Big Abusers Win Seats on UN Rights Commission

Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia won seats on the new U.N. Human Rights Council. I suppose they will want to look into exagurated torture claims against us, or maybe outsourcing torture, or maybe they will complain that we have court marshaled only 103 of our own troops for alleged violations.

On an average day in an average town in any one of these countries, they abuse more people before breakfast than most western countries do all year long. Woody talked about hypocrisy on the other side. I posted that hypocrisy wasn’t so bad. I forgot about situations like this. I was wrong.

The worst rights abusers make sure they get on the commission. They know that the best defense is a good offense and they are offensive. And believe it or not this is an improvement.

Chalk this up to another UN success.

Posted by Jack at May 9, 2006 10:07 PM
Comments
Comment #146681

You know, I don’t see Saudi Arabia, China, Russia or Cuba being capable of giving the United States a human-rights black eye any worse than what the Bush administration and a brain-dead, rubber-stamp Congress can do.

Whatever happened to that McCain anti-torture ammendment, anyway?

Jack, you’re beautiful when your angry!

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 9, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #146688

It is ironic. Even if we did all the things people say (and we do not) we could not come up (down) to the standards of China, Cuba, Russia or Saudi when they are being nice.

Do read the linked articles, however. That is why I posted them.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #146689

Just another sign of the times. Debt is good, Up is down, and let the illegals know where the minutemen are. Seems Orwell was right maybe a few years off but right.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 9, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #146694

“Do read the linked articles, however. That is why I posted them. “

Yessir!!

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 9, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #146698

So some State Dept. flunky gets up and denies everything. In case you hadn’t noticed Jack, the credibility of this administration and the government in general is dismal. So 103 military personnel have been prosecuted—all except the people really responsible for torture happening at all—Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush et. al.

What a relief that water-boarding is now illegal in the Army regs. Why was it ever used to begin with??!!

It’s the neocon line—Yea, though I walk in the Valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, ‘cause I’m the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley, eh?

Conservatism okays greed, the I-got-mine-screw-you creed, and a self-declared GWOP (something the rest of the world has been putting up with for the last 30 or so years) okays cruelty and the elimination of the Nurenburg Rulings and the Geneva Conventions.

I never thought that most people in the world would equate our country with the human rights record of the four countries listed above. But that’s exactly where we are.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 9, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #146704

Tim

They don’t really believe that and neither do you. YOu and I post whatever we want. We KNOW that nobody will come around and arrest or hurt us for doing it. We would not dare do the same in Cuba, Saudi or China, not to mention lots of other countries.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #146709

Jack:

No offense but you don’t know what is true or not in this White House. Your President is refusing access to the documentation relating to torture. EVERYTHING is secret now.

So for you to claim it is exagerated is pretty foolish.

Also, you can’t claim our posts in watchblog isn’t in a NSA Database somewhere either. Presidential Power is so cool, isn’t it?

Posted by: Aldous at May 9, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #146710

Jack:

Would you agree that the prestige and honor of the United States has been damaged in the eyes of most of the world because of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, renditons, and the invasion of Iraq?

Would you say that President Bush insisting several months ago that the US does not torture at the same time that Cheney was lobbying hard against the McCain ammendment sent, at the very least, mixed signals to the world?

Wouldn’t you say that surveillance of American Citizens without warrants is a step closer to the behavior of the four nations mentioned above than was true, say 20 years ago in this country?

In short, are there any indications at all in your mind that the United States has in fact stepped over the line of human rights and constitutional law in the past five years?

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 9, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #146713

j2t2,
Just to confirm your suspicions, I thought you’d like to know that up and down are terms of electron “spin”. Not unlike political spin, they have no meaning of physical spatial orientation.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #146715

The UN is putting us in our place and we’re surprised and shocked?

Let he who is without sin… Isn’t that how it goes?

A little torture or inhumanity or secret prisons or …… is okay and we decide how much is okay?

Oh, never mind.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 9, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #146723

Tim Crow
Give me some names of American citizens who you referenced as being spied upon using the NSA program.

Since you cannot do that then your comments are rhetoric and nothing to follow.

The people you name as responsible for torture needs some supporting documents. If they are responsible for torture, their would have been lawyers up the ying yang filing charges against them.

I agree with Jack that our showcase to the world of our actions in society, government, military, education, etc. is second to none as far as the treatment of, first our own citizens and second those of other countries that are here. Are mistakes made? Of course. Are there overzealous individuals at work? Of course. And we show case our faults. Strange that Moussaoui wants to retract his plea because he now knows he can get a fair trial. Well, he has a small, very small lot to live on and all the time it takes to think about a free America.

Posted by: tomh at May 9, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #146724

Womanmarine,

The U.N. has never had the ability or the credibility to put anyone “in their place” since it’s founding. Let’s look at the two major military undertakings the U.N. has orchestrated. Iraq and Korea. What models of spectacular accomplishment by the great peace bringers in the U.N. eh?

Posted by: Duano at May 10, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #146727

tomh:

Have your Decider Leader release the documents from his so-called Executive Privelige and we will see those charges filed.

Duano:

You are pretty uninformed about the function of the UN. I know you’re priority is war but the UN is a lot more than what you percieve it to be. I suggest you google it.

Posted by: Aldous at May 10, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #146734

I don’t see anyone from the Right answering my previous questions.

TomH:

President Bush, after the NYT article revealing warrantless wiretaps by the NSA, admitted that it had been going on, even after assuring the American people that any wiretapping would go through proper legal procedures. Are you calling the President a liar?

In this case, if you need proof that it’s going on, I agree with Aldous—ask the White House for the records.

Or wait about a year, after the Dems take over Congress and initiate some investigations.:-)

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 10, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #146744

Aldous,

I took your advice and googled the U.N. You’re right, they do have other functions like Sexual abuse of refugees and taking money from dictators that was supposed to feed the poor. Yes it appears the U.N.’s job isn’t war or peacekeeping, but SCANDAL. Glad to be well informed about the United Nations now. Thanks.

Posted by: Duano at May 10, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #146747

Jack,

Glad you brought this up.

My problem isn’t the percieved abuse at Gitmo.

My problem is that these guys are still there, with no recourse, until hell freezes or Bush gets Raptured.
Which ever comes first.

I don’t want to hear about “how good” everybody is treated there. I have been to jail once (a misdemeanor).
It doen’t matter how “groovy” it is inside, once you hear that door close behind you, you’re still inside, and at someone else’s whims.

If tribunals are to be held, then what the hell are we waiting for.

Posted by: Rocky at May 10, 2006 1:53 AM
Comment #146754

It’s so funny, the U.S.A. hasn’t really changed much at all over the years.

This is a free and fair country as long as you

1. are white
2. have money
3. own land

Otherwise your life is merely a cycle of:

1. dead-end jobs
2. jails
3. welfare lines

At least some countries make an effort.

Posted by: Mr.Black at May 10, 2006 2:53 AM
Comment #146765

Jack,

I agree with you that serial human rights abusers should not be on this commission. You neglected to mention, however, that it will have 47 members. That is not exactly an exclusive club…

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 10, 2006 8:24 AM
Comment #146774

Jack,

Your politics are derived from experiences and so are mine. You say we don’t do everything that everyone says. I agree with that. I don’t agree with the premise that we are innocent babes.

We do have genocide and slavery in our history, as do many. We, like most, have a history of committing attrocities in war. I guess you can pile up the bodies and count which stack is higher, but to me it’s a rather ghoulish endeavor.

I understand that many like to see themselves, and their country, as above the fray of human struggle. I prefer to keep my eyes and ears open and through humility attempt something better. This is the true strength of America, in my opinion: the willingness to examine.

