"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." -- James Madison - (1751-1836)

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. " :
Ayn Rand in "The Nature of Government"

"Throughout history there have been tyrants and murderers. And for a while they seem invincible, but always they fall. Always."-Mahatma Gandhi

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings: Helen Keller

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is , more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime ; he is a good citizen driven to despair.--H.L Mencken

"When even one American-who has done nothing wrong-is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth-then all Americans are in peril" Harry S. Truman

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed: Ayn Rand - (1905-1982) Author - Source: Atlas Shrugged, Francisco's "Money Speech"

"Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband -- it creeps up insidiously...step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone." ~ Baron Lane

U.S. Constitution - R.I.P.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Bush Legacy: Journey to the Dark Side

As a people, we Americans have not faintly come to grips with how centrally the Bush Administration has planted certain practices in our midst--at the very heart of governmental practice, of the news, of everyday life. Many of these practices were not in themselves creations of this administration. For instance, the practice of kidnapping abroad --"rendition"--began at least in the Clinton era, if not earlier. Waterboarding, a medieval torture, was first practiced by American troops in the Philippine insurrection at the dawn of the previous century. (It was then known as "the water cure.")

Torture of various sorts was widely used in CIA interrogation centers in Vietnam in the 1960s. Back in that era, the CIA also ran its own airline, Air America, rather than just leasing planes for its torture capers from various corporate entities through front businesses. Abu Ghraib-style torture and abuse, pioneered by the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s, was taught and used by American military, CIA, and police officials in Latin America from the 1960s into the 1980s. If you doubt any of this, just check out Alfred McCoy's still shocking book, A Question of Torture. Even offshore secret CIA prisons aren't a unique creation of the Bush Administration. According to Tim Weiner in his new history of the Central Intelligence Agency, Legacy of Ashes, in the 1950s the Agency had three of them--in Japan, Germany and the Panama Canal Zone--where they brought double agents of questionable loyalty for "secret experiments" in harsh interrogation, "using techniques on the edge of torture, drug-induced mind control, and brainwashing."

And yet, don't for a second think that nothing has changed. Part of the Bush legacy lies in a new ethos in this country. In my childhood in the 1950s, for example, we knew just who the torturers were. We saw them in the movies. They were the sadistic Japanese in their prison camps, the Gestapo in their prisons, and the Soviet Secret police, the KGB, in their gulags (even if that name hadn't yet entered our world). As the President now says at every opportunity, and as we then knew, Americans did not torture.

Today, and it's a measure of our changing American world, a child turning on the TV serial 24dotermed a "no-brainer," a "dunk in the water" in the torture chamber. There is no deniability left in the movies --and little enough of it in real life. or heading for the nearest hot, new action flick at the local multiplex knows that Americans torture and that torture, once the cultural province of our most evil enemies, is now a practice that is 100 percent all-American and perfectly justifiable (normally by the ticking-bomb scenario). And few even blink. In lockdown America, it computes. The snarl at the border fits well enough with what our Vice President has
termed a "no-brainer," a "dunk in the water" in the torture chamber. There is no deniability left in the movies --and little enough of it in real life.

For those who thought true bi-partisanship was a impossible, our descent into fascism is surely a model of seamless cooperation between the repuglinazis and demofascists capable of convincing the most stubborn skeptic. The rest of the article is well worth your time...just hit the link in the title.

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The Militarization of Our Police