Forever Prisoners

Guardian:

Saifullah Paracha, the oldest prisoner in Guantánamo Bay, will probably die in detention without ever being charged.

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US Political Discourse, December 2018

BBC:

Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become Speaker of the House when Democrats take over the chamber next month, mocked Mr Trump at a later meeting with colleagues on Capitol Hill.

“I was trying to be the mom,” she said, sources told US media. “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

She reportedly added that the president’s insistence on a wall was “a manhood thing”.

How does the US leave this state where major media reports on politicians “mocking” each other, and American social media is full of individuals posting and reposting the sayings of late night comedians? And if the country is unable to transition out of this, and instead continues the present inability to engage in thoughtful public discussion, does power continue to concentrate with non-state actors?

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“Identity” Politics

This is a poll headlining moveon.org’s web site today, December 2018. This seems very much a tribal approach with little content, certainly no falsifiable content.

I am concerned with the destruction of the liberal democratic state, and the hijacking of its mechanisms by finance capital. “Move us towards a more progressive future”?

“Commits to platform positions to see these connections through”? Whatever does this mean? What does it mean to “see a connection through”?

“A track record of taking on entrenched power and is willing to fight against big institutions”? Is it remotely possible to be considered a viable Democratic Party candidate without the solid support of entrenched power and financial institutions? Which candidates within my memory of the last 40 years in any way wrestled with entrenched power or big institutions? Perhaps efforts to promote single-payer healthcare?

“Restore order in Washington by working across the aisles”? I’ve seen “working across the aisle (singular)” as indicating bipartisan efforts. What does aisles in the plural mean? Have Democrats like Obama, Pelosi, Schumer been remiss in their efforts to work with Republicans?

I am concerned about the threat of nuclear war. I am concerned about climate change. I read about the unprecedented and increasing inequality of both wealth and income in the US. Life expectancy is decreasing, while deaths from suicide and drug overdose increase. How are these issues addressed in Moveon’s poll?

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Tribal Justice

Joseph Natoli:

That all societal structures and ways of knowing can indeed vanish if not continuously renewed is something we are now witnessing.

What is most chilling is this atmosphere of tacit acceptance of a reality in which argument with “the other tribe” is not only useless but also treasonous to one’s own tribe, a reality in which the hope of convincing the other tribe of anything with any kind of proof is considered a hopeless venture. All proof does no more than prove how truly wrong the other tribe is.

If you combine an instinctual nihilism with the worst elements of tribalism, you get some idea of this terrain. The idea that this terrain and Trump can be exposed and replaced, damaged and destroyed by focusing on health care or a diversity of membership increase in the House of Representatives partakes of the atmosphere of tribal lunacy that infects us all.

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Waldfriedhof, Steinbachtal

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Forchtenberg

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KZ Leonberg

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Dornhaldenfriedhof

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Stammheim

A cold, gray, rainy winter day. The prison is at the end of a tidy residential street.

Photos often show the taller buildings and the walls, with concrete, glass, steel, walls topped with barbed wire communicating a sense of the sterile isolation within. I was struck driving up with the knowledge I was experiencing the view of family and lawyers, driving this street month after month, year after year.

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Grünmettstetten

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