Posted by: gergle at May 10, 2006 9:02 AM
Comment #146779

tomh, if we forgive and let ourselves off the hook for mistakes, overzealousness, and erroneous policies regarding human rights, do you not think we should extend the same lattitude to other nations? Shouldn’t we be saying, well they are not as great as we are, so we have to cut them even more slack than we cut ourselves?

Rendition, Abu-Ghraib prosecutions that utterly failed to go after the policy makers, Guantanamo, imprisonment without judicial review or oversight as a policy, and execution of innocent persons in our prison system, these are all examples of how we cut ourselves slack. Since we are the best, the logic dictates that we be more forgiving of less great nations. That is the logical flaw with forgiving our own transgressions.

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. We have left ourselves no justifiable position from which to cast the first stone.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 10, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #146781


I agree that comparing this administrations human rights abuses with those of the countries mentioned by Jack is ridiculous. But, it is not because this administration saw the error of it’s ways. It is because the American People have spoken out and said we will not tolerate this.

Posted by: jlw at May 10, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #146783

Oops, I forgot my main point. I hate when I do that.

My experience with American politics was that my father was a Goldwater Republican (Although he was not a registered Republican).

I was Nixon supporter. In college, I remember groups like SDS organizing protests about Kent State and the Illegal bombing in Cambodia and Laos. I stopped in the hall one day and asked one of them why I should believe what they were saying about the bombing in Vietnam, or about the slaughter in Mi Lai.

Well, It turned out Nixon was lying and the SDS was telling truth to power. While I’m sure some things about torture and rendition may not be true, I suspect many are. I know a lot of people have died for an ideology that may prove to be rather thin and be more about oil and empire than anything else.

I know your experiences with communism in Poland are filled with attrocity, and understand your perspective.

The U.N. Charter while an ideal is mostly about communication in lieu of war for the obvious reasons. When we think of the U.N. as an enforcer or ultimate authority, I think we lose sight of it’s purpose.

Posted by: gergle at May 10, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #146798

The U.S., at only a little over 200 years old, a mere youngster in world politics, is now much like the very smart teenager who was feted at every turn in high school for being on this and that committee and in this and that club and having a super high grade average. That little U.S. “teenager” is now in freshman year of college (called the “world stage”) and has found out that s/he is absolutely no better than anyone else there…there are tons of overachievers who outshine the U.S. in some way or another…the freshman has found out that s/he is also not a shining example of a human being…other shining examples have also stepped on and squashed other “little” people to get where they are now and knowing one didn’t do it all very nicely is hitting home.

The U.S. is no better and no worse than any other country…right now instead of looking into a mirror to see its true self, the U.S. is looking at a flatteringly painted portrait which reflects nothing.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #146817

Lynne said:

“The U.S. is no better and no worse than any other country…”

Very cute analogy about the misfit teen (it sounds like you pulled it from personal experience), but do you care to qualify this sweeping statement with - say - a bit of substance? If you do follow up, please keep in mind that this isn’t 2nd term lit class.

Posted by: Craig at May 10, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #146819

Lynn

Cuba, Russia & China are not human rights overachievers?

The analogy of countries by age makes little sense anyway. The U.S. has the second oldest GOVERNMENT in the world. Only our British cousins have maintained a longer continuous history. Other may have been on a particular piece of ground longer, but that’s it.

The other analogy (not being special) also doesn’t hold up. If we were held to the same standard as other countries in the world, our record would put us near the top, or put the opposite, if Russia, Cuba or China had a rights record like the U.S. journalists would write stories praises the unbelievable progress.

Aldous

You are right that we don’t know whether or not someone is monitoring our posting. The fact that this potential “threat” doesn’t alter our habits one bit indicates that we know that it is not a problem for us, not matter how much we gnash our teeth. No Cuban would dare write anything about Castro approaching what we see about Bush every day.

Tim

I don’t agree about the terrorist monitoring and surveillance. That is not different from what all our presidents have done under similar circumstances. It doesn’t bother me at all. If Dems and liberals want to contend that point, fine with me.

The other things you mentioned have hurt our reputation. The obvious point, however, is that the world community and the UN are the big hypocrites. Nothing the U.S. has done approaches routine conditions in Cuba or China. Maybe the Swedes or the Swiss have a standing to criticize. Most of the rest of the world lives in a much worse reality.

Woman

The UN has not right to put us in any place. If we stopped supporting them, they would be bankrupt tomorrow. We pay a quarter of its bills and support much of the peacekeeping etc. Our human rights record is better than 90% of UN members and that other 10% don’t have to deal with any conflicts.

In the U.S. we has “suspicion” that someone may have looked at our internet records. In Cuba if the GOVERNMENT has suspicion that you are writing anything they don’t like they arrest or kill you. There is a difference.

Gergle

Everybody has done nasty things sometime in their history. Yes, we are ALL sinners. If we were talking religion it would be one thing

Answer this question honestly. You don’t like your government. You plan to protest and write a letter critical of the leader. Where would you rather do this, Washington, Havana, Beijing or Riyadh? If you answer as I think you must, you don’t need me to explain anything more.

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #146821

Jack:

You obviously haven’t read real U.S. history with its continuous habit of interference in democratically elected governments…

The U.S. is acting like a teenager…perhaps you haven’t dealt with a houseful of them yet??? Teenagers think they’re invincible, always right, better than anyone over 21…just like the U.S. acts with other countries…

We all know teenagers aren’t any better than their elders…soon the U.S. will learn that, too.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #146855
Answer this question honestly. You don’t like your government. You plan to protest and write a letter critical of the leader. Where would you rather do this, Washington, Havana, Beijing or Riyadh? If you answer as I think you must, you don’t need me to explain anything more.

Way to set up yet another strawman argument, Jack. How about a set of real debatable statements???

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #146863

Craig:

Very cute analogy about the misfit teen (it sounds like you pulled it from personal experience), but do you care to qualify this sweeping statement with - say - a bit of substance? If you do follow up, please keep in mind that this isn’t 2nd term lit class.

Teens think they know everything…the U.S. thinks it can tell every country how to run its internal and external affairs…read the Yahoo! news page headlines…Cheney or Rice or Bush is constantly telling some country what to do…yet the U.S. can’t take the least little bit of criticism nor will it take any criticism to heart, because it always knows better…if that’s not a description of teenaged behavior, I don’t know what is!

The U.S. tells countries to hold elections, yet if the U.S. doesn’t like the democratically elected leader (e.g., Chile, Palestine), the U.S. threatens that country. The U.S. wants to be the judge of every country…

Deal with high school kids and college freshmen for awhile and you’ll easily be able to see the comparison between their behavior and that of the U.S. governments…

Read up on U.S. intervention in Central America during the 1980s…and even before…remember Iran-Contra? Invasion of Grenada (wow…a real danger to the U.S.!)? Just read 20th and 21st century U.S. history (preferably NOT from a native U.S. historian, although there are a few who tell it like it is)…enough little tantrums in there to consider the U.S. not even a teenager but a terrible toddler.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #146867

Lynne, while I think your analogy to teens has some merit, I have to disagree that America is not significantly better than many other nations and governments in the world. The reason I disagree is that the U.S. has embedded in its Constitution a set of ideals and constraints which, until Bush was elected, kept America’s actions under scrutiny and fairly accountable in historical, if not present time. Our internment of American Japanese in WWII was a serious violation of human rights. But, our Constitution guaranteed that that mistake would come to light and not be repeated.

There are no Arab internment camps in America today after 9/11 the way there were after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. There is a difference and it is huge! The fact that the GOP and Bush have chosen to ignore the Constitution and its ideals in many of its policies will soon be rectified as well. That has been the strength and enoblement of America, that she can police herself and correct eggregious errors of power and government at the polls.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 10, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #146868

David,

You have given prime examples of why the U.S. is NOT better than other countries…

At least you got the part right about Bush and the “goddamned Constitution”, but the Constitution has been in effect for over 200 years and we still had internment. And what would you call Guantanamo at the present time…a seaside resort?

