready to talk. In the end Glickman had a choice to make. He could give up the mob bosses and be a free man or spend the rest of his life in jail but not have to deal with mob justice (i.e. one bullet to the chest and one bullet to the head). It was the mob with their harsh tactics that persuaded Glickman.[2]

Now I have shown in three different real-world scenarios that harsh treatment is shown to be very effective in persuading someone to act against their own desires or self-interest. And I was very careful in how I selected these three cases, as they cut across the very foundation of life here in the United States. I looked at law-enforcement, I looked at parenting and I looked at the judicial system. I have shown that in each of these cases, their effectiveness reduces to nil if harsh persuasive consequences were not at their core.

Barack Obama also said the following:

“Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them. Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence. Torture is how you set back America's standing in the world, not how you strengthen it.”[3]

I will say this for president Obama, he sure knows how to construct a future cliché. Is it the case that torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence? The answer is yes and no. The answer is yes if after an interrogation we simply released the source to go about their merry way. The answer is no if we retain the source until the intelligence we received is verified. The latter is almost always the case. Consider this, would you tell a gunman the true combination to your safety deposit box if you knew he would run away after you told him? The answer is probably no. But would you tell him the truth if the gunman had a partner testing the combination you gave him while he still held you at gun point? Well the answer is, of course you would tell him the truth.

To say that harsh treatment does not bear fruit is not only terribly misleading, it is simply mistaken. Why do we arm our police and national defense if being nice is a sufficient deterrent? Why is it that the mafia and gangs everywhere continue to use the most brutal tactics to keep their members in line if it does not work?

Harsh interrogation does work. Therefore, the real and only meaningful question is: Where is the line of demarcation between civilized moral conduct and immoral behavior? Stated another way; where does harsh interrogation stop and torture begin? I will answer that question at a later time. Just to give you a peek, I am going to say that there is such a thing as harsh interrogation that is not torture. We do real torture victims a disservice when we label any and all harsh coercion, torture. Nazis engaged in torture, my parents did not and neither did our boys in the United States Armed Forces.

Danian Michael
Political Agenda


[1] ( The Army field manual on intelligence gathering.

[2] ( In an article titled, “Witness keeps quiet in Chicago mafia trial.” Skynews details the trial of mobster Joel Glickman.

[3] ( Then senator Barack Obama made these comments in 2007 in response to a New York Times article titled, “Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations.” The Times article headline speaks for itself.