Detainee Abuse Finished? Not Quite.

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Good news: The Senate voted 90-9 yesterday to pass John McCain’s amendments which would “define and limit interrogation techniques that U.S. troops may use against terrorism suspects.” Good, and that could go some ways to curbing abuses, depending on potential loopholes, but I’m a bit suspicious here. Why would the majority of Republicans vote to restrict torture; they’ve never shown any such inclination before. (Look what happened to the Markey Amendment in the House: similar anti-torture provision, defeated by a majority of the House GOP.) The cynical guess here is that the Senate Republicans who voted for thing feel confident that Dennis Hastert and the House leadership will quietly strip McCain’s provision out of the final bill when it goes to conference. So everyone can feel good about voting on the record to oppose torture without their votes having any actual consequences. Or as a last resort, Bush can just veto the bill—maybe as a way of boosting his poll numbers among the Rush Limbaugh set. Or perhaps get some favorable Supreme Court ruling, with John Roberts and Harriet Miers in tow, to do whatever he feels like. The battle against torture is far, far from over.

UPDATE: Jack Balkin has the full text of the amendment, and it’s much more sweeping than anything else yet passed. It applies to all U.S. personnel, not just the Department of Defense (thus closing the “CIA loophole”), and prohibits “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” anywhere in the world.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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