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The debacle that is going on down in Wisconsin is enough to make a person ill. The Daily Show comes through to show how tainted the corporate media actually is and how egregiously the population is affected by corporate propaganda.

In Canada watch the clip here.

In the US and possible elsewhere go here.

How do you fix the budget? Attack the poor and middle class. It is a message that never loses traction.

Justice, like our society, is stratified.  The type and response of the legal system depends very much on what class you are in and who you have managed to piss off.

“Bradley Manning is accused of humiliating the political establishment by revealing the complicity of top US officials in carrying out and covering up war crimes. In return for his act of conscience, the US government is torturing him, humiliating him and trying to keep him behind bars for life.

The lesson is clear, and soldiers take note: You’re better off committing a war crime than exposing one.

An Army intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, the 23-year-old Manning – outraged at what he saw – allegedly leaked tens of thousands of State Department cables to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. These cables – cables that show US officials covering up everything from child rape in Afghanistan to an illegal, unauthorised bombing in Yemen.

Manning is also accused of leaking video evidence of US pilots gunning down more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists – and then killing a man who stopped to help them. The two young children of the passerby were also severely wounded.

“Well, it’s their fault for bringing kids into a battle,” a not-terribly-remorseful US pilot can be heard remarking in the July 2007 “Collateral Murder” video.”

Being the one small citizen has distinct disadvantages when attempting to do what is ethically correct.  Bradley Manning is being punished for exposing his state’s wrongdoings to the public.  Raping children and illegally bombing nations gives Uncle Sam a black eye and for the bad PR Mr.Manning has to pay.  Consider those responsible for the actions, what justice are they being dispensed?  The wrathful vengeance that Mr.Manning is enduring?  Hardly.

“None of the soldiers who carried out that war crime [the collateral murder video] have been punished, nor have any of the high-ranking officials who authorised it. And that’s par for the course. Indeed, committing war crimes is more likely to get a soldier a medal than a prison term. And authorising them? Well, that’ll get you a book deal and a six-digit speaking fee. Just ask George W Bush. Or Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice. Or the inexplicably “respectable” Colin Powell.

In fact, the record indicates Manning would today be far better off if he’d killed those men in Baghdad himself – and on the lecture circuit, rather than in solitary confinement.”

The funny thing is that we accept this as normal and mundane.  The idea that the elite could be held responsible for their decisions is quite absurd, observe the justification:

“Almost five years later, not one of the men involved in the incident is behind bars. And despite an Army investigation revealing that statements made by the chain of command suggest they “believe Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as US lives”, with the murder of brown-skinned innocents considered “just the cost of doing business” – a direct quote from Maj Gen Eldon Bargewell’s 2006 investigation into the killings – none of their superiors are behind bars either.”

Yeppers, I’m glad I’m on the side of Justice and Accountability… meanwhile back in prison hell Mr.Manning continues to rot.

“Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided to make Manning’s pre-trial existence as torturous as possible, holding him in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day since his arrested ten months ago – treatment which Psychologists for Social Responsibility notes is, “at the very least, a form of cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment in violation of US law”.

In addition to the horror of long-term solitary confinement, Manning is barred from exercising in his cell and is denied bed sheets or a pillow. And every five minutes, he must respond in the affirmative when asked by a guard if he’s “okay”.

Presumably he lies.

It gets worse. On his blog, Manning’s military lawyer, Lt Col David Coombs, reveals his client is now stripped of his clothing at night, left naked under careful surveillance for seven hours, and, when the 5:00am wake-up call comes, he’s then “forced to stand naked at the front of the cell”.

I’m sure Mr.Manning is embracing ‘hope & change’ wholeheartedly. This leads to a very interesting parallel with the Nixon governement.

“Remember back when Obama campaigned against such Bush-league torture tactics? Recall when candidate Obama said “government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal”? It appears his opposition to torture and support for whistleblowers was mere rhetoric. And then he took office.

