Thursday, May 28, 2009

Conservative Talk Show Host Mancow Water Boarded.

Conservative talk show host Mancow Muller has been saying for some time now that water boarding is not torture and went so far as to say it would probably be like going for a swim and holding your breath underwater. Well, unlike Sean "my balls haven't dropped yet" Hannity, Mancow said he'd be water boarded. The first video is of the actual water boarding and the second is Keith Olbermann interviewing Mancow afterwards:

"I want to find out if it's torture," Mancow told his listeners Friday morning, adding that he hoped his on-air test would help prove that waterboarding did not, in fact, constitute torture."

"The average person can take this for 14 seconds," Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, "He's going to wiggle, he's going to scream, he's going to wish he never did this."
"Last year, Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens endured the same experiment -- and came to a similar conclusion. The conservative writer said he found the treatment terrifying, and was haunted by it for months afterward."

"Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture," Hitchens concluded in the article.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor is Not a Racist. Comments Taken Out of Context.

By now we've all heard the right-wingers calling the exceptionally well-qualified Judge Sonia Sotomayor as racist for these comments, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." And yes, on the face of it I can see how it might sound biased but how many of you have read the full speech and context surrounding that quote? We're talking about taking one sentence out of a five page speech.

First up, she said "...would more often than not reach a better conclusion..." which if racist would say "...would always reach a better conclusion..."

Second, her comments weren't some random remarks. She was speaking at a symposium entitled "Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation." She talked about her life experience as a Latina women and how it might give her better insight as a judge (and this is important) especially where issues of sex and race are at issue.

Such as on page three she says, "
The focus of my speech tonight, however, is not about the struggle to get us where we are and where we need to go but instead to discuss with you what it all will mean to have more women and people of color on the bench." I think that we can all agree that female judges would have better insight into women's issues than men and that a Latina would have better insight into racial cases. That's what she's saying.

And as if the white, Christian, conservative life that Roberts and Alito come from doesn't influence their views, insights and rulings. Just because the white culture is well established on the court and thus often ignored or overlooked versus that of a more fresh culture like that of a Latina women doesn't mean that this white culture still doesn't influence those white, male judges.

A white male judge might be better able to understand certain aspects of things whereas a Latina female might be able to understand other aspects better. What's the big deal? Don't we want judges who have different backgrounds and areas of expertise to reflect the different views within our country? Don't we want judges with different backgrounds and life experiences on the court? To better ensure that issues are considered from many different angles, and to better enable a just and wise decision? It's no different than how we all agree that we need women on the court to bring a woman's touch and understanding of issues that men aren't as adept at dealing with. For example:

Her status [Judge Ginsburg] as the court's lone woman was especially poignant during a recent case involving a 13-year-old girl who had been strip-searched by Arizona school officials looking for drugs. During oral arguments, some other justices minimized the girl's lasting humiliation, but Ginsburg stood out in her concern for the teenager.

"They have never been a 13-year-old girl," she told USA TODAY later when asked about her colleagues' comments during the arguments. "It's a very sensitive age for a girl. I didn't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood."

HBW: Sotomayor's speech and the context therein continues and I'll let her speak for herself at this point:

I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench.
HBW: Finally, a key statement at the end of the speech makes clear that she won't simply use her experience as a Latina women to make decisions and will be willing to listen to other view points. As well as work to keep her prejudices in check (as we all must do):
Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.
HBW: This context is very important to understanding the snippet that is being thrown around the media and from Conservatives looking to muddy up the water. They don't want you to know the context and that should tell you everything you need to know about Republicans today.

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Judge Sotomayor, Immigration, Race and Politics.

(Click image to enlarge)

I've been thinking about racial politics and immigration politics a lot the last few days as Judge Sotomayor's nomination has brought out the worst yet again in the Republican Party. I don't even want to repeat some of the stuff I've heard said about her by members of the "Incredible Shrinking Party"--Otherwise known as the Republican Party.

For a long time we all know that many, many Conservatives have said some pretty nasty, racist things about the Latino/Hispanic community. As well as opposing a path to citizenship supported by Democrats for those who have been here for decades and have born children who are American citizens!! They won't even (I'd say most of them--but not all of course) come half way and support some sort of comprehensive immigration reform. I am one Liberal who is proud that the Democratic Party supports immigrants--legal or otherwise.

Democrats are the party of immigrants and supporting immigrants is exactly what has made America great. I wouldn't be here right now if America hadn't accepted my Norwegian ancestors. And I imagine you wouldn't be either. People like to say Ellis Island was different but that's not true to anyone who knows history. Immigrants didn't get invitations to America--they just showed up. Just like today's immigrants--most Ellis Island immigrants were ILLEGAL.

And now Democrats have nominated the first Latino to the Supreme Court and so all these years of racist talk, discriminatory measures and opposition toward Latino/Hispanic immigrants and Latino/Hispanic legal immigrants is seriously backfiring on the Republicans. The Hispanic community is supposed to TRIPLE by 2050 and once again the ReTHUGlicans are on the wrong side of history. So they better think twice about rejecting her--especially if they do it harshly and from a viewpoint that looks prejudiced and unfair.

Did they really think all this anti-Latino/Hispanic immigration wouldn't backfire on them in the future? These clowns don't even support helping LEGAL immigrants (despite what they say). For example, Senator John Ensign of Nevada recently,
opposed a measure that would have removed a five-year waiting period before children of legal immigrants can access the program. "It would seem to me," Ensign said, "that we are giving more incentives for folks to come to the United States, not just to participate in the American dream but to come to the United States to get on the government dole."Two other high-ranking Republicans, Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, filed amendments that would also have eliminated the provision.
HBW: Apparently Republicans don't mind immigration unless you're dark skinned and speak Spanish. I mean, how many Conservatives bitch about all the illegal Canadians (who are 4th on the list of illegal-immigrants by country of origin)? Poland represents the 10th spot of illegal immigrants. A lot of people just over-stay their visas--again, many from white countries!! Yet you don't hear the outcry from Congress and the average Republicans about them.

And why do so many Republicans accept Puerto Ricans with pride but see Mexican illegal immigrants as vermin? (Personally I'm for accepting them both). It's o.k. for them to be here because Cuba is Communist? But if you happen to be from a Democratic country like Mexico you're screwed? Again, WTF??? I thought we support Democratic countries?

It was o.k. for our ancestors to arrive via Ellis Island without many questions asked but not the modern Ellis Island that is the Southern border? Don't these people realize that certain Americans have always said there were too many illegal immigrants being let into America? And that it would destroy America? Yet not only didn't those waves of immigrants destroy America--they made it stronger. "Historians and demographers (HBW: Including this historian) are clear about the bottom line: In the long run, New York City -- and the United States -- owes much of its economic resilience to replenishing waves of immigrants."

