You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Politics’ category.

Learning without Flinching from History

“The United States has been the imperial power of record on this planet since World War II. Lately, the economic and moral aspects of that power have waned, even as our military power remains supreme (though without being able to win anything whatsoever). That should tell you something about America. We’re still a “SmackDown” country, to borrow a term from professional wrestling, in a world that’s increasingly being smacked down anyway.

Harold Pinter, the British playwright, caught this country’s imperial spirit well in his Nobel Prize lecture in 2005. America, he said then, has committed crimes that “have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Anyone with a knowledge of our history knows that there was truth indeed in what Pinter said 15 years ago. He noticed how this country’s leaders wielded language “to keep thought at bay.” Like George Orwell before him, Pinter was at pains to use plain language about war, noting how the Americans and British had “brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call[ed] it bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.”

The point here was not simply to bash America. It was to get us to think about our actions in genuine historical terms. A decade and a half ago, Pinter threw down a challenge, and even if you disagreed with him, or maybe especially if you did so, you need the intellectual tools and command of the facts to grapple with that critique. It should never be enough simply to shout “USA! USA!” in an ever-louder fashion and hope it will drown out not only critics and dissenters but reality itself — and perhaps even your own secret doubts.

And we should have such doubts. We should be ready to dissent. We should recognize, as America’s current attorney general most distinctly does not, that dissenters are often the truest patriots of all, even if they are also often the loneliest ones. We should especially have doubts about a leader who threatens to bring violence against another country 1,000 times greater than anything that country could visit upon us.

I don’t need the Catholic Church, or even Christ in the New Testament, to tell me that such thinking is wrong in a Washington that now seems to be offering a carnivorous taste of what a future American autocracy could be like. I just need to recall the wise words of my Polish mother-in-law: “Have a heart, if you’ve got a heart.”

Have a heart, America. Reject American carnage in all its forms.”

The massive disparity between the social classes in the US make it difficult to find the equality as set down by their law, in their society.

“1. The United States, by the way, is fundamentally unjust. Even before the Trump Virus sparked a depression and corporate bailout that deepened inequality in the U.S., the three wealthiest Americans’ combined wealth already exceeded that of the nation’s bottom 50 percent. The top tenth of the upper U.S. One Percent already had a shared net worth greater than that of the nation’s bottom 90 percent and median Black household wealth amounted to 6 cents on the white median household dollar. The nation has long been riddled by massive, interrelated disparities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and power that make an abject mockery of its claim to represent democracy and equality before the law. Exhaustive empirical research shows that progressive majority public opinion is close to irrelevant in the making of “public” policy, which consistently reflects the preferences of the wealthy Few and their giant corporations and financial institutions. You can learn all about this from mainstream researchers and journalists who never identify with “ideologies such as Marxism” or acknowledge that significant socioeconomic disparity and top-down class rule are inherent to the profits system.”

 

The US would do well to start to manage the current distribution of wealth.  A country that is run for the benefit of a small elite is a society that is doomed to fail.

 

 

This is where ‘patriots’ and others accuse me of hating the West and America.

Good.

Our inflated sense of being the ‘good guys’ and on the right side of history shields us from the monstrous atrocities that have been and are being committed in our name.   The very truth of the matter is that there is no right side of history, only self interested actors on the state and individual level acting inhumanely toward those deemed to be the enemy.  The truth is that being tortured for in the name of democracy or dictatorship is quite irrelevant to those being put to the irons – the only take away is that torture can not be justified, not ever.

The history of US intervention in Central and South America is a history of coups, brutal repression, and torture.  One of the specialists sent to ‘teach the torture trade’ was Dan Mitrone, his legacy is written in the blood and lives of Left activists and innocents across Central and South America.

“The late US journalist and author A.J. Langguth credited US advisers led by Mitrione with introducing “scientific methods of torture” to Uruguay. These included psychological tortures like playing recordings of screaming women and children and telling prisoners it was their relatives being tortured, to more traditional torture techniques like electric shocks applied under the fingernails and to the genitals. According to Manuel Hevia Cosculluela, a Cuban double agent who infiltrated the CIA and spent years in the agency’s Montevideo station, Mitrione said that the key to successful interrogation was to apply “the precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount to achieve the desired effect.”

“A premature death means failure by the technician,” Mitrione told Hevia. “You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist.” Mitrione walked a very fine line between surgical and sadistic when he added: “When you get what you want, and I always, do, it may be good to prolong the session a little to apply another softening up, not to extract information now, but only as a political measure, to create a healthy fear.”

In order to build the perfect underground classroom in which to teach his Uruguayan students the tools and techniques of their torturous trade, Mitrione soundproofed the basement of his Montevideo home. He tested its integrity by blasting Hawaiian music or having an assistant fire a pistol from the room while he listened from different points outside the home. Hevia claimed it was there that Mitrione trained Uruguayan police to torture using “beggars from the outskirts of Montevideo,” a practice he honed to perfection while stationed in Brazil. “There was no interrogation, only a demonstration of the different voltages on the different parts of the human body,” said Hevia.

