20140118 Same old smile, same old shit

I have just watched the entire speech by US President Obama given at the US Department of Justice. I watched it with my friend in Paris : both of us watching the BBC until they cut away with only a few minutes to go so they could interview one of their own journalists standing in the cold of a Washington winter. Then we switched to CNN where, fortunately, they didn’t discuss it in their usual banal fashion. Which is good because we were discussing it over an internet phone connection as it was going. He and I have concocted a note together intending that it would appear on both our websites simultaneously. .

We were, in turns, amused, bemused, unsurprised and annoyed by Obama’s presentation. But one thing we did notice: for some time he’s been a bit wobbly in set-piece speeches. His performance last night was exemplary. It was also a lesson in diversion as he deftly avoided the things that most people are angry about.

I decided that there was no need for me to put the full note here. Click on the link to visit the piece on my friend’s site: [that site is now obsolete – 2021]

I had something else to get indignant about: while we were watching the CNN coverage, two things popped up in the news scrollbar.

One was to say that people paid to watch child abuse over the internet. No news there, then. Complinet will, in a couple of days, publish an article by me that demonstrates that the conduct that led to that report was not merely predictable but inevitable.

The second thing was a matter of utter disgrace to the USA and to us all as humans. Leaving aside for one moment any debate as to the rights and wrongs of imposing a death sentence, where the state kills someone it’s supposed to be humane, not a form of torture. Witnesses at an execution in the USA, including journalists, have reported that the man being executed struggled and fought for breath for some 24 minutes.

I don’t care what he did, I don’t care how he did it. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure that executions, if they are performed at all, are done in a manner which does not undermine human dignity (that’s pretty hard when someone is strapped into some device and told to watch while the apparatus that will kill him is set up) and does not cause undue suffering.

That was, patently, not the case.

China (which the Economist reported in December has reduced the number of annual executions from around 15,000 in the mid 1990s to around 3,000 in 2013) is often criticised for the manner of its executions: a single bullet to the back of the head with an immediate check for signs of life and a second bullet if required.

Tell me: how is that worse than leaving someone to struggle for breath for 24 minutes?

It’s a disgrace and one which deserves widespread condemnation.

© 2014 Nigel Morris-Cotterill
All rights reserved

(at the time this page was transferred from our previous server, the website at Jefferson Galt.com was down and therefore the link was not working. I don’t know if it will be restored).