NY Times: U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes.
“The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been ‘the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.’” Bush/Cheney will argue the ends justified the means; the ends are debatable — the means are not. Cracking open the Pandora’s box of torture built momentum behind ever-escalating techniques and the legal-wrangling to cover them. [Some would call it slippery slope; I say momentum. Once you get going, it’s hard to stop.].
Boston redux: Deep in my breast a fire, a burning flame.
Dozens give you Mr Rogers. I give you Walt Whitman.
An old man bending, I come, among new faces,
Years looking backward, resuming, in answer to children,
Come tell us, old man, as from young men and maidens that love me;
Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these chances,
Of unsurpass’d heroes, (was one side so brave? the other was equally brave;
Now be witness again — paint the mightiest armies of earth;
Of those armies so rapid, so wondrous, what saw you to tell us?
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,
Of hard-fought engagements, or sieges tremendous, what deepest remains?
O maidens and young men I love, and that love me,
What you ask of my days, those the strangest and sudden your talking recalls;
Soldier alert I arrive, after a long march, cover’d with sweat and dust;
In the nick of time I come, plunge in the fight, loudly shout in the rush of successful
Enter the captur’d works… yet lo! like a swift-running river, they fade;
Pass and are gone, they fade — I dwell not on soldiers’ perils or soldiers’ joys;
(Both I remember well — many the hardships, few the joys, yet I was content.)
But in silence, in dreams’ projections,
While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,
So soon what is over forgotten, and waves wash the imprints off the sand,
In nature’s reverie sad, with hinged knees returning, I enter the doors — (while for you
Whoever you are, follow me without noise, and be of strong heart.)
Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground, after the battle brought in;
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground;
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital;
To the long rows of cots, up and down, each side, I return;
To each and all, one after another, I draw near — not one do I miss;
An attendant follows, holding a tray — he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied and fill’d again.
I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand, to dress wounds;
I am firm with each — the pangs are sharp, yet unavoidable;
One turns to me his appealing eyes — (poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.)
On, on I go! — (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)
The crush’d head I dress, (poor crazed hand, tear not the bandage away;)
The neck of the cavalry-man, with the bullet through and through, I examine;
Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard;
(Come, sweet death! be persuaded, O beautiful death! In mercy come quickly.)
From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood;
Back on his pillow the soldier bends, with curv’d neck, and side-falling head;
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, (he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet look’d on it.)
I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep;
But a day or two more — for see, the frame all wasted already, and sinking,
And the yellow-blue countenance see.
I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the bullet wound,
Cleanse the one with a gnawing and putrid gangrene, so sickening, so offensive,
While the attendant stands behind aside me, holding the tray and pail.
I am faithful, I do not give out;
The fractur’d thigh, the knee, the wound in the abdomen,
These and more I dress with impassive hand — (yet deep in my breast a fire, a burning
Thus in silence, in dreams’ projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand, I sit by the restless all the dark
night — some are so young;
Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad;
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
Atlantic: Myth of Low-Tax America — Why Americans Aren’t Getting Their Money’s Worth.
“But in most of the rest of the developed world these dilemmas have been more or less settled, and with a different outcome. For the most part, people don’t view taxes as collectivism steamrolling over the individual. Rather, taxes are viewed as a kind of membership dues that self-interested individuals pay to be in a club from which they all mutually benefit.”
The Christian Left Blog: What’s Real About the Rapture?
ArtDaily: Robert Redford condemns tribal mask sale as ‘sacrilege’.
“But while the sale of sacred Indian artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990—legislation which has allowed the tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past—the law does not extend to sales overseas. The auction house, however, has said there are no grounds to halt the sale, stressing that the items being sold were acquired legally by a French collector during a 30-year residence in the United States.” I suspect there’s no real legal barrier to the sale other than a moral one. One could argue that the 1990 law was being circumvented, I suppose, if one could prove premeditation. A terrible shame if this goes through. All American native tribes could use more of their original artifacts to perpetuate and maintain their cultures.
Later: They’ve been sold. Sadly, I can’t show you the whole article here, because of the New Mexican’s new paywall. Some of you will see it, others won’t.
Baghdad Burning (Riverbendblog) is back.
If you hadn’t seen it elsewhere.
National Post: North Korea’s Conventional Forces visualized.
Makes you wonder that they have enough room left for citizens, much less farming capacity. They still have single-engine biplanes in the mix. I shouldn’t joke — Chad beat back Libya by simply using Toyota pickup trucks. Look up Toyota War.
NakedCap: Obama Moves Forward w/Cutting Social Security and Medicare while we lecture EU.
“Kos waded in yesterday and in all seriousness wrote, ‘I can’t imagine President Barack Obama actually wants to cut Social Security. I’m not that cynical.’ I don’t even have to shred it. Go read his comments section. His readers cite chapter, book and verse the overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what Obama wants to do.” #$@$@#%$^@^@$.
