Winslow Homer: Children on the Beach, Sponge Fishing Nassau

Children on the Beach by Winslow Homer. Water color, 1881. As far as I am able to find out, currently in a private collection.

Sponge Fishing Nassau by Winslow Homer. Watercolor, 1885.

Interesting piece on an exhibition that included Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. Great American Artists: Art Institute features work of Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper in two exhibits at one time. Hopper’s use of light and color was influenced by Homer.

Black and White seascape wallpaper

Frank Rich’s The Banality of Bush White House Evil

We’ve learned much, much more about America and torture in the past five years. But as Mark Danner recently wrote in The New York Review of Books, for all the revelations, one essential fact remains unchanged: “By no later than the summer of 2004, the American people had before them the basic narrative of how the elected and appointed officials of their government decided to torture prisoners and how they went about it.” When the Obama administration said it declassified four new torture memos 10 days ago in part because their contents were already largely public, it was right.

Yet we still shrink from the hardest truths and the bigger picture: that torture was a premeditated policy approved at our government’s highest levels; that it was carried out in scenarios that had no resemblance to “24”; that psychologists and physicians were enlisted as collaborators in inflicting pain; and that, in the assessment of reliable sources like the F.B.I. director Robert Mueller, it did not help disrupt any terrorist attacks.

Since torture apologists keep repeating the inanity that the release of those four new legal memos about toture have opened up some pandora’s box of national security issues, its thus worth repeating that the only thing new were slightly more details about the bizarre legal reasoning behind the justification for breaking well establshed law to torture. Scott Horton has a video of   Keith Olbermann who points out among other incidents, the U.S. prosecuted the Japanese for giving troops the “water cure”. I’m not fond of the exceptionalism argument, maybe because it is invoked so often, but in so many cases over multiple conflicts we have prosecuted those that have committed war crimes.

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