The U.S. government’s actions speak much louder than its words…but it seems that those actions are not reported or, if they are, ignored “at home”. The rest of the world sees us for what we really are.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #146871

Lynne,

“And what would you call Guantanamo at the present time…a seaside resort?”

But you have to admit it isn’t on “American” soil.

Posted by: Rocky at May 10, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #146874

Rocky:

Nice attempt, but no cigar…Guantanmo IS U.S. property…been a military base for decades…

Rendition doesn’t take place on U.S. “soil”, either…but it’s still U.S. responsibility.

But you have to admit it isn’t on “American” soil.
Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #146876

Lynn

That is not a straw man. It is calling someone’s bluff.

You should judge by what people do, not what they say. People here SAY they fear the U.S. government. They are lying. The proof of their mendacity is included in the very statement they make. If you really think someone will monitor and punish you, you are being very silly to give them all they need. Beyond that, some people, like Aldous, have been doing this for years. If anyone in power actually cared about it and wanted to get him, they would have done it long ago.

When salesman tells you about a wonderful product or investment that EVERYONE has, your first question should be, “How much do you own?” If the answer is none, you know what he really thinks. I know what you really think from what you wrote. You can tell me different, but we have already established the truth.

So I am just asking people not to support in their rhetoric what they don’t believe in their hearts.

If you want to say the U.S. is not perfect, I will agree. We may disagree on a precise list of mistakes and faults, but we both would have a long list. In this case we are talking comparisons, however. Compared with those countries mentioned who won seats on the UN commission, the U.S. is great, an absolute paragon of human rights virtue - in comparison. You know that and so does everyone else, hence the bluff calling.

And some of the interventions you mention are not really what you think. Take your Palestinian example, the most recent. We have simply said that if the Palestinians want to elect a government whose stated goal is to engage in terrorism in order to destroy a friendly country, we won’t give them charity and we will encourage others not to do so. Don’t we have the right to withhold support?

If you want to return to your teenager analogy, the Palestinians are the teenagers who insists on acting up and making trouble. They keep giving their parents a hard time until the parents say, “Fine, do what you want. But you cannot use my car.”

They can do what they want, as long as they don’t ask us to pay their way.

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #146878

Lynne,

“Nice attempt, but no cigar…Guantanmo IS U.S. property…been a military base for decades…”

Would that be a Cuban cigar?

Sorry, I forgot to turn on the sarcasm allert before I hit the post button.

Posted by: Rocky at May 10, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #146879

Like I said, Lynne, there were no Arab internment camps after 9/11. America does progress, though occasional setbacks occur like the 8 year term of President Bush. China is a civilization millenia old, and still hasn’t improved much on its human rights abuses many of which are still in the Medieval Ages. There are real and genuine qualitative differences, you are choosing to ignore.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 10, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #146884

Jack:

You are absolutely right.

Libs always bring up the abu grab azzz. That situation was no where near torture, not even close, and im upset every time a lib/media moron references it.

If you libs want a true example of torture take a trip to china and right one of your left-wing articles about the government and you’ll find out about abuse and the suppresion of rights.

Even remotely comparing the USA to China is just down right rediculous.

The communist Creed: “Nothing is immoral in the advancement of Communism”

Posted by: MacIrish at May 10, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #146888

Sorry, Jack, it most definitely was a strawman argument…not much to discuss today obviously.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #146899

McIrish:

If you libs want a true example of torture take a trip to china and right one of your left-wing articles about the government and you’ll find out about abuse and the suppresion of rights.

So, the U.S. only tortures “a little”?…any torture is wrong and lying about it is yet another wrong…

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #146900

David:

No, Arabs weren’t interred after 9/11. They were deported. Did you forget? http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/jun2003/depo-j11.shtml

More than 13,000 were deported after they VOLUNTARILY reported to register with immigration authorities.

Yeah, big step forward from WWII, we don’t put them in prison now we kick them out of the country entirely and send them back to third-world, terrorist-dominated nations. Yay for the USA, champion of Human Rights!

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #146901


Jack: I don’t fear my government. I am disgusted with what the politicians are doing to my government.

What I fear is what my government could become if “WE THE PEOPLE” don’t get our act together.

Posted by: jlw at May 10, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #146902
So, the U.S. only tortures “a little”?…any torture is wrong and lying about it is yet another wrong…

Who is it building those strawmen again?

…not much to discuss today obviously.

Obviously.

Hey I know, maybe you can tell all of us what it’s like to live with teenagers?

Posted by: Craig at May 10, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #146903

Jack,

Do you recognize all the connections? All of the aforementioned countries named are all communist and/or dictatorially socialist nations. I think the intention is in getting these nations to quit with the human rights abuses by generating some level of involvement in such issues but it completely smacks of irony.

This has an air of insanity to it I agree. All of these nations raise huge flags, will Bush use this to somehow berrate the democrats, I assume they will find some way to do it to us.

Posted by: Novenge at May 10, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #146904

NO government run by mankind will live up to the expectations of all mankind, no matter if minority or majority party rules or does the complaining. When partisan political view are removed from the debate, when we accept the shortcomings of any endeavor that includes any person holding any position of power over another, (voted into that power or grabbed via violent coup), we make a simple choice. Make a positive contribution towards change, complain and stomp our feet, do something stupid and or illegal or do nothing at all. Bottom line is this, all the above choices are ours here in the US - not so in China, Cuba, Russia or Saudia Arabia. Movement has been ongoing in the US for 200 years, maybe too slow for some - but always forward. The above mentioned countries have had the opportunity to make the same movement forward and have not been as willing to improve. I for one enjoy my life here in the US and could not imagine being under the boot of any of those countries, be it my religion, political idealogy, economic’s or educational desires. I want to be able to make MY decision, and live MY life, not look over my shoulder for the committee police or the sharia police because I simply disagreed with the leadership and said so out loud or in print. Casto’s prisons? Chinese prisons? Saudi prisons? Russian prisons? Hands cut off, hanging, disappeared, no thanks - bad as prison may be in the US or even Gitmo, that crap just ain’t happening here.

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #146905

MacIrish:

There certainly was torture at Abu Ghraib. In my opinion, its been overblown because in comparison to the beheadings and killings in Iraq, what happened at Abu Ghraib was a blip.

But….there was torture. Some of what was reported as torture really isn’t torture, in my opinion. Sleep deprivation, for example, does not fit my definition of terror. It messes with people, it breaks their defenses down, it can be very unpleasant, but its not torture. Now of course, taken to the most extreme levels, it could be torture—so could be eating ice cream if you were forced to eat gallons upon gallons.

Lynne:

Nice well-thought out response to Jack. :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at May 10, 2006 1:54 PM
Comment #146906

JR:

“that crap just ain’t happening here.”

YET.

Do you really think it happened simply overnight in all of those countries either? How many steps along the road to emulating those nations will we have to take before you are willing to join those already saying “we have gone too far”? Personally, I’d rather see us draw a line in the sand long before we come anywhere close to being as bad as them, rather than holding ourselves in high regard because at least we’re doing better than the monsters so far.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #146908

My questions earlier in the thread are to highlight what I believe are the drifting of this country in the wrong direction. No other president has pulled what this one has—saying that they have doesn’t make it true.

The nature of the way this administration has violated the spirit of constitutional law is the height of hubris and arrogance—signing statements that flount the law, make a mockery of checks and balances, stonewalling legitimate Congressional inquiries, cronyism and patronage of the lowest order. It makes it all the more easy to flount international law, human rights and
solemn treaties. Break it a few dozen times and the next time, you don’t even have to think about it.