HBW: The English didn't want to see the Irish come and said they'd mess up the country. They also said that there were too many being let in. Sound familiar? Then the Irish turned around and said the same thing about the Italian wave of immigration and on and on.

So this anti-immigrant attitude has been around for a long time and the xenophobes weren't right then and they aren't right now.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

President Obama made history yet again by nominating the first Latina nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I'm thrilled because she is the candidate that I wanted Obama to pick and it will be hard for the Republicans to block the nomination of the first female, Latina Supreme Court Justice. I am also very excited that she will be a second female voice on the bench because one woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is embarrassing and unreflective of the male-female ratio in the country.

They lost the Latino vote by a wide margin, which was in part due to Republican vitriol against a comprehensive immigration plan and some outright bigotry toward Latinos. So the Republicans have to find way to thread that needle without turning off the Latino population even more. If they're not careful they'll lose the Latino vote for a generation or more like the African-American population. I'm not saying that they should vote for her nomination simply because she is female and Latino but it is something that they need to seriously consider.

Sotomayor came from a very humble background in the Bronx including her father dying when she was nine. Her is a classic, American story being a first generation American from Puerto Rican parents. She was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 8 but that didn't stop her from graduating from Princeton summa cum laude and then graduating from Yale law school (she was also valedictorian of her high school graduation class). So we know that she understands the issues of the lower to middle class and not just the hallowed walls of the Ivy League schools and the blue blood elite.

She will be uniquely able to understand the growing needs of the fastest growing minority in America--Latinos. It is about time that a Latino be nominated for a court that is supposed to represent all Americans--not just old, white, pasty, men. I'm excited to learn more about her.

UPDATE: Typical conservative response, “Judge Sotomayor may indeed be dumb and obnoxious; but she’s also female and Hispanic, and those are the things that count nowadays.”

Keep on calling her dumb and obnoxious because all it does is show that you don't have anything substantive to say about her. And it doesn't do much to show the Latino community that Conservatives have anything to offer Latinos except insults and contempt. It tells me that she scares conservatives with her accomplishments and so they're resorting to name calling. It's what every bully does when they know that they're out gunned. If she's so "dumb" then how did gain all these accolades?
She also was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. Sotomayor then went to Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order.
TPJ: The Conservatives are talking too as if she is some token appointment but she's been on the bench for 3 decades. A judge doesn't serve that long if they are only in that position due to their race or gender. And in her long career she has ruled on issues involving just about every area of law. And that's not qualified? Naw, this is all smoke and mirrors by the Conservatives--name calling isn't going to be an adequate enough response if they want to deny her that seat.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gay U.S. Diplomats Will Receive Equal Benefits.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will soon announce that gay American diplomats will be given benefits similar to those that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy, U.S. officials said Saturday. In a notice to be sent soon to State Department employees, Clinton says regulations that denied same-sex couples and their families the same rights and privileges that straight diplomats enjoyed are "unfair and must end," as they harm U.S. diplomacy. "Providing training, medical care and other benefits to domestic partners promote the cohesiveness, safety and effectiveness of our posts abroad," she says in the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"It will also help the department attract and retain personnel in a competitive environment where domestic partner benefits and allowances are increasingly the norm for world-class employers," she says. "At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners because it is the right thing to do," Clinton says.


TPJ: Wonderful, wonderful news!! 2009 has been (so far) a great year for gay rights and this State Department ruling by Clinton (thank-you Hilary!!) is not just a common sense, Constitutional decision but it makes great national security sense. I am sure some employees of the State Department (and/or our armed forces) who are GLBT might feel frustrated fighting for freedoms of a country that doesn't grant them the same freedoms as straight Americans.

I remember an embarrassing and appauling story when the Iraq war was in full swing of desperately needed Middle-Eastern and Central Asian language experts were being dismissed from the CIA upon discovery of them being GLBT. I was enraged at our narrow-minded and dangerous thinking that we'd prefer making some "moral" statement about sexuality during a time of war than ensuring that our national security and intelligence efforts were the best they could be. Hopefully thinks will change further toward getting rid of the DADT (Don't ask, don't tell) rule, which is this stupid policy in the military where they won't ask you if your GLBT but if you tell them that you are then you're kicked out of the armed forces!!

Never mind that fact that you could be the most important member of your team or an expert sharp-shooter. And clearly that person's sexuality wasn't impacting the effectiveness of the overall mission of the unit when no one knew of their sexual orientation. Yet somehow once they are "outted" they are no longer a benefit to the unit? At that point the experience, talent and ability are no longer worthwhile because knowing that him or her is gay somehow threatens the coesiveness of the unit?

This is an old stereotype of gays that they can't "keep it in their pants" and would hit on their fellow soldiers in the middle of a battle causing unit breakdown. This is obviously to any rational, thinking person safe with their own sexuality an absurd and bigoted line of thinking. That's like saying a straight soldier would get some irresistable urge to drop their pants and masturbate all over their fellow soldier while fighting in a fox hole!! See how stupid it sounds when flipped around? Come on people it only makes sense that in a dangerous world we need all hands on deck. We can't afford, (nor should we even if we could afford) letting these otherwise talented and qualified individuals from serving in our armed forces and State Department or any other governmental position for that matter. And that includes Especially if we want to continue to pride ourselves on an all volunteer military.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Jonathan Alter: Cheney Was Not Living Up to Own Standards on Using Torture to Protect America.

On, "The Ed Show" on MSNBC last night, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek had a great point to add in regard to this Cheney/Bush administration debate:

They [Bush administration] stopped the torture in 2005, right. So for the entire second term of the Bush administration they were not using these so-called, "enhanced interrogation techniques." In other words, Dick Cheney--by his own standards was not keeping us safe in the entire second term of the Bush administration because others in that administration had won the debate. So not only is he on the wrong side of Barack Obama, he's on the wrong side (as the president pointed out today) of many people in the Bush administration who had their way in the second term and realized that these techniques were not making us safer.

***Be sure to read my first post today, which is below this post. It addresses some other great points regarding this torture debate...

Conversation on Hardball Over Cheney, Torture and Releasing Confidential Memos.

"Hardball with Chris Matthews" was some great viewing for political junkies and wonks last night. It was a conversation about torture, Gitmo, Dick Cheney, memos and water boarding. There were some great comments so I wrote some of them down for a post today. Enjoy!!

Why didn’t we us it [water boarding] on the 75 people that the Bush/Cheney administration let out of gitmo. They let 75 out who’ve gone back to terrorism. Why didn’t they water board those guys before they left and found out what their plans were?

-Laurence O’Donnell

TPJ: Exactly. If water boarding works then why didn’t they do it on those guys to find out what terrorist plots and plans they had in mind to go back to? The next two quotes are in regards to Cheney wanting to release information on classified information that Cheney claims will show the tactics worked.

