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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-09-29 20:09
  Subject:   And so the US legalizes torture...
  Music:Requiem For A Dream OST - Lux Aeterna (main theme)

I'm hardly surprised or shocked by this kind of thing any more. The NeoCons are quite simply evil, and that fact is quite clear to anyone who's been paying the least bit of attention. They do not have ethics; they do not have morals; they do not value human life - not one whit. I can think of no better summary than Keith Olbermann's recent editorial (thanks, flemco). Quoting George Orwell, Olbermann eloquently explained the NeoCons:

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power, is power.

How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. A world of fear and treachery and torment. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever."


The version of the detainee bill now in the Senate not only undoes much of the McCain-Warner-Graham work, but it is actually much worse than the administration’s first proposal. In one change, the original compromise language said a suspect had the right to "examine and respond to" all evidence used against him. The three senators said the clause was necessary to avoid secret trials. The bill has now dropped the word "examine" and left only "respond to." In another change, a clause said that evidence obtained outside the United States could be admitted in court even if it had been gathered without a search warrant. But the bill now drops the words "outside the United States," which means prosecutors can ignore American legal standards on warrants.

The bill also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who has "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Quick, define "purposefully and materially." One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network.

The bill simply removes a suspect’s right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open. As Vladimir Bukovsky, the Soviet dissident, wrote, an intelligence service free to torture soon "degenerates into a playground for sadists." But not unbridled sadism — you will be relieved that the compromise took out the words permitting interrogation involving "severe pain" and substituted "serious pain," which is defined as "bodily injury that involves extreme physical pain."

In July 2003, George Bush said in a speech: "The United States is committed to worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes, whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit."

Fellow citizens, this bill throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems it necessary — these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law.

I’d like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. Do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.


And though I'm not surprised, what still annoys me is what a bunch of gutless, ball-less, slavering cowards the Senatorial Democrats were. If there was ever a bill that shouted out to the world "FILLIBUSTER ME!"...

I was thinking, in fact, that if it had been me, I would have stood in front of the mic, reading my battered and dog-eared copy of Snow Crash to the Senators, over and over again, until my voice was hoarse and my whole body ached from standing for days on end, until my eyes would no longer focus on the page, until lack of sleep finally cut me down where I stood, bloody but unbowed, making one desperate last-ditch effort to save my country. Finally, someone, one single person, willing to stand up and do what everyone knows is right. To stand up against what everyone knows is wrong.

I was hoping against hope that someone in the Senate might do that. I've put off posting about this for a couple of days now in just such a hope. But evidently, some jackass kid computer programmer from Colorado has better and higher morals than the entire Federal Government of the United States of America...

The bill is, of course, blatantly unconstitutional. Anyone who's actually read the 6th Amendment can tell you that. It's not even in question that this bill was consciously designed by its writers to circumvent, to deny and to destroy our Constitutional rights. You can bet, however, that the redneck 52% who just LLUUUVVV Dubya will shout from the rooftops that this is a victory for America, a victory for Democracy, and a victory for freedom.

(And another bill winding its way through the august (*cough*) halls of our nation's capital will very soon legalize warrantless wiretapping. So much for the 4th Amendment then, as well.)

Welcome to 1984. We're only 20 years behind schedule. Not bad, for a government project...
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Coinneach Fitzpatrick: Fuck you too Georgie
  User: scarybaldguy
  Date: 2006-09-29 21:14 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Fuck you too Georgie
How can we (the people) make it unmistakably clear to the rest of the world that we're horrified by us.gov's relentless march over the cliff and into the abyss of totalitarianism?

I voted for none of the shitweasels currently infesting DC. I write blistering letters to my alleged representatives, stopping just short of actual threats. I've participated in demonstrations and protests, and none of it matters BECAUSE THEY DON'T FUCKING CARE WHAT WE THINK.

Let this be my apology to the world. Yes, some ignorant Americans are pleased by our government's actions. However, most of us are embarrassed, appalled, and disgusted. We have a clear understanding of history and human nature, we see exactly what's coming, but we're powerless to prevent it.

Please... forgive us.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-09-29 21:25 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)

Help me drop a tac nuke on DC.