I know the argument—we’re at war. Well, if this is war, I think this administration and Republican Congress should start acting like it’s a war—eliminate the tax cuts that favor the rich, start the draft, make the weening off of foreign oil a top national priority, with real sacrifice and real pain, and the paying down of the national debt. I can’t think of a more serious threat to national security than the bozo way the Republicans have been running the nation’s finances. You can’t kow-tow to corporate interests, throw money at the well-off, screw the V.A., and have serious people believe this is war!
(One of the first thing out of this President’s mouth in the weeks after 9/11? Go spend money, folks, it’ll help the economy! War my ass!!) The simple fact of the matter is, if the administration really acted like this was a war, with all the attendant consequences, the outrage of the comfortable would be terrible to behold, and the troops would be out of Iraq in six months.

Which makes it all the more easy to ignore international law on torture, human rights and and solemn treaties.

So our record is better than the four countries above—for now. How long do you think that will last with behavior we’ve witnessed for the past five years? As Lynne has mentioned though, that would be news to the Hondurans, Iranians, Vietnamese, Guatemalens, Haitians, Mexicans,Filipinos and the Native Americans.

So glad to hear that unsupervised domestic surveillence doesn’t bother you. It might have to do with your lock-step agreement with the administration, don’t you think? I believe you’d be screaming your bloody head off it were a Democratic administration.

Unsupervised surveillance of American citizens is a violation of the Fourth Ammendment. I don’t give a damn who’s doing it, whether it’s Bush, McCain, Kerry, Giuliani, Clinton or Willard
Scott. There is absolutely no assurance that any of this surveillance is not being done for political reprisals, or partisan harrassment. That you think this is hunky-dory shows you to be a mere partisan hack who has no concern for Constituional law.

With the track record these people have, their vindictiveness, their lying, their conniving and law-breaking, that you believe its just terrorists that are being tapped shows either an unbelievable naivete, or a partisan blindness that ill-suits you. You’re an intelligent man, but your blind spots are astonishing.

The original question though has to do with the U.N.’s conflab on human rights. I guess if the administration can all but shit on the front step of the U.N. building to show their utter contempt for the institution, if they can appoint hatchet thug like Bolton to stick their finger in the U.N’s eye, then I guess the U.N. can flip their collective finger at Bush and Bolton. Where that leaves real concern for human rights is anybody’s guess.

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 10, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #146909

“More than 13,000 were deported after they VOLUNTARILY reported to register with immigration authorities.

Yeah, big step forward from WWII, we don’t put them in prison now we kick them out of the country entirely and send them back to third-world, terrorist-dominated nations. Yay for the USA, champion of Human Rights!”
Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 01:37 PM


…and your point is???

Apparently these people were here illegally. The fact that they came from countries that do not have good records on human rights is who’s fault?? Oh that’s right - it’s the USA’s fault.
Until the people who choose to flee to free and democratic nations band together and make a stand in their own nations … we are supposed to take them all in?
Part of what the USA does around this enormous world is try to change the bad circumstances people are living in so that they can be proud to say where they are from instead of running from it.
If our own nation cannot band together in this goal we are in for a much longer fight towards peace on planet earth.
At this point food drops, money, and asking nicely for nations to do more for their people are not enough to get the job done.

Posted by: bug at May 10, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #146911

The U.S. torturing just “a little” is like being “a little” pregnant…you are either torturing or you aren’t…

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #146914

Jarandhel

The line in the sand is in the people of the US and, {what I suspect you think is an outdated piece of paper}, the constitution . You may see Abu Ghraib, Gitmo in the same light as these other countries abuses - your choice to believe so and to speak out about it. We have elections to run out of office those we hold accountable for abuses, we have a legal system that while held in low esteem by many ultra liberatarians is still the best in the world when it comes to the rights of the accused. We will not agree, I think, when it comes to military tribunals and enemy combatants, but again you can speak out and try to force change through elections. Should you receive a death sentence in any of those countries it is carried our forth with, no appeals - not so here. Things can always be better, do you really believe that your desire to see change for the positive would be remotely possible in China? Saudi Arabia? Vote your conscience, get out the vote in your neighborhood and blog your brains out. Try this in Russia! Good is good, bad is bad and here we can do something about it.

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #146916


The disrespectful way liberals speak of this country is very upsetting. The tone is out of line, you can make your point and remain with those boundries of respect for the greatest country in the world. America has plenty of people pointing there finger at us already without the liberals here reenforcing there misguided information about this country.

Example:

When I was young I complained about my younger brother, but when someone else came after him I was there to defend him. My younger brother had his defects but compared to the morons that tried to add there unwanted opinion was far worse then he. That didnt mean myself and my brother didnt continue to become better people.

This holds true with america, we strive to become a better country.

Posted by: MacIrish at May 10, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #146917

Jarandhel

Those deported would not have been here illegally, would they? Sending someone home whose visa has expired or who has entered our country on false pretenses is nothing near oppression. It is just following the rule of law. They probably even got a free ticket to whatever better than America paradise they came from.

Re happening overnight in those countries, NO because abuses never stopped happening there. The communist revolutions in Cuba or China were born in bloodshed, corruption and oppression. Remember that the Chinese, not the Nazis, are world record holders in civilian deaths in a single decade. If anything we have to admit that they might be doing somewhat better now (the Chinese because they de-facto gave up communism, moving instead to mere authoritarianism, and the Cubans because they pretty much already killed, imprisoned or exiled anyone who made trouble).

Novenge

I wish that were the case. Cuba has been on the human rights commission before. I think China too. If it was the motivation, it was the triumph of hope over experience, but I suppose it was only the usual UN corruption and hypocrisy at work.

Lynn

Sorry you don’t understand, But if you want to give up on it, I can move on. We both know what you really think, well I do at least.

As Joe says, torture depends on definition. Anything that is no more uncomfortable than a transoceanic flight really cannot be considered torture and if you look at the anti U.S. accusations, that is often what we get. When we have real torture, we investigate and punish the offenders. Crimes happen. It depends on what you do after. We have convicted 103 Americans. How many or Zarqawi’s men do you suppose they have convicted of anything like this?

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #146918

Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia winning seats on the new U.N. Human Rights Council. Huh, that’s “the pot calling the kettle black.” That should tell you everything you need to know about the UN and how effective it is…

Posted by: rahdigly at May 10, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #146923

Jack…sorry you don’t understant that torture is torture…and what counts as torture in one culture may not be defined as torture in another culture…but then the U.S. is woefully lacking in knowledge of other cultures because of its arrogance in believing it is always the first and the best…

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #146929

Jack since you didn’t say it I will.

Lynne is just here to quote bumper stickers and let everyone know that she has teenagers. Mission accomplished Lynne, move along.

Posted by: Craig at May 10, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #146937

Jack and bug:

Yes, the people that were deported were here illegally in that they had overstayed their visas. BUT, if you had READ THE ARTICLE:

“The fate of a large number of immigrants is also complicated by the fact that many of their visas have been delayed due to a tremendous backlog at the INS, creating conditions where individuals and families can wait for months and even years for action on their applications. Many of the 13,000 facing deportation in the government’s latest expulsion of immigrants fall under this category.”

So, we’re deporting them for overstaying their visas when they’re still waiting months or even years to hear back on their applications because the INS is BACKLOGGED and isn’t responding to them in a timely manner.

Plus, gee, I don’t know, maaaaybe the fact that all of these guys are the ones who VOLUNTARILY SHOWED UP TO REGISTER WITH THE INS’s NEW PROGRAM IN THE FIRST PLACE indicates they’re trying to work with the law and not sneak around behind our collective backs. So maybe we should cut them some slack rather than responding by immediately kicking them out of the country. Just spitballing here.

