kuangning: (disaffected)
AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.
Easier for voting?

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

A: Asian-descent voters are Americans too. What she really means, therefore, is "easier for generic white people to deal with."

B: Her lack of faith in the reading skills and problem-solving skills of generic white people is noted.

C: What we really need is clearly a return to the days when Immigration officials renamed people when they entered the country! Yes!

D: Life is going to change fairly dramatically when her generation is displaced in positions of power, and I can't wait to see it happen.
kuangning: (angry)
This is utterly ridiculous.

Just so we're clear on this: it's okay to serve and be Wiccan. It's okay to die in Iraq and be Wiccan. But it is somehow NOT okay to be Wiccan when it comes to engraving a symbol on your monument?

... frankly, folks, if we sent you overseas, you fought for us, and you died doing it? I don't care if your widow asks for a Star of David, a swastika, or an engraved Satan complete with pitchfork, flames, and tortured souls on your memorial, as long as she's not demanding it be neon, larger than the others, or some different material -- that is, no more noticeable than any of the many others until you really look at the symbol -- let her have it. Memorials are for the survivors. If all we can give back to her that brings her any comfort is a symbol, what symbol it is makes no difference in the long run. Somebody smack the DVA around until they Get this, please.
kuangning: (angry)


Glitches cited in early voting
Early voters are urged to cast their ballots with care following scattered reports of problems with heavily used machines.


After a week of early voting, a handful of glitches with electronic voting machines have drawn the ire of voters, reassurances from elections supervisors -- and a caution against the careless casting of ballots.

Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen -- the final voting step.

Election officials say they aren't aware of any serious voting issues. But in Broward County, for example, they don't know how widespread the machine problems are because there's no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues and no central database of machine problems.

In Miami-Dade, incidents are logged and reported daily and recorded in a central database. Problem machines are shut down.

''In the past, Miami-Dade County would send someone to correct the machine on site,'' said Lester Sola, county supervisor of elections. Now, he said, ``We close the machine down and put a seal on it.''

Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.

A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said.

''I'm shocked because I really want . . . to trust that the issues with irregularities with voting machines have been resolved,'' said Reed, a paralegal. ``It worries me because the races are so close.''

Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot -- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual.

''It is resolved right there at the early-voting site,'' Cooney said.

Broward poll workers keep a log of all maintenance done on machines at each site. But the Supervisor of Elections office doesn't see that log until the early voting period ends. And a machine isn't taken out of service unless the poll clerk decides it's a chronic poor performer that can't be fixed.

Cooney said no machines have been removed during early voting, and she is not aware of any serious problems.

In Miami-Dade, two machines have been taken out of service during early voting. No votes were lost, Sola said.

Joan Marek, 60, a Democrat from Hollywood, was also stunned to see Charlie Crist on her ballot review page after voting on Thursday. ''Am I on the voting screen again?'' she wondered. ``Well, this is too weird.''

Marek corrected her ballot and alerted poll workers at the Hollywood satellite courthouse, who she said told her they'd had previous problems with the same machine.

Poll workers did some work on her machine when she finished voting, Marek said. But no report was made to the Supervisor of Elections office and the machine was not removed, Cooney said.

Workers at the Hollywood poll said there had been no voting problems on Friday.

Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker.

Miami Herald staff writer Linda Topping Streitfeld contributed to this report.
kuangning: (disaffected)
kuangning: (angry)

Because if you can't really defend him, claiming he belongs to the OTHER side loudly and often enough might just work.
kuangning: (disaffected)
You'd make sure the family's breadwinner(s) got paid a living wage. Couples run into problems because of financial strain more than anything else.

You'd tackle the problem of domestic violence so that people felt safe with their partners, or prospective partners.

You'd make sure healthcare was available, because the stress of caring for a sick loved one -- and their medical bills -- can wreck a family.

You'd make sure quality childcare was available and affordable as the norm instead of the exception, so that people felt comfortable going out to work to earn that aforementioned living wage.

You'd make sure employers offered enough time off to accomodate their workers who have families to care for, so the issue of absentee parents and latchkey children wouldn't be so common. Latchkey children tend to become problem children, and differences on how to deal with them can tear their parents' relationship apart. The stress of wondering if (or, y'know, knowing that) you're going to lose your job because your kid's been too sick for daycare all week long and you didn't have any sick days doesn't make for family harmony, either.

You'd make sure health insurance would cover at least some family counseling as a rule.

There'd be a waiting period between when someone could get a marriage license and when they were allowed to use it. No getting married on a drunken night or "just for fun".