Let’s look at the bigger question for just a second. When you listen to what the Vice-President is saying [Cheney] it’s fascinating to me because when I think about him I don’t think about transparency, number one. But number two, now all of a sudden what he’s saying is, “Now that I’m not in a position to actually release all of these information [sic], now I want I want it released.” It’s extraordinary!!

–Radio talk show host and former CIA Special Agent Jack Rice.

There’s a provision in the classification system that says you specifically can not release information that includes what you obtained in interrogations. That is specifically what should not be released in declassification—Cheney knows it, the Bush/Cheney administration enforced that particular provision and championed it. Just pay attention to the logic of this, the guys says that releasing this classified information (as much as has been released so far) is harmful to the safety of Americans and his solution to that is to release more?!! Pay attention to the twisted logic of this man.

-Lawrence O’Donnell.

TPJ: Also, In his speech today, Dick Cheney made a not so funny dig at President Obama for going over on his speech so that the media could cover Cheney’s speech!! Hey Dickhead!! You’re not in the White House anymore—the press will choose the current president over the ex-Vice-President every time. What a megalomaniac.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Believe the Fear Mongering. We Can House Terrorists in American Prisons.

Dickless Cheney's fear brigade is screaming around today like sirens that pierce the brain and cause blood to dribble out. He's bitching about President Obama's decision to keep some of the terrorists at Guantanamo here on American soil. Nevermind the fact that Guantanamo Bay military facility is American soil but then again when did Cheney ever let facts get in the way. He's up talking at the American Enterprise Institute in a manner that suggests he has any credibility left--except of maybe the Limbaugh crowd who'd follow to Hell.

But here's the thing Dickhead Cheney, Guantanamo Bay Military Facility is technically American soil!!! So we already have terrorists on American soil dipshit. Some might argue, "Well but it's a military base, which is makes it much harder for them to escape." Oh yeah? Well get this you "not in my backyard" whiners--We have a maximum security military prison in the heartland of America at Fort Levenworth, Kansas.

Oh but the spineless politicians don't want them going to Fort Leavenworth (a maximum security military prison) because they are worried they'd be a terrorist target. Or that they'd break out of prison, which doesn't give much credit to the fine men and women guarding that military prison. Second, Gitmo surely has been a terrorist target for years and yet not one prisoner has escaped and not one attack occured. Fort Leavenworth is a military base like Gitmo and if a small military base on the tip of Cuba, which is practically out in the middle of the Atlantic can defend itself from an attack then so can a prison in the middle of Kansas.

Here in Colorado where I live we have one of the most secure prisons in America. It's referred to as, "supermax" and has many hardened, ruthless, killers--some of the worst in America and I feel safe as can be. I trust our prison guards, officials, staff and FBI who are well trained over years and years of experience on how to handle unique prisoners. I thought Republicans and Cheney were all about supporting the first responders and our troops as being patriotic but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is and take some of these prisoners they say our first responders and military at military prisons can't handle it? I thought our military and first responders were the best in the world--which they are--So why the lack of confidence? To throw a charge back at you that you so often wrongfully threw at us liberals, "Why do you hate America so much?"

Nice confidence and way to stand up for our first responders--use them to sell your fear and charges of unpatriotism against people but when it comes time to back up those words with action they collapse like a folding chair. So send all 100 of them here--we can handle them. We already have some here:

Zacarias Moussaoui, Conspirator in the September 11, 2001 attacks
Omar Abdel-Rahman, "The Blind Sheik"; involved in 1993 WTC bombing
Richard Colvin Reid, Islamic terrorist, nicknamed the "Shoe Bomber"
Wadih el-Hage, Conspirator in the 1998 US embassy bombings
Mahmud Abouhalima, Islamic Mujahideen leader, 1993 WTC bombing
Jose Padilla, Convicted of aiding terrorists
Mohammed A. Salameh, 1993 WTC bombing
In fact, Salameh (along with Mohammed Saleh and Victor Alvarez, convicted in a separate plot to bomb several targets in NYC) had spent many years in Leavenworth, specifically the federal penitentiary. So did Thomas Silverstein, who the BBC once called "America's most dangerous prisoner." Furthermore, Padilla had spent time in the Charleston brig, where another "enemy combatant," Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, currently resides. As far as the prison on Ft. Leavenworth, serial killer Ronald Gray has spent the last 20 years there. Also, during World War II, 14 German prisoners of war were transferred to the USDB after killing their fellow inmates.
TPJ: And we haven't so much as heard a peep from them as far as breaking out or even misbehaving, have you heard of any incidents? I sure haven't and I live here!! Our state has many military bases as well so even if one of two of these guys escapes they'd be tracked down in a hurry--as most prisoners are in America on the rare occasions they escape. Besides, breaking out of supermax would take a lot of work. And as I say we have hundreds of gang members safely housed who are basically domestic terrorists in prisons all across America. There is a tiny town in Montana, which has a brand new, maximum security prison that is standing empty waiting to house these terrorists. In fact, the city council voted unanimously to house those "detainees" there. In fact, they said they could take 40% of the terrorists currently being held at Gitmo!! Plus, it would help create desperately needed jobs:
TPJ: Cheney went on to say in his speech that we'd have to use tax payer dollars to house these terrorists on the mainland but how does he think we've been paying to house them in Gitmo???

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Steele: Republicans Are Done Apologizing. WTF???

RNC Chairman Michael Steele said yesterday that the Republican party is done apologizing for the past but I for one am wondering, "When did the "era of apologizing" that Steele is talking about BEGIN??

When have they apologized for anything in the last 8 years or since??? When did they apologize for misleading us into Iraq, deregulation of the economy that precipitated this economic mess, the debacle of handling Hurricane Katrina and water boarding?

When was the mea culpa for favoring tax cuts to the rich over the middle-class--especially during a war, shipping jobs overseas, destroying our image abroad and for the treasonous outing of an undercover CIA operative? As one commentator said on "The Huffington Post," "The GOP has learned nothing, has admitted nothing and has apologized for nothing."

Maybe he means that the Republican "leaders" are done apologizing to Rush Limbaugh for daring to disagree with him? Are you kidding me??? They won't stand up to Rush and the other thugs in their party like Cheney because the Republican party is like the mafia or a gang. They follow their "leaders" like loyal soldiers even if it means going right over the cliff.

Then Steele said the Republicans are no longer looking back and living in the past "Today we are declaring an end to the era of Republicans looking backward," he announced. Then, however, in the same sentence he hearkens back to the Reagan days, which is LOOKING BACK and LIVING IN THE PAST Mr. Steele!!! Reagan was THREE DECADES AGO!!! Man, they really just don't get it. I mean how thick-skulled do you have to be to believe the manure coming out of this mans pie hole???