The Cuban claimed that Mitrione personally tortured four beggars to death in his bespoke dungeon. This fits a historical pattern: At the notorious US Army School of the Americas (SOA), then located in Panama, US doctors supervised torture classes in which homeless people were kidnapped from the streets of Panama City and used as human guinea pigs. According to one former SOA instructor interviewed in the award-winning documentary film Inside the School of the Assassins, “they would bring people in from the streets to the base, and the experts would train us on how to obtain information through torture… They had a US physician… who would teach the students… [about] the nerve endings of the body. He would show them where to torture, where and where not, where you wouldn’t kill the individual.”

This is not the practice of any nation that claims to value human rights.  Yet in death, a clinical, merciless torture teacher was celebrated:

“Back in the US, Dan Mitrione was hailed as a hero. White House spokesman Ron Ziegler lauded his “devoted service to the cause of peaceful progress” as “an example for free men everywhere,” calling him a man who “exemplified the highest principles of the police profession.” To his wife, he was the “perfect man.” His daughter called him “a great humanitarian.” Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis even staged a benefit concert for his grieving family — Mitrione had nine children — in his home town of Richmond, Indiana on August 29.”

Imagine if we could hear the incriminating shameful stories at the same volume as the triumphant patriotic tropes we are taught, we might able to begin the process of reclaiming our shared humanity.

 

Source: Counterpunch – Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione

 

 

 

   The upcoming election in the US, at least from a Canadian perspective, a bit lost in the deluge of media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The American Left business party has a chance to regain the White House, but Webb asks the question in his essay on Unherd, “What if the new American Left is — as the philosopher Richard Rorty put it, exhausted?”

 

“And, he argued, national pride in America is just what the American left had lost — and if that was true in 1998 it is true with knobs on in 2020: to quote the great philosopher, “a spectatorial, disgusted, mocking Left” understands the nation in a way that “leads them to step back from their country and, as they say, ‘theorize’ it. It leads them to … give cultural politics preference over real politics, and to mock the very idea that democratic institutions might once again be made to serve social justice.”
Suggested reading

Rorty, who died in 2007, was not an complete enemy of the new Left’s keenness on race and gender — he thought they had a point — but he knew that it would end in tears. He knew that identity politics would ditch the uncomfortable, sweaty-smelling folks in the unions, the welders and electricians and carpenters and that those (mainly white) men would in turn ditch the Democrats. And so it came to pass, and now we might be post-Rorty with no road back.

Does the American Left have what it takes to knit together the nation when its modern iteration so clearly dislikes so much about it? After the statues ,what else must fall? What other horrors must be uncovered? The jury is out, to put it mildly, on whether American atonement might be over soon or just beginning. If the question is between social solidarity or continued struggle, plenty of modern Democrats have had it with the former and are willing to embrace the latter.

They may or may not be right, or justified, but if America finds no comfort and no direction we will all suffer the consequences. There’s a lot riding on the Biden presidency, if it comes. For them, and, as ever, for us.”

The other problem I see is that Biden may want to return to the status quo which if one recalls – the permanent war economy, gilded age level of economic inequality, and predatory capitalism – isn’t exactly a noble cause.

Is anyone else getting the feeling that a  possible attempt to assassinate Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister, is being portrayed as sort of “meh” in the media? The front pages from the Globe and Mail, Global News, and the National Post.  Only Global has a story on it on the front page, and of course CBC is still with the story as I’m quoting their article for this post.

 

 

“Hurren allegedly drove his truck through the pedestrian gate at 1 Sussex Drive at around 6:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning, which stopped working on impact.
He then headed toward the ground’s greenhouse on foot with what appeared to be a firearm, stopping to hide in a rose garden for three minutes around 6:35 a.m., said Duheme.
Duheme said officers spotted Hurren at 6:43 a.m. and began talking with him two minutes later.
“It was only at 6:53 where the suspect responded and a dialogue ensued,” Duheme said.”

Good heavens, only in Canada do we talk down a possible assassin and ask him to please release himself into police custody.  I think if this incident happened a coupe of parallels of latitude to the south, a different more fatal outcome would have ensued.

 

“The RCMP did not answer questions about the note at this morning’s briefing, citing the ongoing investigation.When asked if police know Hurren’s motivation, Duheme said “yes” but would not go into details. The RCMP did say Hurren wasn’t known previously to police and was not on any watch lists.Hurren ran a business called GrindHouse Fine Foods, which makes meat products. In a Facebook post he reported that the novel coronavirus pandemic had taken a toll on his business.”I’m not sure what will be left of our economy, industries and businesses when this all ends,” he wrote May 26.CBC News Manitoba also reported that roughly an hour before Hurren entered the Rideau Hall grounds, a Facebook page associated with his business posted a meme of a big outdoor party that supposedly would occur after the lockdown.

The post also directs people to look up “Event 201″ — a worldwide pandemic preparedness exercise run last year that conspiracy theorists now use to suggest Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind COVID-19.”