There'd be a full battery of drug- and STD- tests with the results revealed to both partners as a part of the process of getting the marriage license.

There'd probably be some lessons on handling basic household finances in there too.

Teenage girls who got pregnant would be advised to seek counseling and there'd be support available for them as a rule, instead of the push to marry the child's father that there often is now. Just because you had sex and proved fertile together doesn't mean you ought to be in a relationship for life.

Divorce would be harder to get.

... but hey, those things are hard, so instead of doing any of that, I suppose pushing a Constitutional amendment to make sure those horrible gays get excluded will suffice.

I have nothing more to say on this topic.
kuangning: (angry)
Every time I think that things really can't get any worse ... they do. This time, the affront is the concept of pre-pregnancy, the state in which, new federal guidelines would have us believe, every woman of childbearing age, regardless of whether she intends to have a child or not, exists.

It sounds on the surface like a good, well-meant theory. After all, the recommendations are common-sense, and intentional or not, pregnancies happen ... and it means that women's doctors pay a little more attention to their care. All perfectly unobjectionable -- until you realise, that is, that these new guidelines place the potential for a pregnancy above all other concerns, including such paltry things as the potential mother's wishes and well-being. There was already a faction that holds that the life of a fetus outweighs all other concerns, including the health, physical and emotional, of the woman harboring it. This goes a step beyond even that. It reduces the woman of childbearing age to the status of a potential incubator, and nothing more. It elevates one function of a woman above all other considerations, and worse, by implanting the idea in the heads of our physicians that we will have pregnancies whether we say we will or not, it removes our credibility in the eyes of the doctors treating us. It removes our ability to be our own advocates on this issue.

That's beyond dangerous.

Until now, only children and those judged incompetent of making their own decisions required someone else present to make sure their doctors paid attention to and followed their requests and preferences about their own health care. With this new guideline, in effect, telling our doctors that we don't know what we want and can't be trusted to follow through on our decisions about pregnancy, women stand in danger of being reduced to that status, too. "Pre-pregnancy" is a pernicious idea which needs to be stamped out now, or we can expect to lose our autonomy in health care decisions somewhere not too far down the line.

Think I'm exaggerating the issue? Consider that this guideline has gone out at the federal level. Even if your personal doctor disregards it, how many medications will now have approval for use on "pre-pregnant" women withheld because they might impact a potential fetus? How many of those "pre-pregnant" women will be forced to make do with a possibly less-effective medication because of the worry over the health of a fetus which does not exist and may well never exist? How many of those cases would it take before you found the situation unacceptable? If your answer is "one", here you go.

I have been unable to obtain adequate medical care for my epilepsy
because I am what they'd call pre-pregnant. As my neurologist puts it,
I am a woman of child-bearing age. As such, they flat-out refuse to try
me on any medicines other than the ones proven least likely to affect a
fetus (read: the ones that are paying off my neurologist). Despite the
fact that I have declared my belly a no-fetus zone.

-- shadesong

This isn't new. Any childless woman under the age of about twenty-five who's asked for a tubal ligation can probably tell you that our doctors have always tended to value the potential for reproduction over the wishes of the women sitting in front of them. What's new -- and what's unacceptable -- is that now, instead of viewing that tendency as a shortcoming that needs to be changed, the word from our government is that it's a value to be embraced. That, quite simply, needs to go, and the sooner the better.
kuangning: (disaffected)
Y'know, for a nation that gets bored with repeats of our television shows, we sure are tolerant of repeated idiocy from our government.

We're not done in Afghanistan but we jump to Iraq. Iraq's not going well, so we ... what? Turn to take on Iran. What is this? Government for the Attention Deficit Disordered? Perhaps Diplomacy for the Sandbox Bully? And whatever it is, can we be finished with it, yet?

One former defense official said the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government," The New Yorker pointed out.

Say that again? Is that not the self-same line of thinking that leads to terrorist cells bombing American targets because they want our government's policies to change? And we all know how well it's worked on us. Why, the very DAY after 9/11, boy, you remember, the whole country rose up and tossed that Bush administration out on its ...


Well, maybe we should've. Had we known then what we know now, we might have. I hope. Just like I hope that this newest foolishness gets nowhere. I hope. But I really don't believe, anymore.
kuangning: (memory)
War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. -- John F. Kennedy

We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. -- John F. Kennedy

I hope that no American will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant. -- John F. Kennedy

The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. -- John F. Kennedy

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. -- John F. Kennedy

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -- John F. Kennedy
kuangning: (Ami)
I've had this stuck in my head off and on for days anyway.