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Ticking Time Bomb Scenario is Mental Masturbation.

Those of you have been opposed to "enhanced interrogation technique"/water boarding or what most sane and feeling people would call torture have probably heard of the "ticking time bomb scenario:"

Right now, across Los Angeles, timers on dozens of toxic nerve-gas canisters are set to detonate in just hours and send some two million Americans to their deaths in writhing agony.

But take hope. We have one chance, just one, to avert this atrocity and save the lives of millions. Agent Jack Bauer of the Counter Terrorist Unit has his hunting knife poised over the eye of a trembling traitor who may know the identity of those who set these bombs. As a clock ticks menacingly and the camera focuses on knife point poised to plunge into eyeball, the traitor breaks and identifies the Muslim terrorists, giving Agent Bauer the lead he needs to crack this case wide open.

TPJ: First of all this assumes that the suspect in custody would even know where the bomb is located. These terrorists groups (al-Qaeda in particular) are highly intelligent and methodical planners. They are known for plots where the individual actors who carry out those attacks don't know any more information than what is needed for their particular part of the plot.

Second, even if they do know where the bomb is set to go off and we torture them doesn't mean they are going to tell us accurate information. These guys are often trained to resist torture (after all they are willing to blow themselves up) and all they have to do is tell their torturers that it is located in New York City when in reality it is in Los Angeles. So we go to lock down NYC because of that information and in the mean time the bomb goes off in L.A. KABOOM!!

Third, this scenario assumes that we can't get information from other methods, which many former CIA officials have now said are effective. Ex-CIA official, "This was torture." One in particular, Ali Soufan testified recently to Congress:
It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
TPJ: Fourth, Let’s say you’ve caught a suspect and you’re sure he’s a terrorist, and you’re sure there’s a nuclear bomb somewhere in Manhattan, and you’re sure he knows where it is, and you’re sure this particular terrorist has been trained to resist torture just long enough that you could never get the true location of the bomb out of him in time. But you’re also sure this particular terrorist is a pervert! And he tells you that if you’ll rape your own child in front of him, he’ll tell you exactly where the bomb is and how to disarm it. And you’re sure that he will, because your intelligence is that good in exactly that way.

Wow! Fascinating hypothetical, huh? And it’s only slightly more far-fetched than the more familiar ticking time bomb scenario, in which you must torture the suspect to save all those innocent people. Both versions have to be laid out awfully precisely. In my scenario, I even assume the nuclear terrorist has been trained to resist torture for a time. Improbably, Alan Dershowitz—the torture enthusiast and original time bomb booster—does not.

So how come we hear so much about the torture quandary and nothing about mine? Why, according to Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay in a November 2005 Knight-Ridder report, has Dick Cheney adverted to the Alan Dershowitz version “several times” and mine never? Why does Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) tell the New York Daily News editorial board that various torture techniques “are very rare, but if they occur there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that,” at least in “those instances where we have sufficient basis to believe that there is something imminent,”
but never says anything about creating “some lawful authority” for emergency incest?

TPJ: A spin-off of the "ticking time bomb" scenario is raising the stakes to include your child to say, "What if a terrorist kidnapped your loved one and the terrorist was going to kill them in an hour if their demands weren't met? And the authorities capture someone who knows where the terrorist location is and they ask you if they should torture him for the critical information? Would you give the go ahead?

First of all it is highly unlikely that I would be the one asked on what to do in this scenario. Second, If we are going to allow people to torture someone who knows where a loved one is being held hostage then isn't that saying we are now for vigilante justice? Are we back to the Wild, Wild, West days? When have any professional law enforcement officials, CIA agents, FBI, agents and White House officials ever asked a private citizen if they should torture someone? Second, our security officials are the best at hostage negotiations and have done it for decades and they have never had to resort to torture. I realize this impossibly improbable hypothetical scenario seeks to pull at your heart strings to get you to say you'd sacrifice your values and liberties to save a loved one.

The torture advocates say that we can't be so stringent with our moral absolutes but then what about negotiating with terrorists? We hear this all the time from Conservatives that it's not worth the price to negotiate with terrorists because it makes us look weak and emboldens the enemy. Well, so does torture.

Of course we all want to protect our family and loved ones but consider this:

The notion that U.S. policy should be determined by the fact that “we’d all be for it” if our own kid were kidnapped is just too egregiously stupid to have to refute. That’s precisely why we have institutions such as the police and courts and prisons; indeed, the very purpose of a criminal justice system – of civilization itself – is the imposition of a consistent standard of justice in place of arbitrary acts of private vengeance.

TPJ: Only narrow-minded Neo-Cons would want to base our government on vigilante justice. Once you let citizens torture people who threaten the lives of their loved ones, where do you draw the line? Can citizens form a posse and torture those who might be possible suspects of being a serial killer terrorizing a city? Police often have many suspects that they are investigating but time is ticking folks!! Remember, the ticking clock is against us!! We better go out and torture every person who we think might be the serial killer because the life of my loved ones is in danger!!! (rolls eyes). While we're at it why don't we just change our official style of government to an Anarchy.

Yes, people do commit violence in a cloud of emotion including, "...murdering someone who harmed their child, that's why we have the rule of law. To prevent the ones who've lost a loved one, however that happened, from being the ones to mete out punishment. We all have our rage. We all could potentially "lose it" - and we need to have laws to restrain ourselves when that happens."

TPJ: What if the terrorist said he'd give up the information if you denied your faith in your "God?" Or what if they said they'd give up the information where you loved one is located if you rape a different loved one in front of him like mentioned in the ticking time bomb scenario above? Or what if the captured terrorist who knows where the bomb is that will wipe out millions but would give up that information if you allow your own loved one to be tortured in front of him because this terrorist is a sick, sadomasochist? Would you let your loved one be tortured to save the lives of millions of people? This next one especially applies pro-life, right-wingers, "Would you torture the unborn child of a terrorist if you knew it would save your loved one? See, I can come up with any number of equally absurd scenarios and questions of values/liberties versus the illusion of security.

And what if we torture this person and they die before they give up the information because the water boarding was pushed too far but we know that his 12 year old son knows the information of the bombs location because he is being groomed for a leadership position--Do we torture him too? Are we prepared to torture children? What if the information was in a micro-chip that a terrorist had his 9 week old son swallow it to ensure a backup copy. Would you dissect the infant to get the information? See what happens when you start using ridiculous, hypothetical thought experiment scenarios? The future is full of "What if..." questions.

