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Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category

superbushI spent Monday watching the 2003 documentary Control Room, then read a mess of online farewells to George Bush. This one comes closest to what’s inside my own heart: May the Road Rise to Meet You in the Face, You Treasonous Son of a Bitch.

Contrary to the arguments made by your defenders, I didn’t root for you to fail. I never did. I greeted your installment by the Supreme Court with exhaustion and resignation, and your first few months in office with general skepticism, but I never thought, “Boy, I hope he just falls on his face and kills a lot of people and wrecks our economy and blows holes in the sand for five years.” I thought, “Maybe it’ll be okay. Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

And when 9/11 happened I said to myself and those around me, Democrats all, “Well, let’s see what he does now.” My life has not been devoid of stories about unlikely heroes arising from feckless halfwit princelings, so I was prepared for that to happen. Hopeful, even. Who doesn’t want everything to be okay? Who doesn’t recognize that you being a terrible failure would hurt us far more than it would hurt you?

I wish you had done the job. I wish you had found and tried and executed Osama bin Laden, and rebuilt Afghanistan the way we should have decades ago. I wish you had given us real security, not this dance of removing our shoes and putting lotion in a baggie. I wish you had told us to conserve and sacrifice, not spend and eat. I wish you had listened to those in the armed forces and those in Congress and those on the street when they said, don’t invade Iraq. I wish you had listened to Iraqis, afterwards, when they said, help us stop the looting and violence.

I wish you had listened to the Gulf Coast’s people when they called out for help. I wish you had listened to the sick and their doctors when they asked you to grant research to cure their disesases. I wish you had listened to women when we said, we value our autonomy.

I wish you had listened to us all when we said we are more than this, we are better than this, ask us and there’s nothing we won’t give you. I wish you had had faith in us equal to that which we placed in you. And I wish you had been worthy of what we wanted from you, and from ourselves.

I wish you had done and been all of this, but you didn’t and you weren’t, and so what we’re left with are the memories of the dead, the horrors of the living, with boarded-up houses and empty streets, a place so broken we barely recognize it anymore. It’s hard to imagine punishment fitting for that. It’s hard, having wished all this for you, to wish anything more, but I do:

May you live a life of quiet contemplation of every single one of your failures. May you live a life hemmed in by those you hurt, in a cell physical or otherwise, papered with the faces of your dead. May you be  sheltered from the rain of rotten tomatoes and sour heads of cabbage by a small, broken umbrella. May you be gnawed upon by the hunger you fostered in the poor, chilled by the cold from which you refused to shield the homeless, beset by the illnesses you refused to help cure, subjected to the indignities you inflicted upon others.

May your life be long, and healthy, and full of everything you gave to America and the world. May you come to know exactly who you are. May you come to recognize the face in the mirror each morning.

May it give to you a fraction of the nightmares you deserve.

No love at all,

A

More at the link and worth twice the time to read it once.

Eight years of international decline and what’s been lost may never be recovered. 

On my bookshelf, a small sample of elucidating prose that need never have been written:

The Dark Side

The Forever War

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

In the Shadow of No Towers

Conservatives Without Conscience

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics and Religion

Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President

bushmonster8sv

Two Images that sum up this administration:

bush-cheney-blank-check

baby-shoot-w

And while he was doing this:

bushenduringvacation4tn2

Our elected president flew a team of doctors into New Orleans and took complete control of the mission —  exhausted, pissed, and declining media coverage for fear it would be “politicized.”

gore

I won’t belabor what’s shaping up as the worst legacy ever, a slimeball trail future administrations will be cleaning up for life, no, enough buzz-killing. In the space of one day the tears this country flows will be of far sweeter quality, and for once I cannot wait for the speechifying to begin. Meanwhile read this smackdown of the uncomprehending winger outcry concerning our inaugural poet, Countdown to PORN and go forward laughing, citizen.

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I often wonder what it will look like to reach the point of not just surviving my misfortunes but being simply and profoundly grateful for every single thing that has ever happened to me. And why people who want things like that are so perplexing to those who don’t. Those who wonder, in their golden ways what’s so funny about gallows humor, the sole comfort of those who’ve escaped the hangman and an affront to those who have no knowledge of his existence.

Welp, there it is, in black & white, no less.

Thanks

by W.S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

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This summer it’s been living on the Outskirts of the Intranets since I found my library card, but have to mention a new toy making the scene; it’s a time-sink but beautiful, and about time. Just follow this link, cut, paste, Java does the work, you reap the warm inordinate glow of artistic accomplishment. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes, he says, though judging by the spellbinders my learning curve has hills to climb. But for now some thoughts inside my head are free. Sobering, yes I know.

they work best when you click them

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Our officials do nothing while a flood of ink spills about the known atrocities taking place in Texas MHMR residential facilities. From my initial link three weeks ago on 800 disciplinary actions taken against Texas state schools, to the latest coverage of “choke holds, headlocks, torture, rape and death” in psych hospitals, perhaps our governor would like to revise his blithe summation that “the state is doing its job.” Meanwhile, accounts from the reality-based community beg to differ:

United Press International: Abuse Common in Texas Mental Hospitals.

