The omnibus spending bill, the one with all those intolerable provisions, passed on Saturday night -- though not without a mini-revolt by two Republican Senators on immigration. But other than a few more nominations, the only political advantage the Democrats gained with the Cruz/Lee "fumble" is the handful of Republican Senators up in 2016 (Coats, Johnson, McCain, Murkowski, Toomey) now on record as "not being tough enough on immigration." Also, that Warren/Vitter amendment you may have heard about, which would have stripped the pro-bankster derivatives provision from the bill? It didn't even get a vote, because TEH MATURITY MEANZ GETTINGZ TEH THINGZ DONEZ!!!!! The Senate seems to think "mature" people come together to steal what belongs to the people and give it to their corporate paymasters, which is not a lesson I think we should impart to our young.
Most folks will read the Guardian's lengthy conversation with a long-time ISIS fighter and focus on this statement: "If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology." And it's true that the "war of liberation" Mr. Bush fought is little more than a perpetual motion machine for creating Islamic radicals, but you'd be cheating yourself if that's all you got from the article -- like, the ISIS fighter's sense that leaving ISIS would be futile, even as others within the organization also have their doubts. Personal to those who think the solution to the Bucca debacle would have been MORE TORTUREZ!!!!: detainment (which is often wrongful detainment) is motivation enough.
Speaking of torture, Andrew Emmett at Nation of Change covers some of the heinous CIA-committed crimes not covered by the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report. Lowlights: a man gives up information about a suspect, then gets waterboarded over 83 times in an unsuccessful attempt to get more information; two retired military psychologists make $81 million practicing torture on detainees, and the only man to go to jail for any of this is the fellow who handed a CIA investigator's business card to a New York Times reporter. It's enough to make you cynical, if you didn't already know cynicism is evil.
Mark and Paul Engler ask, "What Makes Nonviolent Movements Explode?" The answer: traditional organizing really doesn't -- though I remain convinced it does a lot of long-term good -- but "disruption and sacrifice" do. Pay particular attention to the "sacrifice" part, not just because sacrifice helps counter the backlash against disruption or because, in These Interesting Times, we're not as well-attuned to sacrifice as we should be, but also because that section tells the best stories -- and reminds us to use our enemies' power against them.
Finally, because we need some good news: Mohammad Usafi, who worked as a translator for the Marines in Afghanistan, has finally been reunited with his family in the Bay Area. You may recall from a previous action alert that the Taliban, in retaliation for Mr. Usafi's work on behalf of our military, murdered his father, kidnapped his youngest brother to extract a ransom, and then forced his family to flee to Pakistan. Well, thanks in part to your efforts, they're now here (just barely, it seems, thanks to a harrowing journey back into Afghanistan), and hopefully on track to become citizens.