And finally:

Intelligence officials have repeatedly rejected the idea of a ticking time bomb scenario. Jack Cloonan, who spent 25 years as an FBI special agent and interrogated members of al Qaeda, said that he has “been hard pressed to find a situation where anybody” can say “that they’ve ever encountered the ticking bomb scenario” when interrogating terrorists. He said it is a “red herring” and “[i]n the real world it doesn’t happen.”

TPJ: Oh and one more thing, if water boarding "isn't that bad" and "not torture" then why won't Sean Hannity submit to it? The loud mouth, Conservative, torture advocate, talk show host recently said, he'd submit to water boarding for charity:
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Investigate Nancy Pelosi Along with the Rest.

I have never much liked Nancy Pelosi even though I'm a proud Liberal, however, I'm not a "party over principle" kind of guy. Nor am I a, "person over principle." I am proud that It was the Democrats who nominated the first female Speaker of the House but I would have much preferred someone like Barbara Boxer over Nancy Pelosi whom I've always thought seemed a bit shifty.

Anyway, her answers on what she knew about water boarding and when she knew. It is suspicious but she's innocent until proven guilty as is Cheney and the rest of the Bushies though they look pretty damn guilty!! I get very annoyed with people from both parties who are loyal to a fault and simply spew knee-jerk defenses of anyone who shares a similar political view point or ideology as they do. Sometimes the right thing means going against your team. Though I will say that I find it annoying, sadly typical and revolting that the Cheney-Limbaugh party has suddenly become interested in transparency, accountability and the rule of law!!!

I will say though that now that there is a Democrat in question that the investigation into the torture issue needs to be seperated from Congress. It has become way to politicized and thus an independent investigator is the best avenue to find the truth and the best way to avoid accusations of taint by the majority party.

I nominate Patrick Fitzgerald who investigated Scotter Libby and Blago. If this investigation turns up Democrats who signed off on these torture techniques then let the chips fall where they may. I want everyone who was involved in this cancerous mess to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Accountability must trump party affiliation.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ali Soufan Versus Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration.

A former FBI undercover agent who questioned al Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee today that the most valuable information gained from interrogating him was not produced by using waterboarding or other harsh methods. Ali Soufan, testifying behind a screen to conceal his identity, said it was his questioning that yielded a breakthrough bit of intelligence -- that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the 9/11 attack mastermind.

By contrast, he said, when the CIA's contractors used their harsh methods, including waterboarding, they got nothing because Zubaydah shut down. Soufan said the Justice Department memos incorrectly said that the harsh methods produced that intelligence nugget. Soufan also said it was his questioning, not the CIA's, that produced information about Jose Padilla. Soufan was ultimately ordered by FBI Director Robert Mueller to take no further part in the interrogation, out of the FBI's concern that the CIA's methods were over the line.

TPJ: Soufan is but the latest in a string of ex CIA, FBI and military officials who has said that water boarding (torture) was useless in gaining useful information. I saw one ex-CIA official on t.v. last night who was apart of interrogations in Iraq who state that most regimes that use water boarding are looking for a false confession. Thus, showing that people admit to anything while being tortured, which should make anyone question the efficacy of it. In other related news:

WASHINGTON - A former Bush administration adviser told a congressional hearing Wednesday that White House officials tried to destroy copies of a memo he wrote arguing against the use of waterboarding and other enhanced techniques. Philip Zelikow, who served as a top adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2005 until 2007, argued in the memo that some of the tactics used on suspected terrorists violated the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Zelikow said White House officials attempted to collect and destroy copies of his memo but failed. The document now is being reviewed for possible declassification, he said.

"The U.S. government over the past seven years adopted an unprecedented program ... of cool and calculated dehumanizing abuse and physical torment to extract information," Zelikow added. Earlier, an expert told senators that the legal memos used by the Bush administration to support harsh interrogation techniques represented an "ethical train wreck." Zelikow said he was later told that his memo was "not considered appropriate for further discussion."

TPJ: Good point on the cruel and unusual punishment. Yeah, we don't waterboard other criminals to elicit a confession or to tell us where the bodies are buried if they are a serial killer. And we don't waterboard suspects of killings because there is still a killer on the loose. Police can't argue that it's necessary to stop the killer from killing again. And while these prisoners aren't American citizens the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture that we signed and promised we'd uphold does forbid cruel and unusual punishment. Wouldn't you say that waterboarding someone and/or making them strip naked and wear women's dirty panties on their heads to be cruel and "unusual" at best?

And if the Cheney, Bush and Rice were confident that what they were doing wasn't torture and cruel and unusual punishment then why did they try to confiscate and destroy memos challenging those "techniques?" And why did they try to silence that official by saying his challenges weren't allowed to be further discussed?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Dick Cheney Keeps Shrinking the Republican Tent. Keep Talking Dickhead.

On "Face the Nation" on Sunday former Vice-President (and Dr. Evil stand-in) Dick Cheney tried to defend the use of torture techniques by saying that there was a possibility that al-Qaeda could smuggle a nuclear device into America. By his logic a guy could break into the home of someone living in the same neighborhood as the person that robbed his house to prevent another person from that neighborhood from breaking into his house again.

Yet Cheney keeps throwing this crap out there that not torturing is going to lead to another terrorist attack. Look, the law of averages in addition to the near impossibility of totally eliminating terrorism ensures that'll we'll be attacked again in some form whether we torture prisoners or not. Ask Israel whether torture stops terrorist attacks. They were found to have tortured prisoners in the past to "save lives" as Cheney claims yet despite those actions Israel has been attacked over and over. This is just one example of why torture doesn't work. So It sounds like old Dickhead is betting on another attack to try a deseperate, twisted ploy to ressurect his image.

Speaking of torture there appears to be a big report about to be released from the White House that shows torture doesn't work--read more about it here. Plus, former CIA agent Jack Rice has a good point on this issue with the Bush administration/Cheney and torture:
Cheney also pressed the Obama administration to release memos that he says will prove valuable intelligence was gleaned from torture.

“Look, you know what, I’d like to see all the memos, really …” said Rice. “I find it hypocritical from the vice president when he says, ‘I wanna see everything released.’ And he says this as soon as he’s not in a position to release them? If he really wanted to release these before, he could have. He could have gone down the process, and I’m sure nobody would have stood in the way. Instead, he waits until he’s out and says, ‘Oh, well, I would have done it.’”

TPJ: Now Dick Cheney is saying the Republican party doesn't want former General Colin Powell because he endorsed Barack Obama for president. So much for the Republicanistical party allowing for other opinions and views as they claim they are trying to do now. Not only are they the shrinking party but apparently now they are rejecting decorated general's who have led this country into battle over an arrogant, insensitive, chicken hawk, loud mouth talk show host like Rush Limbaugh. Just listen to Cheney, (who is apparently the voice of the party right now because he's on every damn talk show out there) when asked if he'd choose Powell of Rush:

Asked whether he would side with Powell over Rush Limbaugh [Colin Powell] about the future of the GOP (moderation vs. doubling down on core principles), Cheney sided definitively with the brash talk radio host. "If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh," he said.

