A Little Something on the topic of Torture

fructose_boostI had lunch with my Dad the other day.  I like having lunch with him because he gives me an insight as to what the “Joe Turnip” Republican conservative is talking about politically these days, and he’s able to maintain his cool even when I’m telling him things that he doesn’t want to hear.  Well, most of the time he keeps his cool.  It’s all part of a healthy dialog between differences of opinion!  Face it, if you can’t have an intelligent and rational conversation with someone of your political-opposite – you’re probably the “crazy political” person that nobody wants to be around.

Calm, rational and intelligent political conversation is challenging!  Keeping your cool is difficult!

Of course, my Dad repeats Republican “talking points”; Rush Limbaugh’s (ridiculous) ideas and whatever Fox News is currently pushing out on their noise-maker, which is helpful to know what the “average Joe Turnip” from their camp is thinking.  It’s partly why I love Keith Olbermann so much: He’s running stories that clarifies the GOP/Fox Noise Talking Points and throws their views under the proverbial bus by explaining the history of the subject, the back-drop surrounding the subject with a wrap-up on why the GOP is wrong in every aspect of the subject.

At one point in time, between finishing our chips and salsa and our fish tacos arriving, Dad’s kinda stressing out on the topic of Republicans’ views towards this whole Turture thing – thanks to Team Obama.  My Dad’s pretty ticked off: Obama smeared Bush and was enacting revenge by releasing these torture memos – blah blah blah. After years of these “political power-lunches”, it’s more like meditation with an organic “ohmmmmmmmmm” and holding it as long as necessary.  You just let them scream – while you hum: “ohmmmmmmmm”

But then my Dad obliquely said this:

“And you know… This waterboarding was not torture!  It wasn’t!  Look, no soft-body tissue was damaged and they were not killed.  In fact, they had a doctor standing by to make sure that the prisoner was safe!  If no soft-body tissue damage occured, and there’s a doctor standing-by – then it wasn’t torture!!”

Easy point to argue?

Here’s me:

“Dad;  Dr. Mengele was standing by while Jews were turtured in Germany.  It was still torture! I highly doubt that since a doctor was on-hand while these people were waterboarding poses a credible smell-test.”

My Dad was NOT pleased with the analogy.  But, that’s his problem, not mine.  Chalk two gold stars for me.

Last Friday Olbermann discussed the issue of “water boarding” in a historical sense

  • During the 1898 Spanish-American war: US soldiers were using a technique called “water cure” on POW’s in the Philippines and they were courts marshalled.
  • In 1968, the Washington Post published a photo of a US Troop waterboarding a North Vietnamese POW.  Following an Army Investigation, that soldier was courts marshalled.

Huh?!  Huh?!  You see what I mean?  I like Olbermann because he educates me instead of telling me what my opnion should be.

I repeated these points to my Dad, and by noting that torture via waterboarding isn’t something new!

It’s gone on a long time, and the information collected from torture is completely useless:  Just ask John McCain!

Dad didn’t agree – He wanted to get technical by pointing back at the face that “soft tissue” of the body wasn’t harmed – so it doesn’t equate to the technicality of “torture”.  (In other words – we didn’t cut, pierce or gouge skin, limbs or flesh.  Since we didn’t cut off their ears, for example, this couldn’t be considered, techincally “torture”.)  Again, he’s stuck on the issue of “soft-tissue damage” as if it’s something…anything…that prevents his beloved Republican President from being accused of War Crimes.

He lost the argument, again. Two more gold stars for me.

Me:

“Dad: You don’t get to the priviledge all-of-a-sudden to simply redefine what constitutes “torture” because it’s politically convenient!  US Law, International Law, the UCMJ and the Geneva Convention has clearly defined what constitutes “torture”, and the subject of “soft-tissue damage” isn’t included!  If you want to re-define what constitutes “torture”, based on a technicalities – you’re going to have a lot more work ahead of you than simply dismissing the topic because it’s politically convenient!”

Later that night, Keith Olbermann had Maj Gen John Batiste on his show and he had a rather lengthy conversation on the subject of Torture.  Batiste noted that we should examine the Geneva Convention’s “Common Article 3” and look at the photos of Abu Ghraib to decide for ourselves about the topic of Torture.

At the 5:48 time-stamp, Batiste says:

Batiste: Morally, I think most Americans would agree now, that what had happened was torture, pure and simple.  If you don’t believe it, Google “common article three of  the Geneva Conventions”, read about it and reconcile that with the pictures you’ve seen of Abu Ghraib, and make your own decision.”