Indeed, despite the grand promises and soaring oratory, Obama’s treatment of Manning is starkly reminiscent of none other than Richard Nixon.

Like Obama – who has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any president in history – Nixon had no sympathy for “snitches”, and no interest in the US public learning the truth about their government. And he likewise argued that Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, had given “aid and comfort to the enemy” for revealing the facts about the war in Vietnam.

But there’s a difference. Richard Nixon never had the heroic whistleblower of his day thrown in solitary confinement and tortured. If only the same could be said for Barack Obama.”

I’m thinking that electing the best of the worst strategy is not really paying of for the citizens of the United States.  I think that they need to find an independent candidate and throw the support of the people behind him or her because the Democrats and Republicans have nothing more than contempt and scorn to offer to the people of America.

Human beings are social creatures.  We are hardwired to seek and engage in contact with others of our species.  In our hectic lives though it might be easy to dismiss the idea of being alone as punishment.  Solitary confinement is a very harsh punishment, and as most punitive measures, tends to provide less than desirable outcomes for people exposed to it.  It is ineffective, yet endemic in the the United States (one can extrapolate to Canada as well).

“The spectre of Bradley Manning lying naked and alone in a tiny cell at the Quantico Marine Base, less than 50 miles from Washington, DC, conjures up images of an American Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, where isolation and deprivation have been raised to the level of torture.

In fact, the accused Wikileaker, now in his tenth month of solitary confinement, is far from alone in his plight. Every day in the US, tens of thousands of prisoners languish in “the hole”.”

Ten months alone?  Of course it is “for his own protection”.  More on Mr.Manning tomorrow.

“A few of them [held in solitary] are prison murderers or rapists who present a threat to others. Far more have committed minor disciplinary infractions within prison or otherwise run afoul of corrections staff. Many of them suffer from mental illness, and are isolated for want of needed treatment; others are children, segregated for their own “protection”; a growing number are elderly and have spent half their lives or more in utter solitude.

No one knows for sure what their true numbers are. Many states, as well as the federal government, flatly declare that solitary confinement does not exist in their prison systems. As for their euphemistically named “Secure Housing Units” or “Special Management Units”, most states do not report occupancy data, nor do wardens report on the inmates sent to “administrative segregation”.

People do not get “fixed” or better when isolated.  The trajectory is almost always downward.

“By common estimate, more than 20,000 inmates are held in supermax prisons, which by definition isolate their prisoners. Perhaps 50,000 to 80,000 more are in solitary confinement on any given day in other prisons and local jails, many of them within sight of communities where Americans go about their everyday lives.

Over the past 30 years, their numbers have increased even faster than the US’ explosive incarceration rate; between 1995 and 2000, the growth rate for prisoners housed in isolation was 40 per cent, as compared to 28 per cent for the prison population in general, according to Human Rights Watch.

Likewise, no one can state with any consistency what these prisoners have done to warrant being placed in solitary confinement or what their isolation is supposed to accomplish.”

Pernicious and arbitrary.  The correctional system seems to be doing a very bad job of managing the people it is responsible for.  Extra bad for you if you happen to have a mental illness while incarcerated:

“At the all-solitary Colorado State Penitentiary, Troy Anderson has spent the last 10 years in isolation, never seeing the sun or the surrounding mountains, due to acting out on the symptoms of untreated mental illness.

Anderson has been diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, anti-social personality disorder, cognitive disorders, a seizure disorder and polysubstance dependence, and he has attempted suicide many times, starting at the age of 10.

His mental health treatment in prison has consisted largely of intermittent and inappropriate medications and scant therapy, most of it conducted through a slot in his solid steel cell door. By Colorado’s own estimate, 37 per cent of the prisoners in its isolation units are mentally ill.”

Just one case, but how many more people are in similar positions?  There must be many a dark day when the only treatment available is more isolation.   It gets better if you are deemed a suicide risk.