TPJ: Well I am one Democrat who would be proud, happy and excited to welcome former Secretary of State General Colin Powell to the party. As well as any other Republicans who feel alienated, insulted and angered by the Republican party. We want to get things done for America and if you feel the same way then let's link arms and support Obama's agenda to move the country forward.

The Democrats want to help Americans finally get affordable health care, help the economy recover and get more people back to work in good paying jobs. We'll let the Republicans play games while the adults get to work. So come on over General--let us help you escape "The Matrix" (i.e. The Republicanistical Party). We have a great recovering Republicans program. You'll meet many former Republicans with horror stories like your own where you'll be accepted with open arms. I would be ecstatic to run against the Cheney/Limbaugh ticket in 2012.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

And This Guy is the "New" Hope for the Republican Party?

I keep hearing the name of Newt Gingrich bandied about when discussing the current leaders of the Republican Party. I also often hear his name being mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2012.

The Republicanistical Party lost the last two, big elections because people rejected their old and failed ideas and leaders and saw them as too conservative for a changing America. So what do they do to rejuvenate the party with claims of new ideas and new leaders? They trot out Newt Gingrich, dust him off, turn his crank and off he goes mouthing the same damn shit he/they said in the last two elections but with more aggressiveness and paranoia.

He represents the "old guard" of the Republicanistical Party and yet he is being repackaged by the party and sent out to convince us that he is one of the "the new faces" of the party. Along with "new" leaders like Mitt Romney, John McCain and former Governor Jeb Bush. If we realized anything with this last election it was that America is moving toward the middle-left. Republicans aren't going to win elections by instinctively clinging further to outdated ideas on health care, deregulation, gay rights and renewable energy.

So Newt was on FOX News this morning talking about Obama's shut down of the infamous, torture plagued Guantanamo Bay prison camp. He like many panic and fear driven people that make up today's Republicanistical Party don't seem to believe in America's homeland security department, which ironically was created by their buddy Bush!! I'm speaking in regards to the Republicans freaking out over the potential plan of putting some of the detainees in our supermax prisons.

The delusion goes something like this: "If we put them in our prisons then they might break out and kill more Americans." O.k., first of all this is insulting those in the Homeland Security Departyment who would be tasked with imprisoning these guys. Not too mention insulting all the fine and capable prison guards in America. Like I said, the same HSD that the Republicans created and adored so much. But to get to the main point, yeah there is a chance that they could escape and kill more Americans--just like by the way every fucking murderer in any prison in America today!! And the terrorists have shown that they don't care about the individual--it's all about the mission and the "great, holy struggle."

So if one of them get's imprisoned in our strongest and most secure prisons--supermax prisons they probably wouldn't waste their planning and operatives in a bold and reckless attempt at springing one or two guys. And again, that's not giving much credit to how impossible these prisons are to escape from. Even the rare instances when a criminal escapes from them they are usually hunted down and recaptured in a matter of days. The other thing that these socially ignorant assholes forget is that our prisons are already full of terrorists anyway and we handle them pretty damn good. I'm speaking of all the gangs that populate prison whether Bloods, Crips, MS-13 or the Aryan Brotherhood these guys are all domestic terrorists.

Terrorism is at its foundation an ideology, which seeks to intimidate and terrorize the law abiding population into doing what they want or doing nothing to stop them. Think about this, Reading the FBI stats, in the last 20 years, about 11,000 (!!!!!!!!) people have been killed as a result of gang violence in LA County alone. Thats the equivalent of a WTC death toll every 4 years, and in *one county alone*. If you don't think that gangs like MS-13 and others aren't intimidating and terrorizing citizens of communities then you need to study up on them more. Another label attached to terrorists is that they use violence to achieve an ideological goal such as purging America of all non-whites as seen in Aryan, Nazi, Neo-Nazi and the KKK groups.

You may say that the only thing (as if this is a small thing) that gangs do is commit crime but not terrorize. Tell that to the person who got in their way and was gunned down or to the person forced to pay them bribes to prevent them from robbing and shooting up their store. Or to the kids who have nightmares because they saw a bloody gang fight over territory. Traditional terrorists are territorial too and will kill anyone who threatens their strongholds and bases. Terrorists commit "basic crime" as well to finance their operations selling drugs just like street gangs here in America to buy weapons and power. So if we can deal with isolating gang populations in prisons and keep them from escaping then I think we can handle doing the same with international terrorists.

Besides, many of our excellent prison guards are ex-military and I have every faith in military trained personal to handle these types of violent prisoners. Newt claims that putting these terrorists in our prisons will be "putting them on welfare" because we'd have to pay for their basic needs. Yeah, Newt--you mean as opposed to the tax dollars we had to spend to care for their needs at Gitmo? I know that you guys are big on privatizing our military but I didn't think you'd forget that our tax dollars pay for everything that the military does. So we've been paying for them anyway. And can we really put a price tag on our security?

One thing else to keep in mind is that perhaps our regular prison system is exactly the kind of place where they need to be as the prison population already there wouldn't coddle them to say the least. They'd be marked men and would probably be in solitary confinement, which makes them easier to guard!! So what else do you have to say oh wise "fresh voice" in the Republican party" Newt?

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Republican Party Ideas, Maine Legalizes Gay Marriage and Arnold Calls for Debate on Pot.

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In other news: AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom. “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

“Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’”

This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State,” Governor Baldacci said.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Seeks Debate on Marijuana Legalization:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that Californians should have a debate over the legalization of marijuana and study how marijuana taxation has worked in other countries. Schwarzenegger famously said in the film Pumping Iron, “It’s not a drug, it’s a leaf”

TPJ: It seems to me like the momentum of pot legalization/decriminalization has really reached the tipping point and will soon be a reality. There are enough people who have spoken out who are showing that prohibition of pot is a waste of resources, lives and time that could be better spent investigating cold cases, meth labs, child abusers and domestic abuse. Think about it for a moment, which is more a threat--a smiling pot smoker responsibly enjoying it in the privacy of their own home or domestic abuse?

And it isn't just pot smokers who are speaking out like in previous decades--now there are police chiefs, judges, lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists and many others standing up for ending the prohibition insanity. Judges and cops especially see the frustration first hand with the insanity of our pot laws having to put non-violent drug offenders in prison where they only learn to be a TRUE criminal.

Pot makes people much, less violent and abusive whereas alcohol increases the likely hood of violence, abuse and addiction. I'm not saying that pot is the answer for everyone or for everything (it shouldn't be just like alcohol shouldn't be the answer to everything) but I just think it's been unfairly demonized from decades of propaganda. Pot simply isn't physically addictive--you can quit it anytime you want and maybe be a little grumpy the first day but from then on it's no withdrawals and no shakes that even coffee withdrawals give you!!