Gulf War Song -- Moxy Früvous

We got a call to write a song about the war in the Gulf
But we shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings
So we tried, then gave up, 'cause there was no such song
But the trying was very revealing
What makes a person so poisonous righteous
That they'd think less of anyone who just disagreed?
She's just a pacifist, he's just a patriot
If I said you were crazy, would you have to fight me?

Fighters for liberty, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight, 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me

So we read and we watched all the specially selected news
And we learned so much more 'bout the good guys
Won't you stand by the flag? Was the question unasked
Won't you join in and fight with the allies?
What could we say ... we're only 25 years old?
With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold
This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable
We'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old

Fighters for Texaco, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

He's just a peacenik and she's just a warhawk
That's where the beach was, that's where the sea
What could we say ... we're only 25 years old?
And history seems to agree
that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

Is that how it always will be?
kuangning: (Default)

Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina

By MARGARET EBRAHIM and JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

The footage — along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press — show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Linked by secure video, Bush expressed a confidence on Aug. 28 that starkly contrasted with the dire warnings his disaster chief and numerous federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

The White House and Homeland Security Department urged the public Wednesday not to read too much into the video footage.

"I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing," presidential spokesman Trent Duffy said, citing a variety of orders and disaster declarations Bush signed before the storm made landfall. "He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times."

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said his department would not release the full set of videotaped briefings, saying most transcripts — though not the videotapes — from the sessions were provided to congressional investigators months ago.

"There's nothing new or insightful on these tapes," Knocke said. "We actively participated in the lessons-learned review and we continue to participate in the Senate's review and are working with them on their recommendation."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, a critic of the administration's Katrina response, had a different take after watching the footage Wednesday afternoon from an AP reporter's camera.

"I have kind a sinking feeling in my gut right now," Nagin said. "I was listening to what people were saying — they didn't know, so therefore it was an issue of a learning curve. You know, from this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware."

Some of the footage and transcripts from briefings Aug. 25-31 conflicts with the defenses that federal, state and local officials have made in trying to deflect blame and minimize the political fallout from the failed Katrina response:

• Homeland Security officials have said the "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions. "I'm sure it will be the top 10 or 15 when all is said and done," National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield warned the day Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast.

"I don't buy the `fog of war' defense," Brown told the AP in an interview Wednesday. "It was a fog of bureaucracy."

• Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. He later clarified, saying officials believed, wrongly, after the storm passed that the levees had survived. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility even before the storm — and Bush was worried too.

White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Brown discussed fears of a levee breach the day the storm hit.

"I talked to the president twice today, once in Crawford and then again on Air Force One," Brown said. "He's obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the Dome, he's asking questions about reports of breaches."

• Louisiana officials angrily blamed the federal government for not being prepared but the transcripts shows they were still praising FEMA as the storm roared toward the Gulf Coast and even two days afterward. "I think a lot of the planning FEMA has done with us the past year has really paid off," Col. Jeff Smith, Louisiana's emergency preparedness deputy director, said during the Aug. 28 briefing.

It wasn't long before Smith and other state officials sounded overwhelmed.

"We appreciate everything that you all are doing for us, and all I would ask is that you realize that what's going on and the sense of urgency needs to be ratcheted up," Smith said Aug. 30.

Mississippi begged for more attention in that same briefing.

"We know that there are tens or hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana that need to be rescued, but we would just ask you, we desperately need to get our share of assets because we'll have people dying — not because of water coming up, but because we can't get them medical treatment in our affected counties," said a Mississippi state official whose name was not mentioned on the tape.

Video footage of the Aug. 28 briefing, the final one before Katrina struck, showed an intense Brown voicing concerns from the government's disaster operation center and imploring colleagues to do whatever was necessary to help victims.

"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Brown warned. He called the storm "a bad one, a big one" and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.

"Go ahead and do it," Brown said. "I'll figure out some way to justify it. ... Just let them yell at me."

Bush appeared from a narrow, windowless room at his vacation ranch in Texas, with his elbows on a table. Hagin was sitting alongside him. Neither asked questions in the Aug. 28 briefing.

"I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm," the president said.

A relaxed Chertoff, sporting a polo shirt, weighed in from Washington at Homeland Security's operations center. He would later fly to Atlanta, outside of Katrina's reach, for a bird flu event.

One snippet captures a missed opportunity on Aug. 28 for the government to have dispatched active-duty military troops to the region to augment the National Guard.