“What conditions await these prisoners consigned to solitary for months, years or decades? A typical supermax cell runs about 2 x 3 metres and contains a toilet and sink, a slab of poured concrete for a bed and another slab for a desk.

Occupants may get a brief shower a couple of times a week and a chance to exercise in what looks like the run of a dog kennel three days a week. Food is shoved through a slot in the door. They get perhaps one phone call a month and an occasional visit, through a barrier, with an approved list of family and friends. They can select a book every so often from an approved list. On occasion, a TV inside or outside the cell blares programming at them, often of a religious nature.

If they are deemed to have misbehaved in some way they may be deprived of exercise, books or visits; if deemed a suicide risk, they can have their blankets and even their clothing removed. In one Louisiana parish prison last year, suicidal inmates were found being locked, alone and often naked, in so-called “squirrel cages” measuring 1 x 1 metre; one-fourth of the locally mandated size for caged dogs.

Wilbert Rideau, a renowned prison journalist (and now a free man), describes in his recent memoir In the Place of Justice the “bone-cold loneliness” of life in solitary confinement on Angola’s death row.

He describes solidarity as being: “Removed from family or anything resembling a friend, and just being there, with no purpose or meaning to my life, cramped in a cage smaller than an American bathroom. The lonesomeness was only increased by the constant cacophony of men in adjacent cells hurling shouted insults, curses, and arguments – not to mention the occasional urine or faeces concoction. Deprivation of both physical exercise and meaningful social interaction were so severe … that some men went mad while others feigned lunacy in order to get transferred to the hospital for the criminally insane.”

Europe as usual is ahead of the curve as they see solitary confinement as inhumane.

“In Europe, solitary confinement has largely been abandoned, and it is widely viewed as a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of international human rights conventions.

Recently, four British nationals who face terrorism charges successfully delayed their extradition to the US by arguing in the European Court of Human Rights that they would face life in a federal supermax prison.”

The news is not all so bad, there are few progressive currents in the US.

“In Colorado, which holds more than 1,500 prisoners in long-term isolation, a bill was recently introduced in the state legislature to curb the use of solitary.

The legislation would significantly limit the isolation of prisoners with mental illness or developmental disabilities, and would demand that prisoners be reintegrated into the general prison population before their release. In addition, it emphasises what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – which is strongly supporting the bill – called “the staggering cost of using solitary confinement, rather than mental or behavioural health alternatives, as the default placement without regard to medical needs, institutional security or prisoner and public safety”.

Wow, using what we know about psychology and people to make prison life more humane.  Quite a concept indeed.

I wonder who qualifies for or what calculus is used to determine who is entitled to civil rights and who is not?

Certainly, the label “terrorist” is the great borax of civil liberty removal because obviously you become sub human once said label is applied.   Witness the reluctance in the US, that great city shining on the hill we all aspire to, to shut down the services of Guantanamo Bay where people are being held without due process.   Liberal Viewer from you tube adds more light to the subject using, of course, the Daily Show to bring the issue into sharp relief.  It is disquieting to see the demure acquiescence of the major news media in the land of the free, and it must be a comedy satire show that sounds the clarion call on such important issues.

 

Faced with debating the scientifically ignorant, one needs only to resort to the facts of the situation to settle an argument, especially with Creationists who seem to have their own special versions of Cosmology and Physics that do not exist outside the realm of their imaginations.

As per wikipedia:  The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature. The second law declares the impossibility of machines that generate usable energy from the abundant internal energy of nature by processes called perpetual motion of the second kind.

How people think that they can make a coherent argument based on this law (or misrepresentation of said law) is beyond me; but, as the video below clearly shows for others, it is a mere walk in the delusional park.

Where we are…

Where I want to be…

*sigh*

 

Holy gangbusters of a double bill Batman!  The world ending and international Draw Mohammad day all rolled into one?  It will be an extravaganza of ridicule against the forces of delusion and, as usual, another victory for the rational.

 

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