Yep, armed and seemingly enthrall to conspiracy theories aaaaaand traipsing around Sussex Drive.  I hope our police are not handling the situation like the brother’s Andy from Hott Fuzz, but the media seems to be.

 

 

Or maybe dystopia…

This excerpt is from James Lindsey writing on his blog New Discourses.

Lindsey is very critical of one of the methods used to analyze our culture.  Apparently correctly identifying systemic racism, and how it flows through society is a bad thing.  Rather, we just need to do better and try harder with the current system and hope that one day we can reach a better place – cue unicorns and gleeful music – where society is just better.  (???)

Some of the criticisms Lindsey has can be directly applied to his own prescriptions which are vague and lacking in detail as to how to proceed to the state of having a better society:

“We need to listen; we need to investigate; and we need to use the best methods available to understand and fix the problem.” 

Yeah.  Okay.  So using the best methods available we can probably ascertain that having a police officer kneel on a person’s neck for several minutes isn’t conducive to that person continuing to live.  It would seem that this sort of treatment is disproportionately handed out to people that are not white.

So, using the best investigative tools at hand and all of our listening skills we should be able to parse out a reasonable solution to the problem in our liberal society? No?

Is telling minority populations, who are still being incarcerated and extra-judicially murdered at an alarming rate “just be patient, we’re working on it” a viable solution?  How many incidents of police discriminate police violence and the corresponding race riots do we need to get a ‘good data set’  to start fixing the disadvantages of being a colour other than white in society?

Go read the entire article – For me, the overall feeling came down to this – Okay, so critical race theory is pessimistic… buuuuut what do you offer to replace the way it exposes the very real and very deep fractures in our society?  Like we had Rodney King in 1992 and yet, here we be in 2020 with George Floyd; I’m not seeing anything close to the epoch changing liberal progress Lindsey so tepidly puts forward.   Rather, the status quo has been maintained and the system continues as it did before – systemic racism intact and going strong.

 

“We can do better than Critical Race Theory. We can do better than a sloppy “theoretical” approach that’s really about pushing divisive grievance politics into our society, one that treats people as props for the narrow politics that primarily, if not solely, benefit the elite grifters who know the Theory. Critical Race Theory advances them at everyone else’s expense. And we already know a lot of how to tackle these problems better than Critical Race Theory can. We already know how to be liberals, apply liberalism, judge by the content of character rather than anything to do with identity or color of skin. And we already know that liberal approaches are open to reform and improvement of the societies that employ them.

Sure, we need to listen better. When a black man, or anyone else, says “I can’t breathe,” people need to listen. When people say there are problems, we need to listen. We need to listen; we need to investigate; and we need to use the best methods available to understand and fix the problem. But we also need to see past race, not focus on it. We need to work together, talk together, adopt shared goals, hold shared vision, find shared identities. For those of us in a hurting America, we are all American. We all have a stake in this system and what it can provide, and we’ll all lose if we let these Critical Race Theory wannabe dictators tear it down or take over.

These approaches work. Working together, talking together, sharing goals together, sharing a common vision, finding common ground and common identities. We know they work. So, we should throw out the little tyrants who, with their academic theories, educational influence, and journalistic and political bully-pulpits, are going to tell our country that white people are the cause of everything bad and that black people they have to stay on script if they want to be black. We’re going to reject these race-baiting jerks and reject them just like they reject any honest attempt to help or understand. They are the problem, and their Theory is the problem. We can and will do better.”

Not convinced Mr.Lindsay.

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,618 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

A. Lien

Enjoy...

Thesseli

A topnotch WordPress.com site

I Won't Take It

Life After an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

VictimFocus Blog

Exploring best practice and research in sexual violence. A loud voice in the fight against victim blaming. Written and Managed by Psychologist and Best Selling Author Dr Jessica Taylor

Unpolished XX

No product, no face paint. I am enough.

Volunteer petunia

Observations and analysis on survival, love and struggle

femlab

the feminist exhibition space at the university of alberta

Raising Orlando

About gender, identity, parenting and containing multitudes

REAL for women

Reflecting Equality in Australian Legislation for women

The Feminist Kitanu

Spreading the dangerous disease of radical feminism

Double Plus Good

The Evolution Will Not BeTelevised

la scapigliata

writer, doctor, wearer of many hats

Teach The Change

Teaching Artist/ Progressive Educator

Female Personhood

Identifying as female since the dawn of time.

Radfem Resources | Radical Feminist Literature

A virtual library for those interested in radical feminist literature and resources.

Not The News in Briefs

A blog by Helen Saxby

SOLIDARITY WITH HELEN STEEL

A blog in support of Helen Steel

thenationalsentinel.wordpress.com/

Blasting through Left-wing BS with truth bombs

BigBooButch

Memoirs of a Butch Lesbian

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Fighting For Female Liberation from Patriarchy

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Easilyriled's Blog

cranky. joyful. radical. funny. feminist.

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Gender is the Problem, Not the Solution

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

%d bloggers like this: