Tuesday, May 19, 2009

13 People Responsible for Torture

Via Salon.com

1. Dick Cheney, vice president (2001-2009)
2. David Addington, counsel to the vice president (2001-2005), chief of staff to the vice president (2005-2009)
3. Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel (2001-2005), and attorney general (2005-2008)
4. James Mitchell, consultant
5. George Tenet, director of Central Intelligence (1997-2004)
6. Condoleezza Rice, national security advisor (2001-2005), secretary of state (2005-2008)
7. John Yoo, deputy assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel (2001-2003)
8. Jay Bybee, assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel (2001-2003)
9. William "Jim" Haynes, Defense Department general counsel (2001-2008)
10. Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense (2001-2006)
11. John Rizzo, CIA deputy general counsel (2002-2004), acting general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency (2001-2002, 2004-present)
12. Steven Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general, OLC (2004), acting assistant attorney general, OLC (2005-2009)
13. George W. Bush, president (2001-2009)


How old were we when we learned about the Geneva Conventions? 10 or 11? Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I know no one gets out of high school, let alone college or law school, without knowing that The United States does not torture under any circumstance. Every one of those people KNEW that what they were doing violated U.S. and international law and they did it any way.

It is not only unacceptable for the Obama administration to let these crimes go unpunished it is illegal. We've had enough law breaking by our leaders. It's time for prosecution for war crimes. It's not optional - it's required by law. Period.

And I don't give a rat's ass what Nancy Pelosi knew when. She didn't torture anybody. They did. Let's get back on topic, News Media!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

WTF is going on in the "Feminist" community?

Seriously - we're going to have to come up with a word other than feminism if they keep associating it with Hillary Clinton, Emily's List, and the irrational women who think staying home or voting for John McCain is a sane thing for an adult American woman to do. I can't believe so many women are supporting Hillary in spite of her race-baiting, threats to obliterate Iran, her attempt to manipulate tensions between the Jewish and African American communities, her ridiculous attempt to ride her husband's coat tails, her bold faced lies, her whining about sexism and finally, her unbelievable failure to bow out gracefully and let the Dems bask in the glory of making history by nominating Barack Obama. Clinton has been a complete embarrassment to women and I can't understand why so many don't see that.

First, I want to acknowledge that there was blatant sexism in the media coverage of Clinton's campaign, and some of it really was beyond the pale. It is also not lost on me that Chris Matthews only backed off a bit once Media Matters for America called him on it, taking a formal complaint from an organization run by men after ignoring years of complaints lodged by women. It got to the point, however, where any criticism of Clinton was labled sexism and the critic labeled a sexist. I found plenty to criticize, and I don't think that label applies to me. I think we need to get back in touch with what feminism means.

Emily's List is currently supporting a female candidate in Memphis that is using racism, homophobia and anti-semitism against an incumbent male who is pro-choice and pro-LGBT. What the hell are they doing? I thought the idea was to elect pro=choice candidates. Do they now support any woman for any office, no matter what her positions are? That is absurd!

Feminism has many definitions and a lot of women make a lot of money parsing, defining, theorizing and creating them so they can publish books and theses and dissertations about it. The bottom line, though, is that feminism has to be inclusive and address issues of social justice- things like racism, colonialism, violence, war, hunger, poverty, civil rights for everyone and defending a woman's right to choose- or it's meaningless. Electing more women to office is great, but they have to be the right women. There are feminist men who would be much better choices than some ultra-conservative women. We can't just play a girls-only game while we live in a society with both men and women. (I do think that it might be a good idea to develop women-centric communities or neighborhoods, but that's not the state we currently live in.)

If John McCain wins the presidency, kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye. He has made it clear that he'll nominate conservative judges like Samuel Alito, and he'll make sure abortions are banned. The Global Gag Rule will keep killing women all over the planet. We'll continue to endanger our kids by offering "abstinence-only" education that leaves them unprepared to deal with a world of AIDS and STDs. Poor children will still have no health insurance, just like their parents, and single mothers will be without resources if they are abandoned by partners or isolated from family or friends. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue. Lives, especially the lives of women and children, are at stake here.

Obama is the nominee and we have to make sure he wins.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Hillary and Misogyny

Americablog has a post called "HIllary's Girl Power" where they post a comment by Jacki Schechner, a feminist writer, in which she concludes that a woman would make a great Commander-in-Chief, but not necessarily THIS woman, Hillary Clinton. I heartily agree.

There is no doubt that the MSM has been horribly misogynistic in general, but particularly so in covering Senator Clinton's campaign. She has certainly used underhanded tactics that deserve derision, but the anti-female rhetoric was flowing from the very beginning of her run when she was just one of a field of candidates. Media Matters has covered this in detail, but I'll hit the high points. I don't remember anyone criticizing John Edwards' pantsuits, or debating whether any other candidates' show of emotion were real or practiced. John McCain has never been criticized for the unpleasant tenor of his voice. The word "bitch" flows from the lips of men who should know better far too easily - when was the last time anyone on TV called one of the candidates a "bastard" or some equivalent slur?

