ACLU Documents Point to Executive Order

The ACLU has posted some interesting documents they received through a FOIA request. The following was an email from what appears to be an FBI agent in Iraq dated May 22nd of 2004.

We also have instructed our personnel not to participate in interrogations by military personnel which might include techniques authorized by Executive Order but beyond the bounds of standard FBI practice.

We are aware that prior to a revision in policy last wee, an Executive Order signed by President Bush authorized the following interrogation techniques amonth others sleep “management,” use of MWDs (military work dogs), “stress positions” such as half squats, “environmental manipulation” such as the use of loud music, sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc.

I have been told all interrogation techniques previously authorized by the Executive order are still on the table but that certain techniques can only be used if high-level authority is granted.

So there you have it. The President authorized, through and Executive Order, the use of military dogs, sleep deprivation, hoods, stress positions and sensory deprivation. According to the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War the following are rights of POW’s.

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

I would say that the sexual degredation clearly violates clause (c), while the use of military dogs clearly violates clause (a).

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today

  1. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.
  2. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
  3. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.
  4. A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
  5. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
  7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
  8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
  9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
  10. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
  11. Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
  12. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense.
  13. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  14. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
  15. The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.
  16. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  17. You support states’ rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.
  18. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.

Thanks Chad!

F*ck the South

I just read what is quickly becoming an Internet sensation, It’s got some strong language (ie. lots of use of “fuck”), but the message is clear and VERY funny. Below I’ve listed some of the points the site makes, which are great.

  1. 8 of the top 10 states who receive more federal dollars than they pay in federal taxes are “red” states.
  2. 7 of the bottom 10 receiving the least amount of money per dollar paid in taxes are “blue” states. All of these states get back, on average, about 75 cents on the dollar paid.
  3. Of the states with the highest murder rates per 100,000 people the top five are all southern states.
  4. The state with the lowest divorce rate is Massechusetts, with half as many divorces per 1,000 than Texas.

I found the numbers really funny. It looks like some people in red states need to do some real soul searching. I think the tax dollars are really interesting. Republicans get all nazi about taxes, but when it comes to handouts from “high” taxes they’re all for it. The “moral values” argument is pretty funny too, since the south’s and other red states have much higher divorce rates than their hippy counterparts.

In other words, if you don’t like our high taxes then don’t use them and if you think marriage is something you should protect then start with your own home before you start telling everyone else how marriage should be.

Let's try a true democracy

Anyone who has ever had a political science class knows that the United States not a Democracy, but really a Republic. In a true Democracy when a law is proposed everyone in the country would vote on it, instead of representatives.

I think that, as technology progresses, the ability to have a true Democracy could be possible. You could log in daily to “My Democracy” and view proposed bills/laws and then vote on them from the comfort of your home. Would everyone participate? No, but if only a few thousand from around the country participated it would have to be more representative than the current system.

We’d still have a leader and a judicial branch, but the legisliative branch would be the entire US public. It would be interesting, to say the least. For now, I’d take the ability to simply vote on federal laws directly (which many states do in the form of “propositions”).

Election 2004

Well, I just got back from voting. I think everyone probably knows who I voted for and if you’re thinking I wasted my vote I think you wasted yours on Kerry (or Bush). At any rate, I have a few observations on the whole voting process.

  1. Next to all candidates was their party designation, except in the cases of judges, who were marked “NP” or “Non-Partisan”. What a joke! I don’t know about you, but I’d like to know where judges stand on such issues as abortion, gay rights, etc.
  2. The process was extremely quick. I was in and out in about 20 minutes.
  3. I’m frustrated at how low tech the whole process is. I LIKE voting with paper because paper trails are a Good ThingTM. However, I’d like a “voter verification” code that I could check online if need be. I envision it working much like a UPS trcking number. I could view when my ballot was cast, if it was “official”, verify my votes and, if it was deemed an “invalid” vote why it was deemed such.

The next problem I see with the entire voting process is that lawyers are becoming more and more involved in the process. If we have a repeat of last year’s debacle where the man with the majority of the votes loses the election in the courts, we’re going to have a serious problem on our hands. Voters will become disenfranchised with the process (why vote if the courts decide in the end?). Other countries will begin to question the stability of our election process (the UN, by the way, is overseeing our election this year – something usually reserved for third world countries experiencing their first elections). In other words, it’ll be a huge clusterfuck. I, of course, have an opinion on how things could be fixed.

  1. Either move to a popular vote or mandate the Electoral College vote in a percentage based way, instead of the current winner-takes-all way. Currently if Bush wins Ohio by 3 votes he takes ALL of Ohios Electoral College votes. Under my changes Bush would get 51% of Ohio’s EC votes and Kerry would get 49% of Ohio’s EC votes.
  2. Allow all parties who appear on at least 40 state ballots to participate in the Presidential Debates. If he’s a valid candidate who is on enough ballots to win the election he should get just as much air time as everyone else.
  3. Change The House of Represenatives into a representative body based on percentage of votes. If the Green Party got 10% of the votes they would get 10% of the seats in the House for that particular state.
  4. Allow for popular votes on federal issues. I’m not sure if this is currently happening or not, but for certain issues I should be able to vote on federal laws.

I think we need to get away from the thought that our “Democracy” (it’s, by definition, actually a Republic) is perfect. It has known flaws and, luckily, our framers have given us avenues to fix those flaws. In time, I hope they are fixed. If not we could be in for some major problems in the very near future.