JR:

The constitution outdated? Hardly, though our president seems to think so. But Abu Gharib and Guantanamo don’t exactly live up to the constitution. Where are the speedy trials? The due process? The protection from cruel and unusual punishment? (I will note that our constitution guarantees these rights to PERSONS, not to citizens.) Surely if you do not agree that torture was used, making men lay in naked pyramids against their will MUST be considered at the very least cruel and unusual.

As for the people being the line in the sand, that is a clever dodge of my question. I asked at what point are you willing to join those trying to draw that line, at what point are you willing to actually say enough is enough?

You make a big deal about how we are better than China and similar countries, but that’s rather like saying that a man who steals a watch is better than a man who steals a car, or that a man who cheats on his wife is better than a man who rapes or murders. Why set the bar so low? Why pick the worst nations as examples and say “well, at least we’re better than them”? If you had a child that was getting C’s or D’s in class, would you really just shrug and say well at least he’s better than the kid getting F’s? What happens when he is the kid getting F’s, and there are still worse kids to compare him to, like the ones getting expelled? This is what I mean about drawing a line in the sand. Without it, the stance you’re taking of “at least we’re better than ” becomes a very slippery slope.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 2:58 PM
Comment #146943

Craig:

Sorry, you’re wrong again…teenagers are long past…

Bumperstickers? Don’t think so…just some truisms that fit the topic…

And I don’t need to respond to Jack’s last non-point…Jarandhel did quite well in that respect.

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #146949

Since you brought up “the first and the best” and it seems that these United States do not fit that description, then pray tell who is “the first and best”. Also earlier you cursed the constitution. That is quite offensive. FYI there will be no knock on your door or surveillence of you for your remark. In Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia, Russia, Canada, Zambia, or Somali you would not be able to read this because you would have been hauled off already.

The cultural differences throughout the world are being implanted in America. We are now, to be PC, supposed to be tolerant of and inclusive in our daily routines of queers, Muslims, Commies, predators of all kinds, and many more groups that we do not care to associate with. PC I think means Politically Challenged. Many groups are meaning to change the American way to their way. Existing mores and morality and laws mean nothing to them. But the law abiding American is to allow them to continue in their way without any challenge to whether they even have standing in this country. This country is certainly at a precipice in the history of this world. Here are a couple of things that I belive are necessary for this country to maintain its superiority.

Call in all foreign loans and aid that is to be repaid.
Get out of the UN. What a savings there and not only in money.
Recall ambassadors that are in countries that have totalitarian regimes. We should have no dealings with those governments.
Secure the borders in a way that anybody trying to enter illegally takes their life in their own hands.
That will be a small beginning to revitalizing America.

Posted by: tomh at May 10, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #146952

Our vote is our stance - our individual beliefs of right and wrong may differ because of politics, religion, ethnic heritage whatever, vote your conscience and speak up when you see a wrong, that is America. I think torture is a physical or psychological abuse that ends in permanent wounding, scarring or disability. Human dog piles while uncomfortable, or even degrading do not reach that level, (not cruel or unusual either). They are enemy combatants under military law at Gitmo - not a popular choice but it is what it is - it was their choice to declare war on our way of life. For opponents of the War in Iraq, the war on terror or both, (Insert American culpability here). What slippery slope do you see? FDR interred thousands of American citizens, has the current administration? Won’t happen. The bar is set, we fall short as men may do, but have we changed the bar? No. We still strive for what’s right, making mistakes and carrying on, but going for the bar - not setting it to a dictators whim or an unrealistic sharia law that none but the chosen can achieve. I didn’t pick those nations to use as a measuring stick, the UN did. Again for all who care to read, we may not be heaven on earth but please name and describe in detail the country you chose to compare America to for it’s freedoms and protections. That is why the UN is folly.

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #146959

Jarandhel - I think Tomh was confused when he said that we are all required to “tolerate” queers, etc. You’re right, the Constitution covers this. However, what I believe Tomh meant to say was that in today’s culture we are forced to “accept” all of these things into our daily lives. The Constitution never says anything about opening up our arms to deviance. Tolerance != acceptance Jar.

By the way, nice one unloading the F bomb, classy.

Posted by: Craig at May 10, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #146960

Jarandhel

Being adament about change is terrific, passion when put to good use is a key in making government work for those that elected them. Name calling and swearing make for bad arguments, if you characterize someone by name calling have a fact or background information handy, (if it’s just to vent or rant it leaves me feeling like I’m not arguing a point but a feeling). Hate things as they are? - make a change. Hate for the sake of hating? Does no one any good. I admire an individual that makes a stand, even if it’s not a popular stand, if they are in it for the public good. Remember please, for all the warts you see in America today at the very least you can voice them without the fear of the firing squad.

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #146964

JR:

I think torture is a physical or psychological abuse that ends in permanent wounding, scarring or disability. Human dog piles while uncomfortable, or even degrading do not reach that level, (not cruel or unusual either).

So you’d say waterboarding is not torture? No marks, no permanent psychological damage or disability, right? What about threatening someone with electrocuting their genitals? It’s just a threat, so no permanent damage right? Do you have any idea how far you can go within restrictions like that? Hell, for those who think sleep deprivation isn’t torture, after 72 hours without sleep you are considered LEGALLY insane. Oh, but it’s not permanent so that’s ok!

They are enemy combatants under military law at Gitmo - not a popular choice but it is what it is - it was their choice to declare war on our way of life.

No, they are SUSPECTED enemy combatants. Many have thus far been released without trial, and many more are still being held without trial. Their true status has never been determined, and they are given no right to contest their imprisonment.

For opponents of the War in Iraq, the war on terror or both, (Insert American culpability here). What slippery slope do you see? FDR interred thousands of American citizens, has the current administration? Won’t happen. The bar is set, we fall short as men may do, but have we changed the bar? No. We still strive for what’s right, making mistakes and carrying on, but going for the bar - not setting it to a dictators whim or an unrealistic sharia law that none but the chosen can achieve.

Again, this administration may not have interred thousands of arabs, but we did deport thousands of them despite them coming forward and voluntarily registering themselves. We have begun sending prisoners to other nations to be tortured, rather than condemning torture in all its forms. We have begun holding prisoners without trial at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, years after the wars they were captured in have supposedly “ended” (after all, are we not in an occupation now, rahter than a “war”?). We have begun to accept the idea of eternal or at least generational warfare in the instance of this “War on Terror”. Not to mention approving of preemptive warfare for the first time in American history. The bar is very much moving. And so far the only response from the right is “well, at least we’re not as bad as China or Iraq or Iran…” or whatever your favorite bad guy of the moment is. And that’s the best that you really have to say. Not that we’re doing the right thing, or even trying to anymore, but that at least we’re not as bad as the really bad countries, so hey everything’s all right.

I didn’t pick those nations to use as a measuring stick, the UN did.

Actually, it didn’t. It made them part of a council on the matter, that’s ALL. Not to mention the fact that the performance of council members will now be subject to peer review and if they fail to uphold high human rights standards, they can be ejected by a two-thirds majority vote by assembly members present at the meeting. Sounds like this puts those countries in the position of having a good incentive to improve their standings on human rights. Wonder if that’s why the US decided not to run, so it wouldn’t be put in that position as its bar continues to fall. But hey, we’re not as bad as Iraq was yet, so everything’s alright.

Again for all who care to read, we may not be heaven on earth but please name and describe in detail the country you chose to compare America to for it’s freedoms and protections. That is why the UN is folly.

Our nation was founded at a time when no colony in the world had ever gained freedom from its parent nation. Constitutional republican democracy had never before been seen. Did that stop us from striving for it? No. We do not need to compare ourselves to another nation to strive for better from ourselves. Right now, it doesn’t look like we’re pushing to become better, we’re satisfied with just not being as bad as the next guy.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #146968

Craig:

Last one before I have to go for a bit, so I’ll make this one quick:

I think Tomh was confused when he said that we are all required to “tolerate” queers, etc. You’re right, the Constitution covers this. However, what I believe Tomh meant to say was that in today’s culture we are forced to “accept” all of these things into our daily lives. The Constitution never says anything about opening up our arms to deviance. Tolerance != acceptance Jar.