Chertoff: "Are there any DOD assets that might be available? Have we reached out to them?"

Brown: "We have DOD assets over here at EOC (emergency operations center). They are fully engaged. And we are having those discussions with them now."

Chertoff: "Good job."

In fact, active duty troops weren't dispatched until days after the storm. And many states' National Guards had yet to be deployed to the region despite offers of assistance, and it took days before the Pentagon deployed active-duty personnel to help overwhelmed Guardsmen.

The National Hurricane Center's Mayfield told the final briefing before Katrina struck that storm models predicted minimal flooding inside New Orleans during the hurricane but he expressed concerns that counterclockwise winds and storm surges afterward could cause the levees at Lake Pontchartrain to be overrun.

"I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not but that is obviously a very, very grave concern," Mayfield told the briefing. Other officials expressed concerns about the large number of New Orleans residents who had not evacuated.

"They're not taking patients out of hospitals, taking prisoners out of prisons and they're leaving hotels open in downtown New Orleans. So I'm very concerned about that," Brown said.

Despite the concerns, it ultimately took days for search and rescue teams to reach some hospitals and nursing homes.

Brown also told colleagues one of his top concerns was whether evacuees who went to the New Orleans Superdome — which became a symbol of the failed Katrina response — would be safe and have adequate medical care.

"The Superdome is about 12 feet below sea level.... I don't know whether the roof is designed to stand, withstand a Category Five hurricane," he said.

Brown also wanted to know whether there were enough federal medical teams in place to treat evacuees and the dead in the Superdome.

"Not to be (missing) kind of gross here," Brown interjected, "but I'm concerned" about the medical and mortuary resources "and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe."


That's really all I want to say or ask: are you angry, yet? Is it enough, already? Can we finally all agree that, yes, he's the biggest mistake to happen to this country in living memory, and can we fix it? Before his next disastrous failure -- though it's hard to comprehend what could be larger than this -- can we stop now? Please?

... I'm told that the video was, a few hours ago, available and viewable on CNN's front page. It is no longer accessible there. I feel so much better now. Don't you?

Snippets still are available through CBS here ... though who knows for how long?

The Washington Post is carrying the story and the video here.
kuangning: (child)

Maj. Mark Bieger cradles a dying Iraqi girl
photo by Michael Yon

I'm awake far too late, as usual, trying to enjoy the online time while I have it, since tomorrow I leave for New York to retrieve some court documents pertaining to the kids' case. I won't be back online for any real time until Tuesday evening or Wednesday, most likely.

In the course of my wanderings, though, I came across this photograph, and this site. I'm not sure why it's made so big an impression: you're not likely to win my heart with gung-ho rahrah, and the phrase "support our troops" has been coopted to mean "keep your mouth shut and sit down, no matter what." It gets an instantaneous reaction of distaste from me anymore.

But maybe that's the difference.

Yon makes the distinction between "Iraqi" and "terrorist" -- not just in lipservice, but in the way he portrays them -- and that gains my grudging respect.

The Iraqi children who trail our convoys and make many of the patrols into parades are the best barometer we have about the future here. I’ve written about how carefully Iraqi parents watch their children, and how the military has come to read the total absence of children on a street as a bad omen. The portentous power of these kids works both ways. Their smiles are a measure of how the people here are mostly embracing a brighter future.

If he used the phrase "support the troops", I didn't see it. What I saw were people, some better than others, coping with tough situations as best they could. I can trust that, and even admire it. More, his work lets me separate the men from the administration in my head in just the way, I think, that this administration would most like to prevent. From one officer's insistence that a prisoner be turned over for interrogation (against the rules, and the requests are all denied) to the one soldier asking if the account could be toned down so his Mom doesn't freak when she reads it, Yon brings a note of authenticity to the table.

I'm cynic enough to wonder what's still going untold, but that's my own problem and not his: what he tells, I believe, is told as straight as an ex-Green Beret can tell it, when he's talking about military men. And in doing that, he does as much as anyone can do, to remind both sides of the very real human beings currently dealing with this mess that was none of their making.
kuangning: (disaffected)
"I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform," declares our President.

... Truer words he never spoke. But have another rock, Mr President? I think there's a wall over there still standing...

in other news, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota joins Ben Nelson of Nebraska to support Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court. Ben Nelson, if he's running, is up for re-election this year, having come in in 2000. I hope y'all out there in his state don't let this go unremembered. Johnson, sadly enough, isn't up this year, but his time, too, will come.