It took me months to resolve myself to rejecting the position taken by many feminists, as well as the majority of the Goddess community, that we should support Clinton because she was female. I've heard all the arguments - that it's a question of solidarity, that if she doesn't get the nomination, no woman in our lifetime will ever get it, that she "thinks like a woman" and is therefore a better choice, that she's the best qualified - and I don't buy any of them.

Solidarity, to have any meaning at all, means that we have to rally around a woman with equal or better qualifications for a particular position. I have grave concerns about the choices Sen. Clinton has made in her career. She opposed the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Her ties to Walmart and to overseas sweat shops are questionable. Her participation in The Family - a little known, DC based religious group focused on attaining and holding power for its powerful and often dangerous members - is completely unacceptable in a supposedly Liberal contender. The idea that she's the only woman in a generation to have a shot at the White House is insulting. We have many women in positions of leadership that would make better presidents, any one of whom might have a shot as Barack's VP, which would almost certainly guarantee a woman taking the office in 8 years.

I don't like her using gender as an excuse for losing. She's losing because she ran a poor campaign in which she, her husband and surrogates, have repeatedly behaved in racist and unethical ways, up to and including invoking images of violence against candidates in the past. These improper statements and tactics have convinced me that she lacks the judgement and ethics needed for the office of President. One need only remember her promise to "obliterate" Iran to know that she shouldn't hold sway in our public discourse, let alone control our nuclear arms.

I don't count her activism in her career of any greater value than Barack Obama's credentials as a community organizer and elected official in his home state. More importantly, she doesn't inspire the kind of hope and excitement that Obama does. America has, in my opinion, been on a gradual slide toward a form of fascism, or at least a greedy and inhumane form of Conservative extremism, since the tragic death of President Kennedy. The Bush administration is the direct result of the coup that began with that event - none of the Constitutional nightmare would be possible if President Kennedy had finished his term in office.

The Kennedy funeral is one of my earliest memories. I've waited my entire life to see another JFK, or Bobby, or MLK, who could invoke the "better angels of our nature." When a I see pictures of tens of thousands turning out to see Barack at his appearances, in numbers never seen before in presidential politics, It makes me believe that it's possible for America to be America again. Barack can begin to heal some serious national wounds - the enduring sickness of racism, our shame in the response to hurricane Katrina, our ill-advised and unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, the specter of incompetence that was born of the failure to heed the signs that the 9/11 attack was immanent, and the suspicion of complicity by members of the Bush administration in allowing it to happen, the restoration of our Constitutional rights, the end of torture by our soldiers, and a possible restoration of our standing in the world and the end of our xenophobic and entitled stance toward the rest of the planet- none of which could be expected or even dreamt of in an administration built around the Clinton machine.

This is not about girls vs. boys. This is about hope versus cynicism, the past versus the future, whom we are and whom we can be as a nation. I am not prepared to concede my idealism for a new gender selling the same old shit. A token torturer is still a torturer. I want massive change, more, I'm sure, than Obama could ever provide, but I'm going with the candidate who promises more change than any other. For Sen. Clinton to say that my choice has anything to do with misogyny demeans the entire Women's Movement. Equality is about more than having a vagina. It's about a true shift in consciousness that Hillary cannot catalyze for our nation. The feminist candidate in this campaign is Barack Obama.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary Unhinged - please, somebody make it stop...

Let's say I believe that it was just a gaffe on Hillary's part when she said that she's staying in the race because Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June so it was too early for her to quit. No, those were not her exact words but that's what every body thought when she said it. Let's put her remarks into context.

Very early in this campaign, Barack Obama began receiving threats, to the point that Senator Durbin requested that the Secret Service go ahead and start protecting him.

The Secret Service appears to have been lax in its duties at large Obama rallies.

Secret Service personnel were recently disciplined for placing a noose in their offices in harassment of African American employees.

People constantly compare Barack to JFK, to Bobby Kennedy, Michelle to Jackie Kennedy, and the Kennedy family has embraced his candidacy. MLK and Malcom X are frequently mentioned in reference to him as well.

Hillary Clinton did way too well in Appalachia, and Barack only campaigned on the fringes of the area. He is widely considered a Muslim, unamerican, the anti-christ, and a potential enemy of the state in the region, where he is commonly referred to as Hussein. Hillary and Bill have race-baited and provoked "color arousal" at every turn in this campaign.

MIke Huckabee recently joked about someone pointing a gun at Barack during a speech before the NRA.