Tomorrow is the most important day of your life

Tomorrow is the single most important day of your life. You need to get off your lazy ass and vote. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just vote. If you think George has done a bang up job, then vote for him. If you think Kerry is a cool dude, then vote for him. Don’t forget that you have a few other options.

Don’t listen to the people on both “sides” saying that if you vote for a third party candidate you have wasted your vote. A vote that isn’t cast is a wasted vote. Just because your guy might not win doesn’t mean it’s wrong for believing in him – the best man doesn’t always win and nice guys usually finish last.

Now get out there and vote.

The Bush Administration: 100 Facts and 1 Opinion

I found a great article titled 100 Facts and 1 Opinion about the Bush Administration [via]. It’s pretty damning, IMO. Read it over, if you still feel like voting for Bush … well … that confuses me.

The problem, of course, is that millions of Americans don’t care that the President has underfunded ports by 1 billion, spent 140 billion on a war of choice (that was a total sham), assigned five times as many agents to investigate a 50 year old embargo against Cuba as he did to investigate Osama bin Laden’s money trail, etc.

And I love you idiots out there saying “BUT HE LOWERED TAXES!”. Really? You got your $300 check FOUR YEARS AGO. And the followup was given to the top 1% of the country. To top it all off, your job is being exported to places like Mexico, India and Russia. Why? Because Bush has given tax breaks to companies that offshore jobs.

Schwarzenegger Says Pro-Bush Speech Irked His Wife

This is the funniest political news I’ve read in a long time. Evidently Ahhhhnahhhld got snubbed by his wife, who is a Democrat, after his convention speech.

“Well, there was no sex for 14 days,” Schwarzenegger told former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in an on-stage conversation in front of 1,000 people.

“Everything comes with side effects,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

“I don’t know why I watched the presidential debates,” he said. “If I want to watch a smart liberal Democrat and a Republican leader argue, all we have to do is go out to dinner. They were lucky. They only had to do it three times.”

I wish more politicians were less formal and more candid. Arnold, along with McCain, are two Republicans that are exactly what I would look for in a Republican: socially they are rather liberal, while being both for state’s rights and fiscally conservative (as much as a politician can be anyways). However, I am NOT for changing the Constitution to allow Arnold to run for President.

At any rate I hope someone else gets a good laugh out of this.

Goodbye Bill of Rights … It was fun.

I’m not going to speak about this as a Bush hating, tree hugging, liberal, but rather as a concerned citizen who is afraid a few core values in the Bill of Rights no longer apply in the country that invented such radical ideas as equal protections and freedom of speech. At a recent speech given by the POTUS three teachers where thrown out for wearing t-shirts saying “Protect our civil liberties”. The irony here is so thick I’d need a fucking chainsaw to cut through it.

My first question is: Why do I need a fucking ticket to see the POTUS speak? We pay his wages, we (well a little less than half of us) voted him in, we probably paid for his flight to the speech, but we can’t watch him speak? When you combine this with the “designated protestor areas” that both sides are using and, as far as I can tell, the following clauses in the Bill of Rights no longer apply to either sides:

  1. The right to freedom of assembly. Who the hell could ever think “designated protester areas” would be legal or acceptable? Well, they are. Both the Democrats and the Republicans used such devices at their conventions. The Democrats where especially offensive, literally fencing them in with barbed wire around the top.
  2. The right to freedom of speech. Clearly this went out of style years ago. A majority of Americans believe that freedom of speech is too far reaching. At this recent Bush speech these teachers were not allowed to silently express their opinions.

Look, this is exactly why I keep saying both sides aren’t all that great. Both the Democrats and Republicans will do just about anything to keep their portion of the power structure, even if this includes treading on our rights.

Badnarik on Third Parties

I’ve had a few talks with friends and family lately about the fact that I’m going to be voting for a third party. Libertarian, to be specific. Their candidate this year is a man named Michael Badnarik. He recently did an interview at The friends and family I’ve talked to have all, without hesitation, asked me why I’m “throwing my vote away”. Badnarik put it best.

If the “wasted vote” argument ever held any water, it doesn’t any more. The two major parties have moved toward a weird, non-existent “center” for the last 50 years, to the point where it’s difficult to tell them apart.

We could argue all day about whether Bush or Kerry is the “lesser evil.” The fact is that they both support the war in Iraq. They both oppose gun rights. They both supported the PATRIOT Act. They both support the war on drugs. They both support confiscatory taxation. They both support ruinously high levels of spending, huge deficits and increasing debt.

It’s hard to tell them apart on the real issues. They spend their time scrapping over “swing votes” in the gray area of the “center” — which means, in practice, “how do I not make too many people too angry to vote for me?” That’s no way to do politics. Politics, in my view, should be as unimportant as possible — but where it’s important, it has to value freedom, remain rooted in principle and be forward-looking.

All I can tell the “lesser of two evils” folks is that if they keep voting for evil, they’ll keep getting evil. If you don’t like the way things are, how do you change it by voting for more of the same?

In all of the conversations with families they all agree that they’re voting for “the lesser of two evils”. If that’s the case then you’re going to keep getting evil. Both parties have crap candidates, vote for the person you believe in the most.

I feel good knowing that my vote is niether “lesser” or “evil”.