NPR: Will You Be Chained To A Smaller Check In Retirement?
“Would the chained CPI measure only be used to cut benefits? No, it could be used to boost revenues as well.” Ah.
NakedCap: Obama’s Benefit-Cuts Budget Takes More from Seniors than from the Wealthy.
“Social Security is about 70 percent of the income of a typical retiree. Since President Obama’s proposal would lead to a 3 percent cut in Social Security benefits, it would reduce the income of the typical retiree by more than 2.0 percent, more than three times the size of the hit from the tax increase to the wealthy.” The pullquote is sourced from Dean Baker, embedded within the article.
NY Times: The Secrets of Princeton.
“That the actual practice of meritocracy mostly involves a strenuous quest to avoid any kind of downward mobility, for oneself or for one’s kids, is something every upper-class American understands deep in his or her highly educated bones.” *Ahem*. For Princeton University; the greater town was (was) working class. Today? Not so much. My childhood home recently sold for $1M.
The People’s Record: US law says no ‘oil’ spilled in Arkansas.
Old laws, old exemptions. Similar to the problem we have here in the West, with the nearly-Jurassic [hyperbole, people] Mining Law of 1872. Extraction companies get carte blanche while residents get the wonderful opportunity of paying for the wear and tear on infrastructure, the extensive cleanup … and the medical bills.
SF New Mexican: Hopis seek return of katsinas up for auction.
“Culturally, we made it clear that there’s no price tag on our ceremonial and religious objects. [snip] That’s pretty much out of the question.” So much was taken, destroyed … oral traditions diluted. Native Americans need to get as much of their original cultural material as possible.
TG’s Political Wire: GOP Lawmaker Refers to Latinos Using Racial Slur.
May fly in Texas and Arizona, but not so much elsewhere. Example of Republican ‘minority outreach’?
Salon: Social conservatives ready to turn on John Roberts.
One always hopes that those in power prefer to hear the siren-song of posterity, rather than the howls from the rank and file.
The Nation: Media ‘Cover-up’ of Iraq War: Images Sanitized from the Start.
The reason why international news sources should be in your RSS feed readers.
naked capitalism: Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy.
“The Constitution protected wealthy slavers, awarding them extra votes so they could insure control in their home states.” Correction, go wider. White male property owners. Sound familiar? That’s the beginning of your oligarchy. I like this article — as a rough draft. Could be so much better.
The Atlantic: Disability Insurance— America’s Secret Welfare Program, Pt. II.
“Right now, the disability trust fund is slated to go insolvent by 2016.” I missed part one, so I’ll have to read that first before (or if) constructing a reasonable comment. Still worth the read.
Discover Mag: The inevitability of eugenics … as preventative health.
Guardian.UK: Richard III’s distant relatives threaten legal challenge over burial.
“There is no obligation to consult living relatives where remains are older than 100 years.” Popular opinion’s gonna have a difficult time with that contention.
openDemocracy: Iraq—ten years of hubris and incompetence.
“To put it simply: it would be folly to expect the same group of people who have been leading the country to ruin to suddenly reach a point of enlightenment and agree to a new constitution. Their priority is not to provide assistance to the poor, to protect women from oppression, to reconcile the country, but to find a way to monopolise power.” Nothing new in the state of Denmark — or Iraq. Or the U.S. Via Foreign Policy.
Carslbad Current-Argus: Thieves get to fatal crash before police; victim’s tires, rims removed.
The Atlantic: An $800 Billion War—The Immense Cost of Invading Iraq, in Charts.
“One can try to argue that toppling Saddam was worth the cost in lives and in money. But now that we’ve entered the age of fiscal austerity, we need to remember for the future: there is no such thing as waging a war of occupation on the cheap.”
CNN Opinion: In Steubenville, why didn’t other girls help?
“This week, two teenage boys were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old classmate while she was apparently drunk and passed out during a night of parties last August. Everyone who was there and said nothing that night was complicit; if we want to prevent another Steubenville, the role of other girls must also be considered.” Parts of Western PA can be terribly, shockingly 50’s-ish in mentality. Some kids never get more than 20 miles from their hometown in their lives before they go to college—and then all hell breaks loose. Many kids I knew were practically foaming out the ears with unexpressed anarchy over their parochial upbringing. (I went to college aways north of Pittsburgh for a semester.)
NationalJournal: Why the Trader Joe’s Model Benefits Workers—And the Bottom-Line.
“The average American cashier makes $20,230 a year, which in a single-earner household would leave a family of four living under the poverty line. But if he works the cash registers at QuikTrip, it’s an entirely different story. The convenience store and gas station chain offers entry-level employees an annual salary of around $40,000, plus benefits. Those high wages didn’t stop QuikTrip from prospering in a hostile economic climate.” This is related to what we saw here with the living wage in Santa Fe. Poorly-run businesses went under, while properly-run businesses stayed the course.