It's very easy on the body and helps like nothing else when you have any kind of stomach pain or discomfort. It is great too for easing the pain of artheritis and other painful conditions that don't require heavy pain medications. It is also helpful if you are someone sensitive to pain meds like I am. I hate pain meds like Vicodin and Oxycontin as they make me sick to my stomach and the only thing that eases those side effects is pot. There are some kinds of medical problems that demand opiates but it makes it hard to keep them down if you're throwing up from them and so pot helps keep them down.

And think about this, pot has practically zero withdrawals unlike many of the legal, prescribed, FDA approved medicines for my mental disorder. If I miss just one day of my Lexapro I get extremely sick to my stomach, feel shaky, vomit violently and my head wildly spins making me dizzy and thus nauseous even more!! And that is a drug deemed "safe!!" Yet pot, which is all natural has no where near those kinds of side effects when stopping and will get you thrown in jail!! This has gotten out of hand and is extremely counter productive.

Pot has literally saved my life at times and has been very helpful in dealing with my mental disorder Schizoaffective. The Bipolar side of my condition is hard to treat, especially when it is combined with rapid cycling, which I experience. It basically means you cycle faster and more erractically than in some other forms of the disease. Psych meds to reduce mania, anxiety and paranoia are great and work fairly quickly but not so with depression. It's hard to treat depression in a fine tuned manner--especially when dealing with a sudden onset of suicidal depression.

If you are manic and need to come down quickly you can take a drug like Ativan, which I do and it helps bring you back to a balanced emotional state. However, there is no quick, equivilant for depression. As many of you know I struggle with suicidality--It's nothing I'm ashamed of in the least. And I can't tell you how many times having some pot on hand to smoke has gotten me through those suicidal moments. It takes my mind off the suicidal, violent thoughts and makes me instantly happier.

It is the only thing that I have found, which can quickly end suicidal thoughts and the death spiral in can trigger. It buffers my mind against such destructive thoughts until my brain has worked them out of the thought process. When you are in a dangerous moment you need something to break you out of that death spiral and simply saying, "Don't think about this" doesn't work in the least. In fact it often makes it worse. Pot instantly makes me laugh and want to watch something funny or listen to something positive like Bob Marley whereas if I just try and tough out a suicidal episode I can resist listening to depressing music to validate my feelings or watch some heavy, depressing movie to wallow in my pain.

So how can a plant that is less addictive than alcohol that saves my life be morally wrong? When you oppose something just because it's illegal already you start getting into some real mental gymnastics. Such as basically saying that you'd rather I be dangerously suicidal than not because to end that suicidality I might smoke pot, which is illegal and opposes your personal beliefs. So which is more important, your personal opinion and beliefs or my life? So be careful before you condemn pot users and if you've never tried it then I'll have a hard time taking your opinions seriously. Don't knock it until you've tried it. It helps a lot of people and It's not unlike drinking a glass or two of wine only without the negative side effects of alcohol and not many condemn those who enjoy wine responsibly after work.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Miss California Doesn't Want to be Judged Despite Judging Gays.

Well, well, well. Remember Miss California Carrie Prejean and her comment against gay marriage or as she so aptly and scholarly put it, "Opposite Marriage." Well now she doesn't understand why people are so judging of her boob job, willingness to wear clothing that's not befitting of traditional values and now appearing in a racy photo wearing nothing but her panties. Hardly the behavior of someone acting as an example of traditional values.

She's against gay marriage, which to many is a moral judgment. Yet when we look into her life and see things that don't comport with her own religious image of sexual morality (i.e. Wearing skimpy clothing in swim suit and lingerie photo shoots) and call her on that hypocrisy then we are being intolerant of her?!! It's a classic manipulation technique of these two-faced self-righteous bigots.

She goes on to say that, "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos." Yes, they do but not Christian models who make a big deal out of traditional values, which include dressing modestly and not showing off your "ahem" assets.

I know this because I was raised in such a "traditional values" home and dressing in a suggestive manner was considered being lude, immoral and an offense toward "God"--thus making Miss California (like the rest of us evil, non-Christian types) a sinner. Yet that doesn't stop her from condemning people who's only wish is to cultivate love and commitment to each other in the form of a marriage contract. So it's o.k. for a "traditional values" Christian to not support increasing the number of loving and committed relationships in our society but she is o.k. with dressing like she's a stripper???

Her, "I can judge you but you can't judge me" thought process continues with her saying, "I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be. But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive. While we may not agree on every issue, we should show respect for others' opinions and not try to silence them through vicious and mean-spirited attacks."

HBW: Oh now you admit you're imperfect after insulting millions of people? Now you're the victim--classic martyr complex. You say that you're against gay marriage because you believe in traditional, Christian values, which say that gays are an abomination to God. Then you turn around and get offended when people look into your personal life and find things that don't match what you say and believe in? It's classic, "Do as I say and not as I do" behavior that has too often defined the Christian religion in America. We don't feel that we have to tolerate what we see as intolerance--why should we? You certainly don't tolerate the gay lifestyle so why should I tolerate that defiance when I firmly believe it stands against basic human dignity and respect?

Yes, of course you have every right to be against gay marriage but you don't then have the right to shut people up who disagree with that view and see it as an antiquated, bigoted view of the world. You don't have a right to tell people that they can't get angry at you in response. You can control your discisions in life but not the consequences. So if you want respect then you need to dish it out too. Respect doesn't come from one side--you can't insult an entire segment of the population and the many who support them and then get offended when there is blowback at you. You judge all of us "sinners" every Sunday in your churches and throughout the week in your circle of friends and then you expect us to just sit on our hands and not speak up for ourselves? Bullshit in a chef's salad my friends.

So if you believe that homosexuality is a sin and allowing gay marriage to be a sin then that means that those of us who want gay marriage aren't perfect in your eyes. However, then when we disagree and stand up for ourselves and say, "Hey, you're not living up to your own standards" then all of a sudden you're the victim and we're expecting you to be perfect!! It's like trying to reason with a four year old sometimes with these people!!!!

It goes both ways sister. You can't say that someone is living a life that is sinful and then get annoyed when people call you on your own sinning against your own traditional values and label us intolerant because of your double standard!! When a non-Christian girl dresses immodestly then she's a "whore" and a "slut" and a "sinner" but when a Christian girl dresses in a similar way, "Hey, she's not perfect. Give her a break."