An interesting idea, No?!!

From the NY Times and Anti-War.com, let’s look at the Geneva Convention’s “Common Article 3” and align it along with photos taken directly from Abu Gharaib:

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

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

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

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

(b) taking of hostages;

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

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

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavor to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

The GOP is furious with President Barack Obama for releasing the Bush Administration’s memos related to torture.  And yet, Maj Gen. Janet Karpinsky makes a great point: Where were these Bushies when these photos being released to the public sector years ago?  They should have been proud of themselves by noting all of the “good information” they obtained from this torture!

But they’re not saying that now.  Today, they’re saying that since there wasn’t any “soft-tissue damage”, then it doesn’t equate to the technical word — the clinical word that defines: “Torture”.

Years ago, I heard a story about the Germans who lived during the World War II Nazi Germany Days.  Long after the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals had finished, Germans who were alive and active in supporting the Nazi’s never understood exactly what made the rest of the world so horrified by what they had done. For decades, Hitler’s Youth grew up, had children – eventually grandchildren and all the while, they never really grasped exactly what made everybody around the world view their actions as being so heinous, so vile.

They became an oddity from within their own society and they never fully understood why all the attention.

Perhaps that’s the lesson I have to learn when I have lunch with my Dad the next time.  He’s never going to understand anyway.  Along with what remains of the GOP, he’ll never understand exactly why it was wrong what we did, and all of the miscellaneous details that identified these men to be tortured this way under our watch, will be a legacy that will be left to the rest of us.

We tortured these people.  And for once, instead of adding to a long history of indigenous peoples quarrantined on Native American reservations,  POW’s given blankets infested with tuberculosis and small-pox,  Japanese-Americans being thrown into prisons, and another President Bill Clinton deciding to ignoring the Iran-Contra crimes…We need to stop this train-wreck once and for all.  We should bite the bullet, and let the Bush Administration face the War Crimes Tribunals and let the Republican Party find a way to work around the situation on their own.  They stood-by and did nothing when they had the chance when those photos first appeared back then — so their inaction has to have consequences.

Define: Arrogance

Rotten FruitI found this astounding.

I spotted a sub-note on dKos on some topic about the RNC passing a resolution that demanded the Democrats re-name themselves as the “Democrat(ic) Socialist Party”.

Who does this?  From Democrat(ic) Underground:

A number of conservative members of the Republican National Committee are pressing the committee — and by extension, Steele — to officially adopt the position that the Democratic Party is socialist.
Over a dozen members of the conservative wing of the RNC have submitted a new resolution, to be eventually voted on by the entire RNC, that would call on the Democratic party to rename itself the “Democrat Socialist Party.” If the RNC adopts this resolution, the RNC’s official view would become that Democrats are socialists. From the resolution:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
RESOLVED, that we the members of the Republican National Committee call on the Democratic Party to be truthful and honest with the American people by acknowledging that they have evolved from a party of tax and spend to a party of tax and nationalize and, therefore, should agree to rename themselves the Democrat Socialist Party.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Who are these people? And what have they done with the Republic(an) Party?!

They’ve had the time (and the money) to spend making resolutions to demand their political rivals to re-brand them- selves?  …Because they don’t like them?

I have an idea:  I want to formally introduce a resolution within the Democrat(ic) National Convention that will demaned the RNC officially acknowledge that they have evolved from being a party of fiscal and social conservativesThe Knux: Bang! Bang! (a.k.a. the Republic(an) National Convention), should therefore agree to rename themselves as the “National Association of Pinheads”.

When will the Republicans begin to act more like a political party and less like a Frat Party?

The, ehem, “Lighter Side” of Conservative Republicans

Just a short photo-blog of what these “patriotic” conservative Americans think about our President, and our country. I think it will pull a tear out of your eye and compel you to stand up, put your hand over your heart and belt out “The Star Spangled Banner” at the top of your lungs.



Ah yes… Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler: the similarities are uncanny!!

I’m so old,I remember a day when you could disagree with the President of the United States, but you still respected the person and the position.  Does anybody remember a “Nixon, the New Face of Hitler” sign?  I’m trying to remember if I ever saw a sign that said: “The American Taxpayer are the Jews for Kennedy’s Ovens”!Adele: Make You Feel My Love

Republicans are disgusting.  And they still don’t understand why they’ve been booted out of office and their policies are irrelevant.  Go figure!

