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We are f***ing sadists: We are not decent, and we are not a democracy

The torture report requires us to look in the mirror -- and accurately assess the monster that we see.

Patrick L. Smith, Salon

torn_us_flag.jpg (Credit: MoreISO via iStock)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 |  “You’ll comment on the torture report?” a friend in London asked just after the Senate’s revelations came out last week.

“No, everybody and his in-laws will be on it within hours. Besides, I do foreign and there’s no angle.”

Wrong times 10.

True enough, better thought than this space could offer has come out in the past few days, not least from Salon’s Elias Isquith. Read it here and here. “Now that we know some of the harrowing details of what was done in our name,” Isquith wrote with acuity, “it’ll be easier for us Americans to step a bit closer to the mirror and see what we’ve become.”

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Patrick L. Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications.

Full story … 

Related:

Noam Chomsky | The Long, Shameful History of American Terrorism, Noam Chomsky, Alternet

  • It's official: The U.S. is the world's leading terrorist state, and proud of it.
  • Torture Is Who We Are
  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgRevelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions.

 

 

Giving the Torturers a Pass

  • During Watergate, senior U.S. officials went to jail for lying and obstructing justice. Many politicians have gone to prison for taking bribes and for corruption. But it's somehow unthinkable to prosecute Bush administration officials implicated in torture and murder.
  • Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions

Marjorie Cohn, OpEdNews

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crimes%20are%20crimes%20mugshot%20button.jpg12/16/2014 | Reading the 499-page torture report just released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a disgusting experience. Even after many years of writing books and articles about the Bush torture policy, I was unprepared for the atrocious pattern of crimes our government committed against other human beings in our name.

One of the most hideous techniques the CIA plied on detainees was called "rectal rehydration" or "rectal feeding" without medical necessity -- a sanitized description of rape by a foreign object. A concoction of pureed "hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins" was forced into the rectum of one detainee. Another was subjected to "rectal rehydration" to establish the interrogator's "total control over the detainee." This constitutes illegal, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a humiliating outrage upon personal dignity.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of  'The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, and Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Full story … 

Related:

Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) 

  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgTake Action. Join CCR and demand that the Department of Justice act now
  • Please take action, share these materials widely, and help us build a groundswell of support for prosecuting those who torture and those who protect torturers!
  • 10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report

Only crusty, bitter, old, out-of-touch Cuban-Americans still support embargo.

Foreign%20Policy%20Banner.jpg

But like every other one of the GOP's demographic woes, fact is, support for the embargo is (literally) dying off as I type this. The country is finally moving on, despite the wailing and teeth gnashing of the Rubios and Menendezes, two of the most crusty old fucks of the world, and the new generation of Cuban Americans is leading the way.

kos, Daily Kos

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RTR4IF30.jpg?1418836301Aid worker Alan Gross arrives in Maryland after being released from Cuban imprisonment as part of a deal loosening trade and diplomatic between Cuba and the United States.

Dec 17, 2014 | With news that the president has brokered detente with Cuba, expect the crazy right-wing Cuban-American community to lose its head. Marco Rubio has predictably lost his, but Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez's hissy fit this morning has proven that idiocy can certainly be a bipartisan affair.

But here's the thing—the Cuban-American community is not monolithically in favor of keeping the failed embargo strategy alive. Quite the opposite, in fact. The only people left supporting failure are the crusty old fucks who can't get past having lost the war half a century ago.

Every year, Florida International Univerisity polls the Cuban-American community in South Florida. And the results are quite clear.

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kos is a contributor to Daily Kos

Full story … 

Glimpses Of Our Power

People-have-the-power-Ferguson-City-Hall-protest-101-13-14.jpg

  • Across the country and around the world, people are building their power. And when we see that our issues are connected, work across issues and act strategically, our power grows. Now that we have a taste of what we can accomplish together, let’s keep building and taking on the path to justice.
  • Dining Out in Dinkytown

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance  

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Screen-Shot-2014-11-12-at-8.09.42-AM-300x200.pngNovember 28th, 2014 | The nationwide reaction to the grand jury decision in Ferguson and police killings across the country taught the social justice movement an important lesson:

The people have the power to shut down the nation.

This is an important reality to consider. The reaction to the grand jury in 170 cities included people blocking major roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels. The police were unable to stop mobilized people working together to stop traffic. Those involved in the protest were still a small number, perhaps 200,000 people, but even this small percentage of the population had the power to #ShutItDown. In most instances protests were met with support even by people who were inconvenienced by traffic.

b1057.jpgKevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in Popular Resistance. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio.

Full story … 

Related:

Dining Out in Dinkytown, Bryan D. Palmer, The Bullet, Socialist Project

  • Remembering the Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934
  • Special Report | American Class Warfare: Week Ending November 9, 2014

The US Gun Culture, December 16, 2014

  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: Do Good Guys With Guns Stop Bad Guys? The Violence Policy Center Says No
  • Part 2: How A Gun Dealer Sees It
  • Seriously, people. This armed teacher thing really might not work out.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Do Good Guys With Guns Stop Bad Guys? The Violence Policy Center Says No

Mike Weisser, Huffington Post

n-PISTOL-large570.jpgGetty

12/15/2014 | The Violence Policy Center has just released an update on its ongoing report about shootings committed by individuals with concealed-carry permits and the information deserves to be studied in detail. The issuance of CCW has been a hot-button issue for the "gun-rights" movement ever since Gary Kleck published a study in 1994 that claimed that more than 2.5 million crimes were prevented every year by Americans walking around with guns. The gun industry and its allies like the NRA jumped on this still-unproven argument because, as Wayne-o said after Sandy Hook, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." And since anyone with a concealed-carry permit is, by definition, one of the good guys, the gun industry and its supporters work overtime trying to get concealed-carry accepted as the law of the land.

The CCW movement has made great strides over the past 20 years. Back in 1990, less than 20 states gave residents concealed-carry permits except in response to applications which cited specific business need (security guards, carrying cash, etc.). Since that time, most state legislatures have passed laws that make concealed-carry no more onerous than what is required legally to keep a gun in the home, and a majority of CCW permits are issued with little or no training required at all. Not only is it easier to get CCW in most states, but a concealed gun can usually be carried into shopping malls, restaurants and bars.

Mike Weisser: Gun business for 35 years as a retailer, wholesaler, importer and firearms trainer. NRA Life member. Ph.D. in economic history.

Full story … 



Part 2: How A Gun Dealer Sees It

Review of “Guns For Good Guys; Guns For Bad Guys,” by Michael R. Weisser, a.k.a. Mike the Gun Guy, who owns a gun shop in Massachusetts and blogs about guns for the Huffington Post.

Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

 

gun-show-290.jpegNovember 21, 2013 | Exactly what evidence would change your mind? A reasonable public debate, if all evidence is going to count for anything, always turns on that question. There are a few cases—genocide and mass famine, let’s say—on which there really are not two sides to the question. But there aren’t a lot of them, and most arguments about the right thing in social policy depend, or ought to, on what actually works in the real world: the arguments over Obamacare, for instance, tend to get caught up in the endless individual cases, but fall apart over the essential fact that American medicine costs more and does less than the socialized kind.

Those of us who have been arguing the case for gun control are so used to the non-responsive response—School buses plunge into ravines and kill people, sometimes! Why don’t you want to ban school buses?—that it’s a real pleasure to find a response rooted in the actual experience of guns and gun owners. It’s good to talk to someone who knows what he’s talking about. As it happens, a book written from a pro-gun, or at least a professional, perspective arrived on my desk the other day. Called “Guns For Good Guys; Guns For Bad Guys,” it is by Michael R. Weisser, a.k.a. Mike the Gun Guy, who owns a gun shop in Massachusetts and blogs about guns for the Huffington Post.

Mike Weisser: Gun business for 35 years as a retailer, wholesaler, importer and firearms trainer. NRA Life member. Ph.D. in economic history.

Adam Gopnik, a staff writer, has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1986. During his tenure at the magazine, he has written fiction, humor, book reviews, profiles, and reported pieces from abroad.

Full story … 

Related:

Seriously, people. This armed teacher thing really might not work out, David Waldman, Daily Kos

  • Six weeks of school (counting from the week of August 25), and three teachers have already accidentally fired their handy little safety tools in school. 
  • Looking sharp, people. Looking sharp.
  • The Hidden Cost of Gun Violence: Meet a Mother and Her 7-Year-Old With PTSD.

Bill Nye: Creationism Is 'Raising A Generation Of Young People Who Can't Think'

  • Scientific literacy (this fundamental idea that you can question things, that you can think critically, that you can use skeptical thought to learn about nature) is crucial for society to function effectively, which means that we can’t afford to be messing around with the way that it’s taught in the classroom (denying children academic opportunities by teaching creationism.)
  • How to Murder the Minds of the Masses

Antonia Blumberg, Huffington Post

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images_2014_01/2014.1.7.Chomsky.Main.jpg(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Brian Hillegas, Reigh LeBlanc, abrinsky

12/13/2014 | The biggest danger creationism plays, according to Bill Nye the "Science Guy," is that it is raising a generation of children who "can't think" and who "will not be able to participate in the future in same way" as those who are taught evolution.

Speaking on MidPoint, Nye said he blames an older generation of evangelicals "who have very strong conservative views" and who are "reluctant to let kids learn about evolution." Their presence on school boards leads to debates over curriculum, Nye argued, which further inhibits schools' ability to teach facts.

Antonia Blumberg works for HuffPost Religion covering a range of faith and spirituality topics. She is passionate about interfaith activism and strives to explore the ways in which religion plays out in contemporary media and politics.

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, writer, scientist, and former mechanical engineer, best known as the host of the Disney/PBS children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–98) and for his many subsequent appearances in popular media as a science educator.

Full story … 

Related:

How to Murder the Minds of the Masses, John Taylor Gotto, The Arcane Front

  • Most of us let our own fears or the impositions of others imprison us in a world of low expectations.
  • Salon Q&A: William Deresiewicz on millennials, the meritocracy, student loans and what's wrong with the Ivy League

Torture Is Who We Are

Rights%20%26%20Liberties%20Banner.jpg

A country, like a person, is what it does.

Peter Beinart, Atlantic

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Torture/lead.jpg?ngfozbWitness Against Torture protesters march in front of the White House. (Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

Dec 11 2014 | Torture, declared President Obama this week, in response to the newly released Senate report on CIA interrogation, is “contrary to who we are.” Maine Senator Angus King added that, “This is not America. This is not who we are.” According to Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, “We are better than this.”

No, actually, we’re not. There’s something bizarre about responding to a 600-page document detailing systematic U.S. government torture by declaring that the real America—the one with good values—does not torture. It’s exoneration masquerading as outrage. Imagine someone beating you up and then, when confronted with the evidence, declaring that “I’m not really like that” or “that crimes%20are%20crimes%20mugshot%20button.jpgwasn’t the real me.” Your response is likely to be some variant of: “It sure as hell seemed like you when your fist was slamming into my nose.” A country, like a person, is what it does.

Peter Beinart is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and National Journal, an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

Full story … 

Related:

Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions, The Center for Constitutional Rights  (CCR) 

  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgTake Action. Join CCR and demand that the Department of Justice act now
  • Please take action, share these materials widely, and help us build a groundswell of support for prosecuting those who torture and those who protect torturers!
  • 10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report

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