Bullshit. You’re not being forced to accept anything. Imagine for a minute if Pagans or Jews were the ones being targetted here, rather than queers. They can marry anyone they want to, as long as it’s a Christian wedding. Think that’d fly? They have the right to be Pagan, but not the right to publicly talk about it or express it, that’s inflicting it on others. They can be in the army as long as they don’t tell anyone they’re pagan or doing any pagan things in public, then they get at the very least a dishonorable discharge and possibly prison time. Think ANY of these things would fly in America? Of course not. That’s because it’s not acceptance that’s being discussed, it really IS tolerance, and it really IS protections guaranteed by the constitution. Fine, don’t accept queers IN YOUR FAMILY, or YOUR CHURCH, or YOUR CLUB or whatever, but you CANNOT ban gay marriage under civil law or ban gays from the military. There just isn’t a rational secular justification for it.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #146969

Jarendehl said: “More than 13,000 were deported after they VOLUNTARILY reported to register with immigration authorities.”

They were here illegally. Enough said, and no other justification needed. If you want to bitch, bitch about our government’s racist approach to deportation. Apparently illegal Mexicans and S. Americans are the favorite flavor of the year.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 10, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #146970

Jarandel

The point is that we ARE NOT as bad as the next guy. We respect the rule of law and torture is illegal. There are some lapses and they are investigated. There are some differences of opinion about what constitutes torture. I am flying to Europe on tourist class next week. Anything like the discomfort those small seats will cause my 6’1” 210lb body, IMO cannot be called torture and that is very often what we are talking about. Of course keeping anyone in prison could be torture. Capturing any suspect could be called torture. Yelling at anyone of making them feel uneasy could be called torture. But if we stretch the definition to absurd lengths, we cannot make any improvements. And this is our basic disageement.

You are setting a standard that is ABOVE perfection, IMO. I have no objection to making a terror suspect uncomfortable. You do. I have no problem if a suspect is hurt if he resists. Rather him than the cop. You do. The problem with the perfect standard is that you lose the good one.

If the terrorists (or even the Cubans, Chinese, Iranians etc in their current form) come to dominate the world, it will be a truly horrible place for everyone. You talk about gay rights. In Iran they hang people for being gay. You talk about wrongful imprisonment. There are guys in Cuban prisons that have been there thirty years w/o a proper charge. Almost all European democracies engage in the kind of surveillance you don’t like in President Bush and much more. It is another thing (like nuclear power) the French do right.

American is not perfect, but for a country in our situation, it is about as close as you can come.

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #146973

Jack,

No I do not fear my government,but then I am not really politically active. I do not join in protests or run for office, not that if I saw a duty, I wouldn’t.

Tearing off a letter to the editor is about the extent or ranting among friends is the extent of my political activity.

If I were an active protester or political candidate, I would be highly suspicious of my government’s ability to spy on me. Again I’m refering to Nixon, but he is hardly an isolated example. Reagan actually persecuted several peace acivist groups here in Texas during the Contras issue. They eventually won in court and Reagan was disgraced, although most Republicans seem to have amnesia about that.

Civil rights are not self actuated even here, they must be fought for with money and lawyers. Would I fear a death sqaud here? Not Yet. But some of the arguments you make are least common denominator arguments. I don’t want to have to wonder if Cairo or Havana are safer politically than D.C.

Would you rather be operated on by Dr. Denton Cooley or Jack the ripper? It’s a specious argument that avoids the issue of whether Dr. Cooley is a competent physician.

Vigilance is the duty of citizens of a Democracy.

Would you rather be tortured by the Egyptian Secret Police or the “Contractors” in Iraq who killed their victims?

Posted by: gergle at May 10, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #146976

Gergle

Freedom doesn’t guarantee a result. You get a process. Our Republic does not depend on the virtue of individuals. It is based on law. Presidents and leaders in general - ALL OF THEM - sometimes overstep and we see rule of law.

It is the worst possible system, expcept for everything else.

I think you can make a valid argument about many problems in the U.S. But we live in a world of comparisons and compared with others, we do well. There is a lot of mendacity about this. Foreigners and some Americans pretend it is bad in the U.S. But they tell the truth with their behavior, not their words.

When I was in college, there was a protestor from the Revolutionary Student Youth Brigade (they actually called themselves that) who stood outside the libary and darkly warned the U.S. Government would kill anyone who spoke against them. She managed to say this almost every day. I guess those government guys have a backlog, because she was pretty loud and obnoxious but she was still ranting by the time I left.

I think some people watch too many spy thrillers.

It is really funny how loud the voices of all those silenced people can be.

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #146982

Excuses me, but after signing the Patriot Act, Bush did a signing statement:

”The executive branch shall construe the provisions … that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch … in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information … “

And after the bill with an amendment making torture illegal, Bush did another signing statement “saying his administration would interpret the new law “in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/10/AR2006011001536.html

Just the other day Bush referred to the War of Terror as “WWIII.” So! The Bush administration uses a previous congressional authorization for use of force as an ongoing justification for invoking the unitary powers of the executive branch, as part of the powers of a wartime president.

So yeah, Jack. We torture people. We put them in secret prisons. And no one is obliged to inform you or me or Congress about the torture and rendition. There is no obligation to say how much occurs either.

The links you provide waste time. The US violates human rights just as much or as little as it likes, where it likes, when it likes. Too bad for us.

By the way, did you know the US ranks 29th in life expectancy? (If we include Puerto Rico & Guam, we rank 48th).

Welcome to BushCo.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #146984

Jarandhel -

We do not need to compare ourselves to another nation to strive for better from ourselves.

Absolutely.

Imagine for a minute if Pagans or Jews were the ones being targeted here…

You seem like a smart person, so you know as well as I do where this slippery slope leads. At least you didn’t compare sexual preference to race right off of the bat.

Posted by: Craig at May 10, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #146996

Phx8

This life expectancy thing. It is Bush’s doing? I would have thought it took… well a lifetime to develop.

Re links etc, you are saying that no amount of evidence (or lack) will convince you to change your mind? That is a true conspiracy theory. We know it is happening because there is not evidence.

Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2006 6:02 PM
Comment #147000

Jack,
Of course trends take time to develop. The question is, what is leadership doing about it?

Your links are rendered meaningless because of statements made by Bush in his signing statements. The links present the case made by a high ranking legal advisor from the State Department, and a member of his delegation from the Pentagon.

They can say whatever they want. The signing statements by Bush make it clear, the Executive Branch is not bound by anything these guys say.

Sorry Jack. That was the old United States. Get with the times! “Unitary powers of the executive branch.” Kind of has a ring to it. Not a liberty bell freedom ring though. More like a crime ring.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #147001

Jack,

Don’t you get it yet?
If it’s bad it’s Bush’s fault.
If it’s good it’s either a fluke or the Dem’s managed to stop him - for now.

Posted by: bug at May 10, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #147007

Jack..you WENT TO COLLEGE??!!! Just kidding, I had to.

Jerendhel, I agree with some of what you are saying here, but the republicans have you on the fact that gayness is not a religion (unless Catholic ofcourse). Try this: “All men are created equal” or that there shall be no overstepping of church and state and the reason that gays are not allowed to marry is based almost entirely on a religious precept taken as law. That is the main arguement put to the supreme court in their decision.

I can see an ounce of irony within the left here, we are bad so they can be bad. the main problem with the U.N. is that it is too big of a tent. Sierra Leone can be a member and have a slavery market in place. Algeria can be a member and commit a mass genocide on it’s own people at the same time, as was the case in the mid to late 1990’s. Perhaps the tent needs to be smaller and we need to start playing a smarter game of golden carrot versus economic reprisal and not allow such nations to have any say. Would this prove useful? Or is integration better?

