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Showing posts from June, 2017

Say No! to Torture: in Yemen and Everywhere

Take a close look at the illustration above. Imagine being stuffed in a tiny wooden box, and then poked at with needles through the holes in the side. You are defenseless. You probably don't speak English. Note the contraption on the right. That is a water board. You are strapped down to this board, head on the lower side, a cloth over your mouth and nose, while water is slowly poured over your face. For thirty to forty-five agonizing seconds, you cannot breathe, and you feel as if you are drowning. Look at a clock now for forty-five seconds, and try to imagine it.

These are just a few of the techniques designed and implemented by our government in the years after the 9/11 attacks. In a remarkable series of interviews now made public by The New York Times, the chief psychologists responsible for these brutal methods of interrogation speak about the process and their mindset through those terrible years. "Enhanced interrogation" is the euphemism; most people would just cal…

A Call to Eliminate Corporate Campaign Finance

The disastrous Supreme Court Case Citizens United has ballooned campaign spending in our country past already ludicrous levels. Corporations have been freed from restrictions in many areas of campaign finance; therefore, Super PACs and record amounts of cash have become the norm. Campaigns are often reduced to competing wars of attrition fought through expensive TV and internet ads that trade in hyperbole, distortion, and even lies. Often, groups from outside a contested area spend heavily to influence elections from Congress all the way down to school board. The Koch brothers and other notoriously shadowy groups have enacted long-term strategies carefully designed to take over, for example, state legislatures. North Carolina is a prime example, as the Kochs and their home-grown analogue Art Pope, along with powerful interests in agriculture, firearms, and other sectors, pump millions into the war chests of politicians, or affiliated PACs. The Republicans are now infamously reaping th…