These may all be unconnected elements of a vast aand eventful campaign season... or they may be a pattern no one is seeing yet. I'm not in a position to judge which is the case, but I think most people would be aware that one should be unusually circumspect in invoking images of assassination in this particular campaign. So, you might understand that to some of us, it kind of looks as if Hillary is staying in the race in case Barack gets shot. Yes, a person would have to be a sociopath to hatch such a plan. I never used to think of Hillary that way, but her scorched earth tactics in this campaign, in which she has championed the Republican nominee over her Democratic rival and seems to be theatening intra-party war if she is not handed the nomination or at least the VP slot, have given me reason to reconsider.

You readers know that I struggled over my choice of whom to support in this campaign. I now find myself in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar position of agreeing with the elite male bloggerati in choosing the Obama movement over the Clinton establishment. I no longer feel any guilt in rejecting this woman as a presidential candidate. A person who would make such a grossly inappropriate statement has no business getting near our foreign policy. Our needs are great and our task overwhelming. We need a leader made of much saner stuff than this.

I'm praying for a Super Delegate wave of movement to the Obama camp this weekend.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

As Purple to Lavender - Shakesville

I left the following comment to a post about the racism v. sexism argument.

Feminist. Womanist. Bitch. Witch. Priestess. President. Labels don't really matter at this level. There are many women's movements co-existing, but that isn't the point.

There's no up side to arguing about who is the more oppressed party. We're dealing with 6,000 years of an unnatural social order called patriarchy, which is by definition sexist, racist, elitist, greedy, violent and intolerant. None of us is untouched by this no matter whom we are. America has had ignoble beginnings. It began with an act of genocide against the First Nations, prospered from the work of slaves, sustained itself by breaking the backs of women who had no say in the governance of their own lives or bodies. For the most part, we've been taught to overlook these waves of oppression and take what we can get.

The founders of the country knew intellectually that their society didn't meet the measure of their own philosophies. They did what they could get away with and left it to future generations to make the wrongs right as it became possible. We're chipping away at a power structure that oppresses everyone in one aspect or another, and even those with the most privilege are hobbled by that oppression in some way. Patriarchy hurts everybody.

Yes, the MSM is sexist and racist. It is owned by greedy elitists with a financial interest in keeping women subservient and people of color powerless and dependent, and our country at war. I've been told by people I respect that I am betraying my Sisters by not supporting Hillary, but I refuse to believe that having a vagina is enough qualification to justify my voting for and elitist, racist and dishonest politician. Yes, she has been the object of extreme sexism and that is wrong. I don't have to support her to recognize that she has been treated badly. My objections to her largely stem from her race-baiting. She is both a victim of bigotry and a bigot herself. Many people fit comfortably into both categories. We are all damaged by patriarchy to some extent.

The mistake is that we think there's a difference in racism, sexism, classism, or any other form of oppression. Social Justice exists for all or it exists for none, and the situation might be improving here or there, but we still essentially live in a state of social INjustice. It doesn't matter what element of our person or position provokes the oppressive treatment - the treatment is the problem. The sense of entitlement that tells some elite group or individual that they are "more" is what we need to challenge. No one has a right to own, oppress, cheat, hurt or kill another human being. (Some would extend that to include animals, too, but one fight at a time.) That basic truth is violated all throughout our society. We have an elite group that feels blessed by a white male deity who loves them best of all, and that love justifies anything they want, at the expense of anyone or anything else. While we fight over who is more oppressed - WOC or women in general, the elite class continues its vampiric drain on our money, our culture and our lives. Our anger toward each other keeps us down. Only directing that anger where it belongs, at the elite classes who have stacked the game against us, is going to make a difference in any of our lives.

We can't afford to be divided - that serves the elite class. Why do their work for them? Why make it easier for them t6 keep us down? Everyone who is not independently wealthy needs to work together. We're a giant game of whack-a-mole and the moles only win when they all rise up together and take away the hammer. Ok, it's a stupid metaphor but you see what I mean. They can keep some of us down over there, and some over here, but if we all stand up together we outnumber them. This is class warfare and the only resolution to it is revolution. Solidarity.

A person of color should feel just as offended by sexism and they are by racism. Women should be as offended by racism in every form or situation. It's all the same hate from the top of one dominant hierarchy we need to tear down. This should be the function of the Progressive movement. If we aren't directly attacking that power structure, our efforts are wasted. Let's put all that hurt and anger where it belongs and get something done. Barack just might be able to focus our energy and make some real changes. I wish he were more liberal, but the movement behind him is more important than the man himself, though he gives it a name and a face. He creates the potential for a kind of healing both here and in the rest of the world that simply won't happen if Hillary is in charge. It's a long shot, but it's our only shot at the moment.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm so bitter my eyes hurt - Go Barack!

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