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The Beat Goes On: Torture, Tasers and American Tradition

Another day, another citizen killed by a police Taser. From the SF Chronicle: A man in his 20s died after a struggle with San Jose police during which he was jolted with a Taser, police said Thursday. The man, whose name was not immediately released, died in the backyard of a home on the 2200 block of Amador Drive in east San Jose after being jolted with the stun gun, said Officer Enrique Garcia. Police had chased him there after trying to detain him a short distance away. They jolted him after a violent struggle in which they also clubbed

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Talking Cure: Radio Burlesque

To borrow the useful construction of As’ad AbuKhalil: for those who care and do not care, I can be heard mumbling through a tin can from across the sea to Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio. It’s Empire Burlesque live (on tape) with a sinus infection! How could you pass that up? You can find it here. And if that don’t grab you, here’s some more political commentary: And if you’re still not satisfied, then let’s get down to the very bedrock here, to the thing itself:

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Getting the Goat: A Bipartisan Proposal on Torture

Jason Leopold has the low-down on some more smoking guns proving the highest level involvement in some of the basest tortures in the American gulag. In this case, we have more documentary evidence, gathered by the Pentagon’s own investigators, linking former Pentagon honcho Donald Rumsfeld – the preppy pipsqueak who nosed his way through blood and filth for decades at the center of the American power structure – to the criminal abuse and murder of several prisoners by government goons who were following Rummy’s “Special Interrogation Plan.” As Leopold reports: Those documents which span thousands of pages include: * Investigation

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A Reader Writes

Glenn Greenwald stopped by here to leave a comment on our last post, “Shock Absorbers: Progressives Stunned by Obama Non-Surprises,” which cited one of his recent posts. Glenn writes: What’s your basis for accusing me of being surprised, let alone shocked, let alone “deeply shocked” at the Obama administration’s conduct? I doubt you have any such basis, because the claim is totally false. To criticize X is not to express surprise about X. You write on a virtually weekly basis condemning America’s imperial aggression. Is it fair to conclude that each time you write about it, you’re “surprised” and “shocked”

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Shock Absorbers: Progressives Stunned by Obama Non-Surprises

There is certainly a great deal of slack-jawed shock going around these days, especially in progressive circles, where pundits, commentators, analysts and kibitzers continually find themselves reeling from yet another “inexplicable” move by the Obama Administration to uphold the core principles of their predecessors: enriching the rich, extending the empire, and enhancing the authoritarian power of a thoroughly militarized state. For example, Glenn Greenwald and Scott Horton at Harper’s (among many others) are deeply shocked by Team Obama’s draconian maneuvers to quash a court case based on clear, abundant and credible evidence that American security forces — and their corporate

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Tribal Authorities: Handing It Off to the Leader

Arthur Silber has just posted another installment of his important series on “Tribalism.” In these vital essays, Silber is examining some of the underlying causes – and most dangerous expressions – of the unthinking, reflexive and delusional loyalties that bind us in fearful obedience to the groupthink of the various tribes with which we identify ourselves: national, religious, ideological, political, ethnic, sexual, social and so on. The essays draw on detailed examples to illuminate general principles – principles which are themselves nuanced, dynamic and observational, not dogmatic. They will richly repay a full reading. By fortuitous coincidence, the Guardian today

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Life In These Here United States

Want to know how the militarist empire really works, down in its corroded guts? Then read this from the Miami New Times: Armed Again: Indicted Miami Beach weapons dealer Efraim Diveroli is still making millions of dollars from the U.S. government. Want to see how Barack Obama is going to escalate George W. Bush’s “faith-based initiatives,” increasing the amount of tax money going to religious groups – while refusing to categorically prevent them from discriminating against infidels and heretics while they pocket public cash? Then read this from Arthur Silber: No, No: My Armageddon Fantasies Are the Best! Want to

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Shooting Star

A belated tribute to a fallen star, from another smalltown boy who saw him three nights before he died. The only connection I have to Buddy Holly is that one night, more than thirty years ago, a girl turned to me in the darkness and said, “You have ‘true love ways,’ just like that song. You have that.” It wasn’t true, alas; and now she’s dead, alas. But like the man said: Love is love and not fade away.

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Protection Racket Redux: A Response From Ken Gude

In the update to a post earlier today (See Protection Racket: Obama Gets Tough to Shield Bush Torturers], I took Ken Gude to task for his column in the Guardian which I took to be a defense of the Obama Administration’s action in pressuring a UK court to quash credible evidence of torture at Guantanamo Bay. Ken asked to respond to my piece — and we are happy to oblige. Here’s his reply, and my rejoinder. A RESPONSE FROM KEN GUDE:Emotions clearly and understandably run high when discussing the morally bankrupt and functionally disastrous Bush administration policies of torture, detention,

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Protection Racket: Obama Gets Tough to Shield Bush Torturers

(UPDATED BELOW.) How many times do you have to see it? How many times must it be shoved in your face, crammed down your throat, brought down on your head like a ton of bricks, before you get the picture? When it comes to the lineaments and methods of empire — war, murder, torture, extortion, and deceit — there is no difference, none whatsoever, between the hip, cool “progressives” in Team Obama and the gaggle of militarist goons who preceded them. The comely mask of the new regime was torn away — once again — in a scandal that exploded

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