Psych Central: Texas Mental Hospitals: A Haven for Abuse.

Furious Seasons: Article Exposes Injuries, Death at Texas Psych Hospital.

New York Times: Firings at Mental Hospitals Over Abuse.

Reason: One Flew Over the Lone Star State.

Rad Geek (must read): Texas Psychoprisons.

The Trouble With Spikol: Happy happy joy joy…uh…maybe not.

Houston Press: Mental Anguish at Texas West Oaks Hospital.

Reeves Law Blog: TX Psychiatric Patients Suffer Abuse, Neglect.

Hymes: Acceptance and Expectation of Abuse and Neglect in State Hospitals Are a Large Part of the Problem.

Texas Observer: Systemic Neglect.

Dallas News: Reports Show Systemic Abuse at Texas’ Psychiatric Hospitals.

Systemic is the operative word, systemic tells us the apple is rotten to the core, overall, built in, affecting an entire system, making it untenable in its totality. Documented systemic abuse, requiring swift and decisive action and impossible to ignore. You would think so. Who among us could ignore these published findings but the paid parasites who earn their professional cred by providing oversight of the system in question? The entities that are charged with getting hysterical over these facts will of course ignore them, and because that’s not surprising makes it no less unbearable. If you have any doubt that’s just what they’re doing, scour a few websites, and wait for the blackout:

Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Texas Department of State Health Services.

Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health Transformation. (pdf of May 6th agenda).

Texas Health and Human Services: May 12th “Stakeholder” hearing agenda.

Every front-page News brief at all 40 Community Psychiatric Centers, example: Austin-Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center.

Blackout, zip, zero, nada, not a word of acknowledgment from the mental health overlords charged with public accountability. Pretend it’s not happening, maybe the public won’t notice. 135 news articles. What’s that if not delusional? A complete break with consensual reality, there is a place to put people like that.

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Shit. I haven’t been able to look at this, til talking on the phone with Poodie tonight who said the story isn’t getting proper coverage. So I went looking for the truth at Shakesville, who hits it out of the park from the git:

THIS story should be reported with purpose. If it is not to be consumed as a pithy bit of titillation over one’s morning tea, it should be blunt, and it should be contextualized. No whitewashing, framed within a larger cultural narrative about the mistreatment of women and/or incidents of incest/child abuse in Austria. And then every. single. time. there is another story of this nature, the frame should be repeated. And repeated. And repeated. And repeated.

Until we can’t ignore its prevalence any longer. Until we can’t treat sexual abuse and torture as so much faff to be dismissed once we’ve had the obligatory “What a world!” grouse to salve our barely piqued consciences.

SEE ALSO:

“I am not a monster…I could have killed all of them — then nothing would have happened. No one would have ever known about it.”

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Friday I learned something serious in a CPS hearing about the leading CSA (child sexual abuse) prevention program known as Good Touch/Bad Touch. I was grateful when this program came out 25 years ago, thought it would have helped me if it was around when I was growing up, I’ve used the teaching tools myself with kids, in accordance with the general rule: you think you’re helping but you’re making things worse. You’d think we’d take the law of unintended consequences seriously, review and revise these trendy pet programs to make sure they’re not doing more harm than good. But this was news to me, makes intuitive sense, and I hope our legislators were listening to the witness who described GOOD TOUCH/BAD TOUCH as

one model that is valuable for teaching children that sexual abuse is terrible, but exposure to GT/BT creates shame in victims who are being sexually abused, which compounds their isolation and despair. The example of GOOD TOUCH/BAD TOUCH is but one indication of the need for support and follow-through to effectively intervene with victimized children who are exposed to it and similar educational programs.

Imagine the cruelty; a room of 20 kids being taught they can say NO! IT’S MY BODY, HANDS OFF! when we know five of those kids are going to go home and get raped in the mouth by their caregiver. That’s what the one-in-four statistic means. Is it stupidity or denial? More review please, less self-congratulatory and feel-good window dressing. What we need are CSA projects that don’t depend on the child to self-protect.

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At Psych Central Dr. Grohol makes a much needed point about the very fucking idea of relationship. He begins with the recent Lancet Journal study that shows the use of anti-psychotics as a useless option for subduing aggressive behaviors:

Medicating People Because It’s Easier Than Talking To Them.

Of course, this works too:

Officer Claudia Wright said she used her weapon on [Elizabeth] Beeland because the woman was “verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate.” Beeland pointed her finger “towards my face” and was waving her arms, the officer wrote.

And that, my lovelies is about relationship.

How do they get away with ignoring that? First we de-legitimize the relational, as in, this un-desirous behavior has no relation to anything or anyone, least of all me. From then on it’s just a matter of technique. Taser or neuroleptics, it’s quite the puzzler.

I am aware of the gooey, fuzzy, pussified and loaded overtones in the word relationship. Anyone who think that’s what I’m on about is encouraged to click the handy link under Santa Philosopher on my blogroll. Those who believe relational dynamics have nothing to do with psychiatric oppression are basically NAMI’s useful idiots. NAMI rules because of these analytical disinclinations.

Video via Pandagon, another very good post: Out of Control Tasing Continues.

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