Via Job’s Anger.
A city boy will never learn everything a country boy knows by instinct. A country boy will learn everything a city boy knows in six months.–Bennett Cerf
Persons who were not there are comparing what happened last week (and may continue to happen this and subsequent weeks) to 1968.
I can attest that the only similarity is in the size of the headlines. In 1968, despite the violence and assassinations, there was a feeling of optimism and hope, of persons standing up against the corrupt “system”–a corrupt war, racism and theft of labor, corrupt corporations fouling the air and the water, women subjected by social norms to the whims of men (who were as piggish then as they are now).
The feeling I sense today is desperation and loss, not optimism and hope: Persons attempting to fight off resurgent racism and a militarized “law enforcement” implicitly empowered to execute black and brown folks with impunity; a usurious economy built on leeching the blood from the poor and what’s left of the middle class; a world that will literally drown, becoming engulfed by water as the seas rise from climate change engendered by those willing to sit back and watch the rising tide from their enclaves on the hill; a political establishment held hostage by the forces of reaction, when it’s not actively abetting them.
Other than that, I reckon things are okay.
Shaun Mullen seems slightly more optimistic than I. Here’s a bit of what he wrote; follow the link for the rest:
Yes, there were waves of violence in 1968 as exemplified by the MLK and RFK assassinations, but it also was the year Americans understood the Vietnam War for its awfulness, turned out a morally bankrupt president and were to do the same with his similarly inclined successor a few years later. The civil rights and women’s movements entered the mainstream, and Republicans and Democrats actually got along. When you consider that all those things were positive consequences of a more or less functioning democracy, 1968 actually was a pretty damned good year compared to our present dysfunction.
Trump’s pivot. It’s a thing.
About damned time (more at the link).
“I don’t think I have any other choice,” said Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush, after rejecting the claim of the psychologists’ lawyer that the two are immune from civil liability, according to the Huffington Post.
The lawsuit was first filed in a federal court in Spokane, Washington in October 2015 by Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian citizen, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan citizen, and the family of Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who froze to death at a secret CIA prison in Kabul. All three men allege that they were subject to some of the harshest physical and psychological torture methods while in CIA custody.
Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the defendants in the case, were paid $81 million to help teach the CIA torture methods based on past experiments on dogs and were deeply involved in their implementation.
For a measly $81,000,000, they were complicit in throwing a veneer of science over sadism. But the persons truly responsible–those who wrote that $81,000,000 check–will, I am certain, never face any penalty, let alone anything remotely resembling justice.
I do think that some of Mr. Cousins’s personal criticism of President Obama is unduly harsh, if not in substance, certainly in tone; hindsight is always etc. and so on. I also suspect that this sheds some light on the deliberations that led to many of the choices that Cousins criticizes.
This is the signature legacy of President George the Worst:
More than 20 Republican senators rejected a ban on the use of cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners on Tuesday, voting against an ultimately successful measure to permanently prevent a repeat of the CIA’s once secret and now widely-discredited torture program.
The bipartisan amendment reaffirms President Barack Obama’s prohibition of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, which were developed by the CIA under the administration of his predecessor, George W Bush.
The measure passed in the Senate, 78-21.
It will no doubt fail in the House.
The Republican Party has become a vile and loathsome thing, a gibbering monster that slithers and twists in darkness.
Shaun Mullen looks at recently disclosed evidence that the American Psychological Association is complicit in torture and other war crimes. A nugget:
In early June 2004, the report said, a senior APA official issued an invitation to a carefully selected group of psychologists and behavioral scientists inside the government to a private meeting to discuss the Bush administration’s public relations crisis and the role of psychologists in the torture program. Following a meeting, the association issued guidelines that reaffirmed that it was acceptable for its members to be involved in the interrogation program.
Read the rest, and weep.
In a letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times, J. D. Hansard observes:
In 1776, with a seemingly superior army fighting us in our own country and torturing our soldiers who had surrendered, Washington decreed that we would not stoop to the use of torture. He declared that we were better people than that.
After 9/11, we were faced with a group of murderous and cruel enemies, but they had no army, no air force and no navy. They lacked weapons of mass destruction. But Cheney and Bush decreed that the threat to us was so great that we must abandon George Washington’s idealism.
Read the rest.