Monthly Archives: September 2004

Something Good Comes Out of Crawford, TX

Crawford, TX, GW Bush's “hometown,” i.e. the place where Bush's palatial family estate is located, has its own local newspaper, The Lone Star Iconoclast.

And it has something to say: Editorial, Opinion of the Publishers.

Read it.

Posted in Politics: US: 2004 Election | 2 Comments

Voting Republican This Year = Voting for Torture

It's not enough that Rumsfeld and probably Bush not just tacitly condoned but actively encouraged studies of optimal torture regimes, creating a climate in which undeniable and disgusting torture was used against Iraqi civilians, including children. And at Guantanamo (more). Even they at least had the hypocrisy to attempt to do the Iraq torture planning under wraps. (Hypocrisy being “the tribute vice pays to virtue”.) Meanwhile, at home, being too delicate to torture domestically, the Administration quietly subcontracted the job to Syria. (See my post almost exactly a year ago, Maher Arar Affair: What is the Pluperfect of 'Cynic'?.)

Comes now a group of Congressional Republicans who are pure vice, and are not even trying to hide it: they have proposed that US law be amended to remove protections against torture — ie to legitimate torture, to plan to torture — for people we label “terrorists” (modern unpersons). The full horrid details are at Obsidian Wings: Legalizing Torture. The key move would be to exclude “terrorists” from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The “terrorists” could be held in secret unless they could somehow overcome (without lawyers or witnesses?) a presumption of guilt. When they failed to overcome this impossible burden they could be subject to “extraordinary rendition” which is bureaucrat for “being ported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture”—a deportation that currently would be a serious violation of US law.

Anyone who votes for people capable of supporting these policies has blood on their hands. Not to mention what they are doing to the image of the US as the 'City on the Hill', the beacon to mankind. Once we descend into the torture pit, we're just arguing about circles in Hell.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Politics: US | 23 Comments

It’s Called “CYA”

Someone at Homeland Security has decided that the very worst thing that can happen to the USA is that terrorists would strike and Democrats would accuse the administration of being unprepared. So we get hundreds of scary “warnings,” none based on any evidence, create daily propaganda victories for our enemies, contribute to a generalized climate of fear and insecurity (which helps Bush poll numbers), and all gradually become desensitized to government warnings.

Consider this SCARY WARNING reported by today's Wall St. Journal

Amid rising tensions over a long-anticipated al Qaeda attack to disrupt the November elections, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau Investigation warned Florida law-enforcement officials that tomorrow's presidential debate at the University of Miami could be a terrorist target.

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. HIDE UNDER THE BEDS. WE'RE ALL DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.

“At this time, DHS and the FBI have not received any information regarding a specific terrorist threat to the first 2004 presidential debate,” the agencies told Florida's homeland-security adviser and the FBI's Miami field office.

Oh, never mind.

Posted in National Security | 3 Comments

America’s Finest News Source: “Documents Reveal Gaps in Bush’s Service”

It's irrefutable this time: Documents Reveal Gaps in Bush's Service. (Of course they could have found similar information via Yahoo.)

Posted in Completely Different | Leave a comment

Will My Vote Count?

I live in the ur-swing state. I'd like my vote to count. I'll be voting on an electronic voting machine with no paper trail. I don't trust it. Not at all. (Here's one more reason I don't trust the machines in use in my precinct.)

The most amazing thing about this to me as a person clinging to an increasingly sorely tested belief in the rule of law, is that the plain, plain, plain meaning of the relevant florida statute says that a machine with no backup records is illegal. Florida law demands the ability to do recounts in close elections. This theory is about to be tested in court — at last.

Continue reading

Posted in Florida, Politics: US: 2004 Election | 8 Comments

Presidential Debate?

Since basically none of us can get tickets to attend the debate being held here on campus Thursday night — all the tickets go to the press, except for a handful that go to students — it might as well be happening on Mars…except for the fact that we get three emails a day warning about Draconian security measures and a ban on parking on this side of the State line.

The Miami Herald pretty much captures the exicted atmosphere on campus in the first paragraphs of today's front-page story, Security is tight on a laid-back campus (obnoxious reg. req):

Security at the University of Miami tightened Monday as the presidential debate loomed: Barricades and fences appeared. Police cars prowled back roads. Students were warned to wear IDs around their necks — or face being booted off campus.

And, yet, there was undergrad Amy Pearlman, at the lip of a campus lake, sitting on a blue towel in her bathing suit, brow furrowed, studying a psychology textbook.

Her student ID? It was in her purse.

“I didn't want to get a tan line,” she said, shrugging.

In addition to this pix of a typical student, hard at work studying, please note, the Herald provides a link to the UM student debate blog … which seems slashdotted at the moment.

Posted in U.Miami | 2 Comments