May 22 2009
That poses an extraordinarily broad array of difficulties, not the least of which is that it’s an open an ongoing threat to the greater Obama agenda, which is itself often invoked as a reason for not dabbling in the “distraction” of “looking backward.” But unless we can demarcate Cheneyism — the “anything goes” philosophy as explicitly illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate, its continued existence (and threatened practice by future administrations) calls into question the value and durability of the whatever parts of the Obama agenda are ultimately implemented, on detainee policy or anything else.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations had a hearing entitled Confronting Rape and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones: DRC and Sudan. The US Senate wishes to tackle rape as a weapon of war. Barbara Boxer feels we are in good position to affect the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan.
May 18 2009
The new news is that there is a mounting body of evidence that Dick Cheney ordered waterboarding to produce the connections necessary to wage a war on Saddam Hussein. (See diaries by dday for a primer, and buhdydharma for a link to Rachel Maddow.) Our knowledge of Dick Cheney’s penchant for torture now grows and convolves with the dubious War on Iraq. While the Bush team is morally reprehensible for creating evidence to strike, it is not clear that lying to wage a war is actually illegal in the United States. We do know that torture is illegal — we signed the Geneva Convention. The Bush team must be breaking the law by ordering prisoners to the waterboard…
…except there is a contemporary controversey in the United States about whether or not waterboarding qualifies as torture…
What follows is not for polite company — it is a graphic description and analysis of waterboarding.
May 06 2009
Ladies and gentleman, if I may have your ear.
The DoJ is making noises like they will not prosecute the people who wrote the memos that “rationalized” using torture. (See Edger’s diary.) This is tragic because, with the exception of the high-ranking Bush officials who conspired to make these opinions the rule of law, the memo writers are the most complicit criminals on the list. They were the sleight-of-hand smiths who made the torture program possible. There are few involved who can approach the vulgarity that these lawyers attained.
We cannot take these prosecutions off the table and self-consistently seek justice.
May 03 2009
It is appropriate that time be measured
by the stark shadow cast by a stake in summer
or by the flow of water in the river
where Heraclitus saw time’s ironies
since, seen as time and fate, they are alike;
the movement of the mindless daytime shadow
and the irrevocable running on
of river water following its flow.
Just so, but time discovered in the deserts
another substance, smooth and of some weight,
that seemed to have been specifically imagined
for measuring out the ages of the dead.
And so appears this instrument of legend
in the engravings in the dictionary,
an object graying antiquarians
will banish to a dusty underworld
of things — a single chessman, a broadsword,
now lifeless, and a clouded telescope,
sandalwood word away by opium,
a world of dust, of chance, of nothingness.
May 02 2009
I’ve decided that I want to write about physics for a while…
I’ll get started by explaining my username. Well, the r and the b aren’t very exciting (they’re my initials), but the 137 represents a story about one of the fundamental constants in the universe: the Fine Structure Constant. The story, though, has to do with the way people tend to think about science.
Apr 30 2009
Tonight at 8:00 PDT, Heather (chacounne at Daily Kos) will participate with the Olympia Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 of Veterans For Peace in the radio show “On Wings of Peace”. This is a special monthy show produced by VFP in cooperation with “Free and Fair on the Air” with John Ford on KAOS. They will discuss torture.
KAOS is a community radio station affiliated with Evergreen State College.
You can find KAOS and Free and Fair on iTunes or stream directly from the radio station’s webpage through links on this page.
Please tune in!
Apr 28 2009
Torture apologists are shouting desperate arguments from the rooftops to justify their support for enhanced interrogation, and it is common to see people in liberal and progressive circles take a “no harm done” position regarding many of the techniques the US used on their political prisoners. Here, I want to discuss flaws in two common statements:
Myth 1: It isn’t torture if the technique is psychological.
Myth 2: It isn’t torture because our techniques have no long term effects.
If we want to fight pushback — if we want to make sure that our country does not torture again — we need to understand what is wrong with these memes. In particular, we need to understand the popularized fiction that was created by the people who tortured in your name.