Jan. 16th, 2006 04:43 am
kuangning: (rebellious)
Y'know, the last time I checked, certain branches of our armed forces still routinely prepared personnel for operations where we might need them to go into foreign territory, find a specific target, eliminate that target, and leave.

Now, I'm not Commander-in-Chief of our forces, but it appears to me that, well, using a few of those people might, just maybe, be preferable to, y'know, firing big frigging explodey things at a bunch of civilians in a country we're not at war with (odd as it may sound, there still are some of those) just because we think one person might be there.

Because then, if it turns out we were wrong, we haven't killed a bunch of civilians and McCain doesn't have to spend credibility he doesn't have much of anymore trying to convince our friends that it was justified.

Of course, then we don't get the pleasure of watching Musharraf blame the victim like a true battered wife, either.

So what do I know?
kuangning: (angry)
If you don't approve, then DO something about it. Your hands are not clean because you "merely" remained silent. )

UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Part I

Article 1

  1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

  2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

  1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

  2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

  3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3

  1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

  2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 13

Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

Changing what we call it doesn't make it more right or us less guilty. "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" are torture. This country, above all others, is supposed to be better than that. Remember? Beacon of freedom and democracy? A Christian nation? They "hated us for our freedom", remember? They wanted to destroy us because we were so much better than they were, with our benevolent government and our prosperity? Our principles that we stood for no matter what?

... Wonder what they think of us now. It makes me want to snarl, to see people forced to justify this by using the "we're still better than ___" argument. Is that all we're shooting for? To be better than the worst of the very bad lot? How nice that we still have laudable aims, then.

("So why shouldn't I beat my slave? I bought him fair and square. He's just some foreigner from the next town, and they're not real people there. Besides, I've suffered a long, hard day, and it's only right someone else should pay -- besides, he's sulky and runs away, and he won't mind me. It's the same old game, just a different name; you can play it in the stars or in the mud. For power corrupts, and it fills its guts, from the first to the last, with innocent blood.")

kuangning: (disaffected)
Weren't we supposed to be leading them to be more like us?

... Oh, wait. We are.
kuangning: (Default)
"It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between internal and the external threats of Communism.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and rather successfully. Cassius was right. 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.' "

-- Edward R Murrow.

I wish I could make this one movie required viewing for every single American. Judging from the comments of the rather vacuous pair of girls behind us, at least one teacher has offered extra credit for it, and that, if not their reactions, gives me hope -- but the unspoken parallels between the climate of fear then and the "post 9/11" America of today are hard to miss, and even harder to answer. (Incidentally, let me thank my friends at the Nuke Free Zone -- usually the first place I turn when I'm trying to find links quickly on matters like this.) If you can, please see this movie. Alternately, read the text of the original broadcast upon which the movie's based. I've seen several attacks, unsurprisingly, on the movie, but Murrow's original words still stand, strong and unsullied.


Jun. 29th, 2005 04:50 pm
kuangning: (pureglasscup what now?)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Republican congressman from North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that the "evidence is clear" that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Let's recap this slowly for you, Robin -- it's obvious that you've been sitting in the back of the classroom staring out the window all this time.

  • The attacks were plotted and carried out by al Qaeda. Remember them? Remember, the guy we're looking for is Osama bin Laden? I know they may all seem alike to you, Robin, but really and truly, Osama isn't Saddam. Two different people entirely. I promise you.

  • We had the 9/11 commission look into this. They reported back in August of last year, saying that there was no evidence that Saddam was connected to 9/11. He did not help al Qaeda carry out or plan the attacks.

  • Even President Bush has acknowledged that there is no evidence Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Let me point out the dates on those for you: they came way back in 2003.

Now, I can see where you might think you have better insight and information than the 9/11 committee, but better insight and intelligence than the President himself, Robin? They didn't go to him with proof, but they came to lay it on your desk? How nice for you. I hope they brought you a nice dose of Risperdal along with it, and some tea and cakes, too.

Even worse,  Robin, you're Vice Chairman of the House Subcommittee on terrorism. You should know better. You have to know better. And if you don't, then you haven't been paying any attention whatsoever. So, either A) you're somehow privy to information the President doesn't have, in which case, you ought to hand it over;  B) you're so incompetent that you haven't yet caught up with conclusions reached more than a year ago; or C) you're misusing your position and deliberately lying. Do tell me if there's a fourth option I've missed in there, won't you? And in the meantime? Sit down and stay away from the media, 'cause you're making us all look bad.

Edit: fixed link.
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