our prisons are torture chambers, save us from ourselves, old post

Guards are the worst prison-rapists

Air Force veteran Tom Cahill, who was arrested and detained for just a single night in a San Antonio jail, recalled the lasting effects of being gang-raped and beaten by other inmates. “I’ve been hospitalized more times than I can count…

[  ]…In a letter to the advocacy organization Just Detention International, one prisoner conveyed a chilling threat she received from the male officer who was abusing her: “Remember if you tell anyone anything, you’ll have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life.”

Why the Bush administration used extraordinary rendition ( as opposed to ordinary rendition where we honor treaty obligations to return criminals to their country of origin) is bizarre in light of how they used torture to break and humiliate prisoners – some guilty, many innocent, many we’ll never know, when he could have saved a few dollars and just sent them to a state-side prison where rape is common. Not just regular rape, but gang rape and rape with objects like broom sticks. Most people who are in prison are there because they were sentenced to incarceration according to judicial guidelines, not to torture and humiliation.

Many Americans wonder why recidivism is so how high. Part of the reason is that whatever was decent about you gets torn away by the brutality and replaced by bitterness and the moral code of the prison.

head of antiochus I theos of commagene or “Antiohos, a fair, eminent God, friend of Romans and friend of Greeks”. his bio at wikipedia. he wasn’t all that bad for the the kings of his day. for a comparison see Antiochus I Sote- first in a long line of blood thirsty tyrants. and antiochus does not translate to and never has meant anti-christ. it does mean “manifest god”. philosophically, according  to Christian orthodoxy, any one that claims to be god other then the one described in their holy text can be considered an anti-christ.

John Dickerson is such a good writer that, while I mostly agree with his column on Mark Sanford, all that eloquence could have been better spent on a more worthy subject, Heartless: The disturbing glee at Mark Sanford’s downfall.

The minute Sanford started speaking, the reviews poured in via e-mail and Twitter. He was rambling, confused. He didn’t tear up enough when talking about his wife. He favored his mistress. He answered the questions too thoroughly. All these judgments seemed absurd. A man standing in front of a bank of cameras in the middle of a complete collapse is going to say a lot of things poorly.

The snap judgments failed to acknowledge a grain of the fundamental human carnage we were witnessing. You can laugh at Sanford, as you can laugh at a video of a wrecked Amy Winehouse falling all over her house. But at some point, even though they did it to themselves, you have to feel sorry for them as human beings. You can do that, I think, and not be a fan of adultery or drug use.

I’m not offering Sanford’s humanity as an excuse. I’m just marveling at how few people stopped for a moment to even nod to it.

Sanford’s politics are deplorable, but while not likely, maybe this will be the sex scandals to end the hypocrisy over what politicians do in their personal lives. Sanford himself didn’t think so when he joined in the chorus to condemn President Clinton, but maybe that was why Sanford seemed to Dickerson and a few others to seem genuinely contrite and embarrassed.

There are degrees are difference between what Dickerson heard and what I heard. I’m happy to acknowledge Sanford’s humanity and I feel genuinely awful for his family, but there is another aspect of the situation to be considered. Sanford seems less willing then should be the case to take a long hard inward look at himself. He said during a press conference, “God’s law is indeed there to protect you from yourself.” I’m not sure people know how prevalent that thinking is in the fundamentalist base of conservatism. One version of an old political joke about it the guy that drinks, smacks the wife, watches porn, beats the kids and kicks the dog Monday through Saturday and then goes to Church on Sunday to pray for forgiveness. They think they’re just a little superior to everyone else ( Sanford has a severe arrogance problem), but nestled there in the back of their minds is the dark side of themselves. That dark side wants to have affairs, pretend to be straight (Larry Craig), abuse drugs ( Ted Haggard, Rush Limbaugh) and they do not feel they have the personal will power to resist. To them it should not be a personal matter, but somewhat ironically, the federal and state government should control their intimate personal behavior by force of law – ordering treatment or incarceration if necessary. God’s law must be codified into secular law to protect the Mark Sanfords from themselves. There are a few roots to social conservatism, but that notion that the nation’s legal framework should be engineered to protect the weakest from temptation, is a major source of the movements motivation. This might also explain why Democrats were much harder on Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and John Edwards then Republicans have been on Newt, Rush, Mark, Ted and all the rest. Democrats generally don’t want to hear any of that save me from my worse desires crap – you fu*ked up, betrayed your family, and made the party look bad.

old post

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