Cuba being involved in human rights on any level is rediculous. Clinton bent over for Cuba with the Elian Gonzales press pandemonium and got nothing in return, not so much as an open market anywhere. WE should simply not be giving Cuba any say in any-thing as they should not at all be a member. China is slowly lumbering around to more democratic initiatives. Russia should be catching absolute hell for Putin’s “managed Democracy” nonsense and fraudulent election practices and a complete lack of a free press. Cheney BTW was way off on blaming Russia for our oil crisis—dumb republican bull-sh*t, quit par for the Bush course.

Saudi Arabia has no reason to change as we cater to them endlessly—wahabism still going strong today—thanks George!

My quest is to find out if VENEZUELA is in the UN as I’m sure they probably have some form of representation there. That would be a hot topic too as to why they are there at all especially with their neo-communist isolationist government under Chavez. That might be the same as asking: “why do lesbians go to pro-choice rallies?”. No one knows the answer to either question really.

The U.N. forum needs to be only for those nations that are worthy of being there and bring other nations in only on a probate level and toss them out of economic initiatives should they go against the human rights mandates which a good portion of those nations cross all the time without any reprisal or quantifiable consequence.

This DOES need to change I just don’t think Bush’s brain-donorship is the force to actually do it. It needs a real overhaul.

Posted by: Novenge at May 10, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #147009

Hmmm, I detect mission creep here.

We went from UN is filled with corrupt governments who hate the US and that we only torture a little to freedom is a good thing.

Again I ask, Why do you feel America should get a free ride on this?

Posted by: gergle at May 10, 2006 6:37 PM
Comment #147012

Craig:

Now that my commute is over, I’ll respond to you more fully.

Since the justification for considering Homosexuality to be perversion is religious in nature, comparing homosexuality to religion seemed more apt; particularly when there are RELIGIONS (Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, Pagans, and others) in the US today who sanction gay marriage. When the government can say that it will authorize 100% of marriages performed by one religion (say, Catholicism) but will only sanction straight marriages and not gay marriages performed by another religion, it very much becomes an issue of government endorsing one religion’s doctrines over another.

Further, the standard response to comparing sexual preference to race is the idea (however mistaken) that sexual preference is something you choose while race is something you are born with. Comparing it to religion takes that factor out of the equation. You choose your religion.

David:

You’re still overlooking (and at this point I can only assume WILLFULLY so) the fact that many of them were waiting for a visa from our INS department, and that it was INS’s failure to meet the deadline rather than theirs. They overstayed their present visa, yes, but they went through the proper steps to get new ones and were waiting for the processing to finish. They also willingly came forward when INS requested they register their presence. Yes, more justification than overstaying their visa is needed to deport them when we are not handing out their new visas in a timely manner. It’s like arresting you for driving without a license when your license runs out, when you go to the DMV and the DMV is telling you that they got your application well before the deadline but that it’ll be six months to a full year after it runs out before they get through their backlog and give you a replacement. If INS is not doing their part and giving out visas to people in a timely manner, we absolutely cannot just blindly enforce laws against overstaying and penalize the people whom INS has failed.

Jack:

The point is that we ARE NOT as bad as the next guy.

I didn’t say we were. And I’ve already gone over the reasons why it doesn’t matter. You may wish to review them.

We respect the rule of law and torture is illegal. There are some lapses and they are investigated.

“Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush’s signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.”

Yeah, we really respect the rule of law don’t we?

There are some differences of opinion about what constitutes torture. I am flying to Europe on tourist class next week. Anything like the discomfort those small seats will cause my 6’1” 210lb body, IMO cannot be called torture and that is very often what we are talking about. Of course keeping anyone in prison could be torture. Capturing any suspect could be called torture. Yelling at anyone of making them feel uneasy could be called torture. But if we stretch the definition to absurd lengths, we cannot make any improvements. And this is our basic disageement.

No, Jack, it’s not. You may want to think it is, but the fact of the matter is that we are NOT talking about discomfort of that level. For all that’s holy, a US soldier was disguised as a prisoner at Gitmo for an unannounced training exercise and was subjected to treatment by his fellow soldiers who thought he was a real prisoner that resulted in BRAIN DAMAGE as his head was beat against a concrete floor. Do you guys even remember Specialist Baker anymore? The “investigation” of this concluded there had been no misconduct in his injury, though curiously the videotape of the exercise has gone missing.

You are setting a standard that is ABOVE perfection, IMO. I have no objection to making a terror suspect uncomfortable. You do. I have no problem if a suspect is hurt if he resists. Rather him than the cop. You do. The problem with the perfect standard is that you lose the good one.

You’re constructing a straw man. Where, exactly, did I say I have any problem with a suspect being hurt if he resists, or for that matter being made uncomfortable? We are not talking about mere discomfort, we are talking about actual harm. We are talking about torture. You may claim that we disagree about what is actually torture, but it’s pretty clear that Congress has defined torture for our president and our president has said in an official signing statement he’ll authorize it anyway if he wants to. My standard is above Bush’s, but I assure you Bush is not “perfection”.

If the terrorists (or even the Cubans, Chinese, Iranians etc in their current form) come to dominate the world, it will be a truly horrible place for everyone. You talk about gay rights. In Iran they hang people for being gay. You talk about wrongful imprisonment. There are guys in Cuban prisons that have been there thirty years w/o a proper charge. Almost all European democracies engage in the kind of surveillance you don’t like in President Bush and much more. It is another thing (like nuclear power) the French do right.

Again you go back to the argument that at least we’re better than the next guy. SO WHAT? Is that your only goal in life, to be seen as a little better than the guy next to you? Of course not. America should take as its goal continual improvement, not just being better than the next guy. Or our nation’s morality will decline, as the “next guy” grows worse in his behavior.

American is not perfect, but for a country in our situation, it is about as close as you can come.

No, Jack, it’s not. I really hate to break it to you, but we CAN improve society. We don’t have to accept the status quo now any more than we did when our nation was first founded. There is ALWAYS room to improve. And we have the responsibility to ALWAYS try to.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #147013

Bug,
Do you understand signing statements? And don’t you wonder how Bush dropped to a 31% approval rating in the first place? That’s not just Democrats or Liberals expressing disapproval. When it comes to life expectancy, or infant mortality, or global warming, every person here knows Bush did not single-handedly cause the problem.

Noting a problem exists, such as a low rank of life expectancy among the countries of the world, does not mean Bush caused the problem. Bush receives condemnation because he does nothing to solve a problem. He does not lead. There seems to be no agenda, nothing.

It’s all politics, and no governance.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #147014

Novenge:

Jarandhel, I agree with some of what you are saying here, but the republicans have you on the fact that gayness is not a religion (unless Catholic ofcourse).

I did not say it was, I was making an analogy and specifically chose religion over race due to the fact that those on the right refuse to accept that people are born homosexual. Please see my last reply to Craig, I believe it clarifies the points I wanted to make.

Try this: “All men are created equal” or that there shall be no overstepping of church and state and the reason that gays are not allowed to marry is based almost entirely on a religious precept taken as law. That is the main arguement put to the supreme court in their decision.

Quite true. And, notably, almost identical to the arguments made in Loving v Virginia in all respects. Which found, incidentally, that the right to marry is one of the most fundamental rights of man.

There is also the fact that some religions in the US DO allow gay marriage and have for decades, but the US government has refused to recognize same-sex marriages performed by these religions, while recognizing the heterosexual marriages performed by them.

