Robert Jay Lifton is a nonegenarian psychiatrist, author, and psychohistorian. In his long life, he has studied and written about the psychological causes and effects of wars and political violence. In addition to his theory of thought reform, he was an early proponent of psychohistorical techniques, and he was instrumental in the inclusion of Post traumatic Stress Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder. He coined the term, psychic numbing. In 1953, he began interviewing US servicemen who had been prisoners of war during the Korean War, as well as others who had been in Chinese prisons after 1951. He published THOUGHT REFORM AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOTALISM: A STUDY OF BRAINWASHING IN CHINA. Among his other books are DEATH IN LIFE: SURVIVORS OF HIROSHIMA; HOME FROM THE WAR: VIETNAM VETERANS – NEITHER VICTIMS NOR EXECUTIONERS; and THE NAZI DOCTORS: MEDICAL KILLING AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GENOCIDE.
His latest book is LOSING REALITY: ON CULTS, CULTISM AND THE MINDSET OF POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS ZEALOTRY. We spoke with Dr. Lifton on October 19, 2020.
Jake Laperrruque INJUSTICE: Tracking BIll Barr’s Misconduct as Attorney General
In addition to being the only working farmer in the US Senate, and an organic farmer at that, he has now written a memoir, GROUNDED: A SENATOR’S LESSONS ON WINNING BACK RURAL AMERICA, just published by Ecco Press.
Jon Tester entered the US Senate in 2006 and was re-elected for a third term in 2018, in spite of having been the recipient of Donald Trump’s ire for having announced the unsuitability of his nominee for Director of Veterans Affairs, his personal physician, Dr. Ronald Jackson, because more than two dozen Whistle blowers had reported serious, credible problems with Dr. Jackson’s nomination. After Jackson withdrew his name, Trump flew to Montana four times to campaign against Senator Tester, Donald Trump, Jr. came four other times, and Vice President Pence also came, each determined to defeat Jon Tester. However, notwithstanding the fact that Trump had won the state of Montana in 2016 by 20 points, not only did Senator Tester get re-elected in 2018, but by a larger percentage of the vote than in any of his previous elections.
In these polarized times, when power trumps propriety, when those who serve are seen as suckers and losers, when science and good sense are subsumed in phantasmagorical conspiracies, there are those few who remain true to their roots, who not only believe in democracy, but struggle to maintain it against ever increasing odds. Such a one is Senator Tester. We recorded this interview on September 23, 2020.
Jake LaPerruque is Senior Counsel of The Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight, POGO. POGO is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public, or silences those who report wrongdoing.
They published Jake LaPerruque’s article, Injustice: Tracking Bill Barr’s Misconduct as Attorney General, on September 25, 2020. It examines William Barr’s tenure since being confirmed as Attorney General of the United States on Feb. 14, 2019, identifying what they call a long string of actions that constitute serious misconduct, and may inflict lasting damage to the Justice Department. These actions generally fall into four key categories of misconduct that are antithetical to the department’s responsibilities to the public and to the Constitution. Namely, Barr has on numerous occasions interfered with impartial prosecutions, prioritized politics over justice, undermined the independent special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and hindered congressional oversight.