"It's the only way to be sure."
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Coinneach Fitzpatrick: Target
  User: scarybaldguy
  Date: 2006-09-29 21:51 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
You know what, this is precisely the kind of situation that the Founders envisioned when they codified RKBA.
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osmium_ocelot: flare
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-09-30 01:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   Lately, I am often reminded of these words...
"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."
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  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-09-30 03:52 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Well, having been abroad a lot and talked with a lot of Europeans, both before and after 2004, I can say that before 2004, there was a general sense of "okay, they didn't know what they were getting into," sort of a free pass for the American people.

Post-2004, having re-elected Bush, there is much less sympathy. They generally acknowledge that roughly half of us don't want this and are victims of it too, but that on any given inter-personal exchange*, the chances are better than half that the individual in question thinks Bushy is great.

*Though there is a certain selection... anybody going to Europe... and France in particular... is much less likely to be a Bush fanatic.
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Seven Star Hand
  User: sevenstarhand
  Date: 2006-09-29 22:29 (UTC)
  Subject:   The time has come to think outside of the box or else...
Hello Ben and all,

Understanding and fixing the failings of politics and democracy for the benefit of everyone, everywhere

Politics is little more than greed, arrogance, falsehood, hero-worship, and injustice taken to extremes and organized into teams (nations, parties, interest groups, etc). It is the struggle for your group, hero, and viewpoint so you can profit at the expense of others. This forces others to do the same in self-defense, causing an endless loop, downward spiral, and no-gain effect. When money, religion, and politics are intermingled, they form a true inescapable trap or bottomless pit. It is the opposite of compassion, cooperation, justice, and wisdom and causes you to expend dramatically more effort, time, and resources than necessary to achieve lesser results than are possible when you simply cooperate and have compassion, empathy, and charity for each other. Harmony and cooperation are on the perfect path, while politics, religion and money are ignorance, strong lies, strong delusion, and utter folly.

The primary, though hidden purpose of politics is to effectively divide and conquer populations who support and participate in these great delusions. Politics serves to dramatically slow and confound progress towards common and common-sense goals that most people want to achieve. This is one of the reasons why major problems persist for centuries. When people finally cooperate to solve problems for the good of all, problems will finally be solved and stay solved. On the other hand, participating in and supporting politics causes problems to persist and even to reappear later, though they were apparently solved previously. Because of the ability of those who also control money and religion to reverse past progress and prevent true cooperation, politics is a great deception and a trap and the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice.


...and here...

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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-09-29 22:41 (UTC)
  Subject:   I don't think so.
Theocracy is not the answer. Sorry.
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  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-09-30 04:02 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: I don't think so.
Theocratic leanings are what put us here, with the notion, "all means are justified if we/God get our way."
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Willow: Broken Willow
  User: willow_red
  Date: 2006-09-30 00:22 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Broken Willow
This makes me sad and angry in ways that words cannot adequately express. The thing that upsets me and frustrates me most is that I saw this coming on September 12, 2001, and I am too unskilled and ignorant of the ways of the system to do anything to prevent it.

It is because politicians allow these things to happen that I consider all of them, without exception, to be scum. True, a politician will occasionally have a moment or two of humanity, but the cess pool they live in swamps that more often than not. While certainly not practical, I sometimes think it would be a great improvement if our system of government worked at least partially like the one described in Arthur C. Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth. Anyone who aspires to public office is immediately disqualified from holding such an office. I know it won't happen, but I sometimes become desperate for anything that will cut down on the level of megalomania that persists in Washington, DC.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-09-30 00:35 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I am too unskilled and ignorant of the ways of the system to do anything to prevent it.

Playing the system's game only corrupts you. Buying into an inherently bad system is not the answer.

At present there's only one group of people who can end this madness - the ones who have the power to impeach. And they're cowards.
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  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-09-30 03:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Seriously, I think this country is moving on a one-way-street, a street that leads to doom. I dont think it, in its original intent, can regain balance from the direction it has headed. That saddens me beyond words, that I am giving up on the country my ancestors once regarded as their salvation.

*whistles the canadian anthem*
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-10-01 07:30 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
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May 2015