At the same time, our government has of course recognized ALL marriages performed by religions whose doctrines restrict marriage to one man and one woman. This amounts to government endorsing those religions’ views of marriage over the views of those religions who open their marriage sacraments to homosexuals.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 10, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #147027

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Boy is it ever! Our system of government is so far gone because of Bush that we have no hope? Is this what I read? But oh, if these new members misbehave the UN can vote them out. That will scare then straight! In UN we trust, US is a bust? Reagan said trust but verify when it came to the USSR but we can’t trust the US because by all accounts I read here Bush is the anti-christ looking for world domination? For all the ranting I read here it’s no wonder some from the far left have called Bush Hitler. If Nixons’ cronies couldn’t get away with breaking into a hotel room do you really believe that in todays 24/7 news cycle that Schumer or Clinton or Feingold or Pelosi or Reed or Howard Dean would allow anything truly illegal to occur on Bushs’ watch? And not get him arrested to make the ultimate in political hay? Really? Because if it’s not rhetoric, not just soundbites then they are the real criminals for letting it happen!!!. NBC-CBS-ABC-CNN-CNBC-NY Times-Washington Post would do anything in the world to get that scoop, not to mention the thousands of bloggers. Secrets suck, but so does dying in flaming building. Nothing is so secret that someone in the alphabet soup of agencies with a leaning for the left wouldn’t give that story to the media immediately. So far the overseas torture prison thing hasn’t panned out, (all the countries named have done investigations and found nothing - or are they in on it too?} Claims of torture from Jihadist who want to see all of us dead, not just republicans, these claims by sworn enemies of America ring hollow to me. Let me see, Bush is guilty of muslim mass murder, torture, wire tapping americans and running up oil prices for his big oil buddies, right? If any of this is true, someone please produce the evidence and become more famous than Woodward and Bernstein, if it’s just a rant let everyone know ahead of time so we can spend our time on real, fact based debate of the issues. Don’t misunderstand, I am thrilled everytime I read these posts - the Chinese, Russian, Cuban and Saudi alternative would be state issued news, freedom of speech no more - so keep on posting if I agree with you or not. Freedom Rocks!

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #147031

JR,
You can’t just arrest the president. There is a formal process of impeachment, which cannot be started if the majority party refuses to allow it. If Democrats win a majority in the House, investigations will finally go forth. If Bush has done anything illegal, such as lying to Congress in order to convince them to vote for the Resolution to invade Iraq, then yes, Bush will have to answer.

As for wiretapping Americans- the first legal case which may involve that is going forward in Portland, Oregon.

Quite a coincidence with oil prices. Exxon racks up the most profit of any corporation in the history of the world under Bush, but it is just a coincidence. Cheney meets with Big Oil and energy companies just after taking office, and by coincidence US energy policy looks like it has been written by those corporations. What a wild coincidence. The US invades the country with the third largest oil reserves in the world on pretexts, and yes, once again, it is merely a coincidence. Most people would agree that between Global Warming and concern for national security, the US would develop policies to free us from importing oil. Uh-uh. Not under Bush.

But that is just a coincidence.

31% approval ratings? That is no coincidence. That is both Democrats and Republicans making their opinions known.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #147032

phx8, like the leadership clinton provided while the genocide in rwanda was going on?

Posted by: mb at May 10, 2006 7:52 PM
Comment #147035

Mb,
That’s a good example. An accurate comparison would be with the Bush inaction over the genocide in Darfur, or the way this administration has completely and totally ignored the LRA in Uganda- a group of sadistic murderers far worse than anything from the Middle East.

The difference is that Clinton learned. I believe Clinton said Rwanda was a mistake on his part. When the situation in Yugoslavia spun out of control, the US intervened. By the end, the US waged a war using air power only. We accomplished every major foreign policy goal in Yugoslavia without a single combat casualty!!! People like McCain demanded more boots on the ground. Clinton went with the Air Force. He demonstrated superlative leadership.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #147041

well thank you phx8, i now feel so much better now that clinton learned, from the death of one million , now i can relax.

Posted by: mb at May 10, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #147052

Sorry but the impeachment blocked by majority line doesn’t wash, yours and others allegations if true would make that political suicide for anyone willing to stop it!
Clinton acts without UN approval - it’s leadership!! No US casualties, but how many innocent civilians did he kill?
Bush acts after UN resolutions exhausted - he’s a tyrant!!
Bush urges UN involvement in Darfur, must not be a unilateral bully! - waste of time where is the US military? Which is it? Oil has nothing to do with Bush or Cheney, is Blair involved too? Our gas is @ $3 a gallon, and it’s a Bush/Saudi/Big Oil cabal. Is this the common theme in the UK? In US dollars they pay almost $6 a gallon. Oil is up because speculators and futures traders drive it up everytime there is an interruption in supply or Mahmoud rattles the Iranian saber at Israel. World economics drives the price of oil, wouldn’t a president with such bad poll numbers save his own presidential legacy and his political party by influencing the price downward? Or is it just about money? Exxon racked up huge profits because they sold huge amounts of fuel, it’s not as if they sold billions of gallons less and made billions more -8 cents a unit is not a windfall profit, if it’s gas, ethonal, milk or widgets. Business needs to be profitable to employ workers, to invest in the precious “alternative fuels” and to be able to continue supplying not just the American market but China an India and every nation that needs fuel to maintain its economic viability. We tried to stop the need for importing foreign oil for the last 30 years but Dems and Repubs have both erred on the side of environmentalist and stopped drilling in ANWR, California and Florida’s coasts. Could American “Big Oil” do a safer, more environmentally sound job of drilling than say, Hugo and his leftist statist drillers? Of course because the uproar here for any envirodamage would bring the enterprise to it’s knees. Keep believing the government controls energy prices, (or their proxy Big Oil), but believing it don’t make it so. Why didn’t Carter take control and get us out of the energy crunch during his administration? The office of the Presidency must have that power inherently, no? Nixon tried price controls and made a mess of things. When a product is in high demand prices are high, when it is not prices drop. Let the market sort itself out, get out of the way of “Big Oil” and watch our dependence on others fall. But push some goofy tax the bums legislation and you will hogtie the very folks who can get us the resources we need. Left is left - Right is right and any belief in the extreme ideology of either is dangerous.

Posted by: JR at May 10, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #147070

mb:

well thank you phx8, i now feel so much better now that clinton learned, from the death of one million , now i can relax.

Not to relax…Bush still hasn’t learned anything from Darfur and the people are still dying…

Posted by: Lynne at May 10, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #147085

JR,
You may be right about impeachment. If Democrats win the House, and through committees and subpoenas bring forward undeniable evidence, then Bush will be impeached, and it will be political suicide to oppose it. For now, Senator Roberts is keeping the Phase 2 hearings into the political misuse of intelligence in Iraq on hold. Despite Senator Reid closing down the Senate to draw attention to the matter, Roberts continues to stonewall. In the House, the committee refuses to look at the articles drafted by Conyers. We will see.

You make one terrible assumption, JR. You assume markets are pro-American. That is not the case. Left to themselves, markets are simply matters of supply and demand. They are neither pro- nor anti-American. The outcome of letting markets decide the most efficient solution overlooks the possibility that the most efficient solution might be absolutely intolerable for us.

That is why government is so necessary in the regulation and even manipulation of markets. Government can act as a conscious entity, willfully directing market results in the national interest.

Because what is good for Exxon is not necessarily good for you and me.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration seems to believe what is good for Exxon is good for the nation. They believe selling port operations to oil-rich countries like the United Arab Emirates is to our advantage. For the Bush administration, and apparently for you, JR, what is good for Exxon and Halliburton simply must be good for the nation.

Posted by: phx8 at May 10, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #147832

Lynn,that is a horrible sight. and if bush is turning a blind eye, like clinton did at rwanda, then can we say like you and phx8 said , he learned from it? and point fingers at each other? it sounds very immature to me.

Posted by: Mb at May 13, 2006 1:59 AM
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