Well, then she says her comments shouldn't be offensive to people because she said in her comments, "no offense." "The way that I answered it might have been offensive to people, and I said, 'No offense to anybody.' I did not want to offend anybody." HBW: You know, just because you say "Don't take offense to this" doesn't mean that it makes what you're saying any less offensive. You live in a free country and have a right to speak out like this but you don't have a right to tell people not to get offended by what you say. If that's her standard then why is she getting offended by our calling her out on her willingness to wear skimpy clothing despite that behavior being the opposite of "traditional values?" I guess it would be all o.k. to her if we had just prefaced our criticism with, "no offense but...."

I don't want to beat a dead horse on this issue or should I say an inflated boob implant but then she says she's more interested in being bibilically correct than politically correct. How cute, she knows her Bible less than many non-Christians!! Because if she knew her Bible she'd know that according to, "I TIMOTHY 2:8-10: “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation."

HBW:
Hmm, Miss California? I don't think that skimpy bathing suits, wearing nothing but underwear in a photograph and wearing lingerie to be seen in magazines for millions is "modest apparel." The scriputre continues, "not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." HBW: Closthing clothing, hmm, how much to those pageant dresses cost and don't you think boob implants are costly adornments?

Don't like that scripture from your Bible? How about this one, "I JOHN 2:16-17: “For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” HBW: Skimpy bikinis, lingerie, reveling dresses, boob implants, being photographed in nothing but your skimpy panties--these are all associated with the "lust for flesh and the lust of the eyes." So you're behavior is just as "deviant, perverted and lustful" as you say the gay lifestyle is that you comdemn with such ease.

Or how about the Christian teaching of "God" creating us all in his own image and therefore trying to improve on "God's" creation is insulting "God's" perfect creation, is it not? And many boob implants are done for vain reasons and vanity isn't looked kindly upon in the Bible either. Women in the Bible weren't even allowed to show their faces many times let alone strut around in a small two-piece bathing suit. Yet you didn't hesitate to judge and entire group of people because they (in your opinion) are living a life of sin.

Ask yourself this Miss California, "Would you strut around in a skimpy bikini with your firm, plastic boobs bouncing around if your Savior Jesus Christ or "God" "Himself" were in the audience? If not then how can you say that you are being Biblically correct by being against gays and lesbians all the while you are working in a business that promotes lust and using the body for greedy purposes? By the way, I don't mind skimpy outfits and boob jobs. I'm not a sexual prude by any means. I rather like it all--I was playing devil's advocate in this post.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama Takes Aim at Offshore Tax Havens.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama vowed to "detect and pursue" American tax evaders Monday as he announced a plan to close tax loopholes and clamp down on overseas shelters.

The president said he wants to prevent U.S. companies from deferring tax payments by keeping profits in foreign countries rather than recording them at home. He also called for more transparency in bank accounts held by Americans in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands.

"If financial institutions won't cooperate with us, we will assume that they are sheltering money in tax havens and act accordingly," Obama said.

TPJ: It's about time that a president has the courage and will to take on the big moneyed interests who are robbing Americans of billions of tax revenue that could be used to reinvest in America. I have often talked about "Economic Patriotism" before on this blog, which is paying your fair share in taxes to keep America going. It is the sacrifice paid by those who have gotten rich off of America's unique opportunities and great workers to maintain the strength of the union.

No one doubts that Patriotism when it comes to national security is vital to rallying Americans together to defeat a common enemy that threatens our security. Well, America's infrastructure is dangerously aging, our health care system is a joke and threatens the productivity of the American worker. We desperately need a new energy grid to move forward into the new green economy, which promises to bring us not just new jobs but an entire new industry. It also enables security at home as our soldiers will be less likely to be involved in politics of countries who hold us hostige with their oil reserves.

However, like all important investments this requires money--and we are losing billions of dollars in revenue that isn't there to spend on this investments in the longterm viability of America. See, I believe that America is at an economic and technological cross-roads not unlike that, which faced us before the modern production line was implimented, which employed millions and laid the foundation for the middle-class. This tax revenue would partly go toward boosting the research and development of American companies here at home and not abroad. It is a great step forward toward establishing more fairness and balance back to our tax code.

We are rapidly losing our manufacturing base and a country that doesn't make things is a country too leveredged toward one or two industries such as service and information, which is basically what we have now. We need to make things again like wind turbines, solar panels, parts for wind turbines from suppliers, energy technitions to hook everything up. As well as light-rail, high-speed railway workers. Again, this all takes investment, which requires money and right now many major corporations are making money hand over fist without investing much back in America in the form of taxes.

The president, who hammered on this issue during his long campaign for the White House, said at a White House event that his plan would generate $210 billion in new taxes over 10 years and "make it easier" for companies to create jobs at home. Under the plan, companies would not be able to write off domestic expenses for generating profits abroad. The goal is to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to base all or part of their operations in other countries.

The current law, Obama said, "says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York. " TPJ: However, as usual many (not all) greedy, economic traitor Republicans are selfishly whining:

Before the announcement, a Republican leadership staffer circulated an email citing a Bloomberg report saying the proposal "would be the biggest tax increase on U.S. corporations since 1986."

TPJ: Oh quit twisting it around and trying to manipulate it to plea to less savvy Americans that you are being kept down by the government. It's not a tax raise--it's restoring fairness to the tax code so that those who can afford to pay more--do. Instead of the average tax payer having to make up the difference. You'd think that Republicans who are always claiming that the tax system is unfairly burdening average Americans would be for closing these loopholes because it means they would get more for their tax dollar and save some too.

The retort to all of this is that companies need those tax havens because of our corporate taxes are "too high" according to some, like Erin Burnett from CNBC:
BURNETT: Everyone likes to say American companies tax dodge, and no doubt they do, and the tax system could use massive reform, I don't think anyone would debate that, but the average tax rate paid by American companies...as of last year, it was right up around 30-plus percent. They are supposed to pay 35%. The average in other countries is significantly lower. So that is something to think about when people talk about tax avoidance by major U.S. companies.
TPJ: However, consider this:

Is that something to think about? See, I would think about the fact that if you can expect corporations to avail themselves of tax havens when the rate is 30-plus-percent, there's no reason to believe they'll stop doing that if their rates get cut.

TPJ: Burnett undoubtedly would agree as with many greedy corporate types as it would enable them to engorge themselves on even more money that the rest of us are helping create but increasingly losing benefits from. Just listen to Burnett practically making greed and selfishness a patriotic duty, "Isn't it your obligation in this country - there is a tax code for a reason, to take advantage of every bit of it you can and pay as little as you can."

TPJ: Oh, really? And here I thought we had a tax code to ensure the most fairness and balance as possible. I'm not going to apologize--I won't shed a tear if these mega-multinational corporations have to pay more in taxes. They make a lot of their money on the backs of under-paid, over-worked American workers and off the Neo-slavery of the easily exploitable gobalized marketplace work force.

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