As we finish a dark 2012, what will we see in 2013 of The New America?

Reblogged from – highly recommended reading & subscribe

26 DECEMBER 2012

Summary:  It’s the time of year to look back on our deeds of the past year, and contemplate what we’ll do in the next. In the past American could think of bold exploration ventures (from Lewis & Clark to Apollo), great projects of domestic infrastructure (from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highways), and expansions of civil rights (from Emancipation to the 1960s). What have we to look back upon with pride? Or forward to with expectation?

… the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. — From C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, chapter VII

Americans watch Zero Dark Thirty’s depiction of torture, exulting in their moral decay:


  1. Stage One: the rot starts in the government
  2. Stage Two: decay of professional institutions
  3. Stage Three: evil takes root in our hearts
  4. What comes next?
  5. For More Information


In May 2011 I wrote More symptoms of decay: professional associations abandoning their standards and obligation to protect us.  The following paragraphs still chill me to read…

The deterioration in the Republic proceeds at a speed beyond my worst fears (underestimating this was my worst mistake on these pages in 2010).  Not just the government, although its institutions rot at an alarming rate.  Torture, surveillance, assassination, foreign wars based on lies — the by now usual long list.  It’s the failure of our private institutions that astonishes me.  The ones that the Founders hoped would contain the government and defend our liberties.

Now attorneys write briefs justifying torture, wars without legal authorization, surveillance and detention without warrant, and indeed limitless Executive power under the authoritarian justification of the President as Commander in Chief.  It’s not just lone actors, as the State legal associations have de facto ratified these actions though their inaction (e.g, the Pennsylvania Bars inaction on John Yoo, and the Alaska Bar inviting him to be their keynote speaker).  And judges openly applauding the President’s violation of the laws.

Perhaps worse (as we expect little good from attorneys) even doctors participate in torture.  Long rumored, now documented in “Neglect of Medical Evidence of Torture in Guantánamo Bay: A Case Series“, Vincent Iacopino (Adjunct Prof of Medicine, U of Minnesota) and Stephen N. Xenakis (Brigadier General, US Army, retired), PLOS Medicine, April 2011.  Will the State Medical Associations act on this clear violation of medical ethics?  {No, they didn’t. But the Brits did, see BBC, 21 December 2012.}

Read the full post here


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