Stephen Colbert Obliterates the NOM Ad

NOM, the National Organization for Marriage, recently published an Ant-Gay Marriage ad to the public. In spite of what the ad says, it used paid actors to publish the ad as well as the content is extremely misleading.  (You can watch the ad by visiting NOM’s website here.)  Stephen Colbert to the rescue!
colbert-adColbert’s version reminds us that they used paid actors as well as David Gest being a “beard” for Liza Minelli.  Absolutely hysterical!
Paul Oakenfold: Starry Eyed Surprise

Irony

Hrmmm… Doesn’t like the gays – but he does enjoy getting his balls sucked off?!  I’m confused.  Maybe it’s that whole “Kilroy Was Here” look this guy’s got going on…
I suppose I shouldn’t throw stones while living in my own glass house….
Alanis Morrisette: Isn't it Ironic

Hot and Sexy Men Playing with knives

marks-apron21My husband “life partner” and I took off to the outlet malls in Albertville last week.  Spring is just around the corner, so you couldn’t keep “The Gays” from the outlet malls to save your life these days.  Especially the kitchen and cooking shops.

While we were swimming through the piles of mindless kitchen gadjets, I happened on a whole rack of the best aprons I’d seen in decades.  French maid aprons, tuxedo aprons, and a whole ton of them with “DIVA” emblazoned across the chest.

I had to have one.  My husband “Life Partner” has becomed accustomed to my wacky “feminine side”.   I just can’t seem to stifle that burning desire to be as flamingly queenie as I possibly can.   But, I resisted.  They were twenty bucks – and I didn’t want to spend tenty-bucks on an apron that said: “Queen of Everything”.

We agreed to split the costs of the kitchen junk we both fell in love with.  An egg seperator, a tiny whisk with a bright yellow chick for a handle, 5-pack set of kitchen towels (in lovely blues of course), a lemon squeezer that could double as a lime squeezer if we flipped the little green insert, a nice Microplane zester and we were about broke!  The cashier, accompanied by a colleague, rang up our total and asked; “Are you two from Canada?!”

I shot back: “Do we look like Canadians?!” and her collegue unvoluntarily let out a stifled snort.

“No, but it just seems that this time every year, we get are fair share of…”

“Gay Canadians?!” I shot back suspiciously.

“Well…. Yeah!” she said sheepishly.

“Look Honey,” I said defiantly, “you might get away with insulting us as a gay couple, but you’re not going to get away with insulting us by mistaking us as Canadians!  We live fifteen miles down I-94!”

By the time, the colleague’s attempt to hold back her laughter failed miserably.  The cashier had tears coming out of her eyes trying to keep control of her own hysteria.

By this time, everybody was laughing and she gave us our receipt and said: “There’s a $10.00 coupon on that receipt so bring it back and get ten dollars off anything in the store.”

I said: “I’ll come back in fifteen minutes and buy one of those aprons!”

She said; “Aren’t they great?  I love them too…  You want ten bucks off right now? I’ll let you buy one of my aprons and I’ll give you ten bucks off right now!”

“Do I have to give you my receipt?!”  I asked.

She said: “Nope!  I’ll just let you have the apron for ten bucks!”

I got it at 50% off.  What a deal!

So, the apron you see there says:  “Queen of Fabulousness”, which explains everything in the world you need to know about me.  The ties around the neck make a perfect pink bow as well as the waistline ties – which I need help tying sometimes.  I don’t know where the little red ribbon came from, but I thought it was just perfect in a tiny red bow right on the center of my chest.  When I’m cooking, (since I’m no longer bartending) I wear my fabulous “glitter goggles” on top of my head so I can see what I’m doing!  …And that pocket!  You just can’t go wrong with that cute little pocket dangerously close to my nether-regions!  Bree van de Camp would be so jealous!!

The dishes in the sink are clean and haven’t been put away.  The papers stuck on the fridge is the YMCA schedule, as you can clearly see … I really need to be a member there.  The knife in my hand is sharp and headed towards butchering a chicken better than Julia Childs ever could and the “glitter goggles” on my face is a trade-mark of mineRight Said Fred: going on some nine years since we were in Chicago.  (When I was bartending, I made those glasses my trade-mark and every gay guy in the Twin Cities could have killed me for those glasses.)  And, the kitchen floor needs a good cleaning…

So, now you know what I look like – you can stop thinkinig that I really do look like this thing…

Freepers React to Gay Marriage in Vermont (Hint: They’re Extra Patriotic!)

Joe.My.God did my homework for me.  He’s cherry-picked a long list of comments left on Free Republic who’s spun a thread about the news that the Vermont legislature overwhelmingly over-rode the (Republican) governor’s veto on gay marriage.

