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Showing posts from September 24, 2006

week of torture stories: day one

Picture showing S.S. Doctor Sigmund Rascher immersing prisoner at Buchenwald in Ice Water. The United States has now declared its intent to perform similar tortures. “To extort a confession this beast in human form did the following: He forced the prisoner to put his testicles first into a bowl of ice-cold water then into a bowl of almost boiling water. This procedure was repeated several times until the skin was inflamed and blistered. Then Sommer painted the testicles with iodince, causing excruciating pain. The corridor of the cellblock between the rows of cells was locked with a barred door. Sommer would place the head of a prisoner between the wall and the barred door, then he would slam the door with full force so that the head was crushed. In many cases Sommer suspended the prisoners with chains from the window bars, with their arms bend backward. Often he let the unfortunate victims hang in this painful position for three to four days. Then he threw a blanket over their heads a

who elected pol pot president?

LI has always hated the comparison between Hitler and Bush. It's ridiculous. With his success in legalizing torture, Bush is much more like Pol Pot. Here's a painting by Cambodian artist Vann Noth, which we copped from Andy Brouwer's site . Inspired by CT's site, which links to David Corn's site, showing what water torture is. Good idea. We live in a rogue state. We need to take it back. Bush is comfortable taking this country, which, with all its faults, kept lynching illegal for two hundred fifty years, and bringing it into the moral orbit of Idi Amin's Uganda, Pol Pot's Kampuchea, apartheid South Africa. Oh, what have you. I used to be against impeaching Bush, but now I am for something different -- a war crimes tribunal. It worked for Milosovic. I need to find some other water torture pics suitable for putting up on my side bar. This, by the way, is an anti-torture site.

paleolithic dreams

Often, to take our mind off unpaid bills and the unhallowed gov’mint, we will sit in a coffee shop – or in Whole Foods – and take out our little book and draw. We don’t draw chairs, or food, or coffee cups – we draw people. LI loves drawing people. Always has. Now, lately we’ve been reading a beautiful book about cave art for an upcoming review for the Austin Statesman. Reading it, we were struck like by 100 000 volts that during the Upper Paleolithic – that wonderful time when there were, max, 150 000 people in Europe, and life was good for around twenty thousand years - the cave artists generally didn’t draw or paint or engrave people. There were your stray vulvas, the masked bird man, many hand prints, but generally – no people. Instead, there were mammoths. There were lions. There were rhinos and horses. Oddly, much fewer reindeer, even though reindeer meat was the spam of the Paleolithic – it was always poached reindeer for breakfast, fricasseed reindeer for lunch, and reindeer pu

Iraq -- the reign (or is it rain) of shit

In February, 2004, the Secretary of War, Donald Rumsfeld, visited the Baghdad Police Academy and gave a truly inspiring speech to the recruits. According to the State Department release, he said, "I know that you're all volunteers. Each of you have raised your hand and said you want to help your country." In the distant future, he said, Iraqis will look back at the police during the current period, "and know in their hearts that what you've done is to help build a new Iraq, an Iraq that's free, an Iraq that's whole, an Iraq that's at peace, an Iraq that is a friend to its neighbors." Rumsfeld also thanked the academy instructors, many of whom came from countries making up the Coalition Provisional Authority. "They've come halfway around the world to be here with you and to work with you and I appreciate it and the American people appreciate it," he said. Then, in March of 2004, Reuters issued a news story that must have warmed many

Dick Cheney sits on my face -- and yours

Bagehot, in a study of Gladstone published in 1860, before Gladstone’s prime ministerships, said that the question was, would Gladstone ascend to the pinnacle of power, or would he simply go down in history as one of the great Parliamentarian orators without ever achieving power: “whether, below the gangway, he will utter unintelligible discourses; will aid in destroying many ministries and share in none; will pour forth during many hopeless years a bitter, a splendid, and a vituperative eloquence?” Which are the lines that occur to me after reading the excellent vivisection of Dick Cheney performed, last week, by Joan Didion in the NYRB . Didion remembers - she has been on this beat for thirty years now, a disillusioned Goldwater-ite watching from the sidelines as executive power and the D.C. Court system enlarged cancerously, casually destroying our individual liberties to service the greed (for everything) of an increasingly gated governing class. She observes the resistable rise of

Embrace the contradiction

Out of the bowels of our compassion, LI has some advice for the Dems running in this upcoming election. The Dems perennially run as cowards, and the Republicans as bullies. This is partly because the world is upside down. Dems feel that they have to sneak their support for programs that are actually widely popular – such as nationalized health care – while Republican testosterate about doing things that are widely unpopular – such as shrinking the government. In the event, the Reps expand the government every chance they get, while the Dems hunker down with K street’s finest insurance lobbyists. Given these inversions, if I were the Dems, I’d run against the war in Iraq under the slogan: “We won.” Or: “Mission accomplished.” Since the war was popular enough (wars, like blockbuster movies, start out popular among bored Americans), the Dem message should be that the Bush administration’s problem is ‘they won’t take yes for an answer.’ Say that last phrase in a pithy, husky way, just lik
"It's a very candid assessment," one intelligence official said yesterday of the estimate, the first formal examination of global terrorist trends written by the National Intelligence Council since the March 2003 invasion. "It's stating the obvious." – Washington Post To understand why an unnamed source would say, of an intelligence report, that it was “a very candid assessment” – as if it were an act of super-human courage for intelligence agencies, which are paid the big bucks, to 'state the obvious' – one has to understand the system in which the obvious is not stated. In that system, as LI has been cawing about, flattery holds a special place. Yesterday I threatened to quote some Hegel. Hegel very cleverly puts a certain kind of speech – Schmeichelei, flattery - at the center of the logical culmination of absolute monarchy. Hegel’s references are to the Court of Louis XIV, or so say his commentators. But LI is thinking of the court of King James