Here’s what these Patriotic Americans had to say:

Patriotic Republicans

Patriotic Republicans

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“I await the volcanoes, the tsunamis, the hurricanes and hopefully, the destruction of Vt and its pacifist secular socialism by the Lord. I actually do want it to happen with good Americans being protected as we see in the OT, when God protects believers that do good and trust the Lord. Since VT doesn’t seem to believe in the Biblical God or His standards, perhaps a nice lesson in humility would be a nice taste of God’s wrath.”

You mean – like Lot and his wife who had to leave Sodom and Gomorrah? Like, when God bombed those Biblical “Twin Cities” with fire and brimstone? Oh wait, mass destruction of the country only happens in that Bible Belt. Hurricane Katrina, Rita, Hurricane Hugo, and Alberto – God only hates the Bible Belt states and this douche is crossing his fingers hoping it’ll happen in Vermont some time.
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“Homosexuals like to target beautiful areas and states to infect them with their agenda to force the abhorrent lifestyle upon the unsuspecting, though often liberal-tending, population. It is going on all over the country.”

Yes…We’re looking for the “extra-pretty” areas of the country first. You’ve discovered our super-duper secret plan – because the Grand Tetons and Yosemite just isn’t gay enough!
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“Now it is time for the animal-lovers to file a lawsuit to get recognition of marriage between humans and animals. Equal protection and all…”

Woah, buddy! If you’re going to start humping your own dog’s leg – we’re just not interested! m’Kay?!

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“And I guarantee that kids in Jr High and younger who have this stuff pushed at them daily….as “love” and marriage, HAVE NOT A CLUE, what it takes to commit a homosexual act. If they are told the truth, they will naturally be repelled”

Bitter!! Party of one! Bitter!?!  Bitter Party of one?!

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“I really would love to see millions of conservatives not republicans move out of their liberal states think about it they will lose money red state gets <strike>mroe</strike> more money we have the second amendment <strike>recognised</strike> recognized to people who go to church not laughed at we would increase the electoral college count too”

I would love to see millions of Republicans and conservatives move out of Minnesota too. I mean; “Honestly…We just can’t get rid of these Republicans fast enough!!”  Face it, there’s just not enough elderly conservative old Republicans  who’ve moved to Florida yet!  (Oh wait…Florida’s electoral votes went to Obama, too.  Nevermind!)

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“they account of 5% of the population yet there is so much fact and numbers about them being sick , dying,disease, serial killers, child molesters etc we have to counter the Hollywood for two girls being together is sexy, it is not the lesbians are not Hollywood they are manly looking wearing strap ons. men who are doing it are poking in a hole where our waste comes out and then they suck it. disgusting and not cool. yes it is sick and visual but I found it is the only way for us normal people to understand how sick these people are”

Hrmmm… It’s the “gays” that are child molesters?! Really? Is that true?! How is it that every time a child molester is arrested, the guy isn’t wearing a feathered boa? I’ve never seen a child-molester wearing drag. I’ve seen plenty of wives who’s husband has been just arrested for child molestation  crying into their kitchen towels sobbing: “I just never knew!” But never seen a child-molester wearing leather suspenders, jackboots, a gay pride pin on his black t-shirt and a pair of handcuffs getting stuffed into the back-seat of a squad car.

American FlagIt just makes you take a deep breath of fresh air and swell up with pride, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s not let any of these extra-patriotic dumb-bells know that just yesterday, Washington DC voted unanimously to recognized same-sex marriage from any state in the union who allows it.  Currently, that list of states seems to grow.  From the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press:
Vermont, Massachusetts, and Iowa all allow same-sex marriage, while New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all recognize civil unions and Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai’i and Maine recognize “domestic partnerships”.  It’s funny, don’t you think?   The Associated Press, who made this map – would use orange, red and pink to show which states recognize their gay citizens’ relationships.

What does Jackie and Dunlap think about this topic?

Leave it to those two to speak truth to power…Frank Sinatra: Love and Marriage

Does anybody remember when Jerry Falwell compared gay marriage to slavery? How many years did that Moral “Majority” fat-cat run around screaming about God’s wrath towards homosexuality and the dangers of ruining the “holy sanctity of (heterosexual) marriage“?  Massachusetts has been allowing gay marriage for – six years now?  Is there still a danger of losing that “holy sanctity” in that state?   I’m not seeing “God’s Wrath” there!

Isn’t the true danger all about these religious bigots being pushed back into obscurity?