a facebook response to a wingnut

December 2, 2009

1)I did not know it was a Navy SEAL. However, how do we know the guy was a terrorist? Seriously? Was he convicted in a court of law? If we have eye witness accounts of him throwing a grenade or laying an IED on a truck route or something, we have evidence and we put them on trial. That’s how our system of justice works, period. I understand that our soldiers are in harm’s way and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. They have the courage to do something I don’t have the courage to do. I hope they come home safely as soon as possible.

2)That article you sent doesn’t actually prove that torture works. In fact, we know it doesn’t because people will tell you whatever you want them to say when you torture them. Sleep deprivation and waterboarding are illegal. Either we are a nation of laws or we aren’t. Using all means necessary, as you say, means we are not a nation of laws. Waterboarding has been considered torture since the Spanish Inquisition. Please understand, the United States put Japanese soldiers to death and imprisoned them for waterboarding our soldiers. Why are we allowed to do it now? I believe in the Geneva Conventions, no matter how inconvenient. It has been an international system of justice for 60 years, and for us to forego that means that we are not the country we were. I refuse to let terrorism change our nation that way. Yes, they are bastards and cocksucking pieces of shit who should put on trial when caught and executed as our system of justice allows. Torturing them allows people like Bin Laden to recruit more terrorists. And what about torturing an innocent person? What if the person who got the fat lip, I know, bad example, was really a farmer who lived near the person the SEALS were looking for. Do they have the right to beat him up to get information out of him? What does that teach them about American values?

3)With regards to our forefathers not having Boeing 747s in their lives to deal with all and all that jazz, that is what made them so genius. They made the Constitution flexible to change over time. It can be amended to deal with today’s world and it has been amended many times. We have 26 amendments now. They amended the 4th amendment to include the FISA court to listen in on phone calls. Why? Because they understood that it was important to be able to listen in on possible bad guys BUT they still need to get a warrant to do that. To get that warrant, you need probable cause. No probable cause, no warrant. Bush broke that thousands if not millions of times and there are penalties for that. 5 years for each instance.

Now you say “War on Terror” and blah blah blah but we never officially declared war on any of those nations. Only Congress can do that. Unfortunately Congress were spineless following 9/11 and let Bush do whatever he wanted, until he wanted to do immigration reform but that’s another story. And we have imprisoned people for YEARS and given them no trial. I believe it is the 6th amendment that gives EVERYONE, not just Americans, the right to a speedy trial. Holding someone in a detention cell, whether in Cuba, off the coast of South Carolina, or Romania, Lithuania or Afghanistan is illegal if they do not get due process. That has been the foundation of Western Law for almost 800 years and I don’t want to revert back to the 1200s to deal with people who live like it’s the 1200s. We capture someone. We talk to him, offer him cigarettes, hope to get information out of him but without evidence, sorry, we have to let them go after a short amount of time. That’s how our justice system works.

One big difference between us, I think, is that I this is a law enforcement matter and not a military matter. I don’t think that having 250,000 troops and just as many mercernaries (I realize they don’t all have guns but) in the Middle East is the way to improve our national security. Why not have a soldier standing at each park as security if you’re so concerned? Dude, don’t let the terrorists win. If you are afraid to take your child to the park, they win. If you think you won’t go to New York because Khalid Sheik Mohammed is going to be on trial there, the terrorists win. They want you to change your life, to step on our system of laws and be bad guys, just like they are.

4)Healthcare: I don’t go to the doctor’s in the States anymore, really, I live in Germany and have 6.5 years but spend a couple of months a year in America every single year but I have been following the health care debate closer than probably 98% of the people in the United States. I have not heard about these questions being asked but personally,I think we need to know about every single person that owns a gun. Hell, Christianists in Congress today want to get involved in who can have abortions and these are the same people who want LESS government involvement. It makes no sense. Unfortunately, the majority of democrats have negotiated the farm away with the Blue Dogs and 1-3 Republicans to get the health care bill to where it is. I’m of the opinion that wanting to help people get health care is a good thing and it’s something Jesus would have wanted probably. Jesus probably would have been a socialist, even.

5)I am for the troops but we also have laws and rules. We are not monsters, that’s what separates us from those terrorist bastards but we better make damn sure we know who is a terrorist before busting their lip or we are just monsters too. By the way, the President’s biggest job is not to secure our nation but to defend the Constitution. That’s pretty explicit.

6)Funny you bring up France. They have what is considered the best health care in the world. Anyway, the fact we can disagree so vehemently is one of the great things about America. I also think that if we could get through all the filters to the real information, you and I would agree on probably 66% of most major issues.

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Afghama

December 1, 2009

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

I’m going to be asleep tonight while the president of the United States makes what I think will be his biggest mistake to date.  He’s made quite a few mistakes probably, Geithner as Treasury Secretary, not taking a more hands-on approach to the health care debate and not repealing DADT but tonight at 8pm EST I think, Obama is going to explain to the world why sending 35,000 more American soldiers in the graveyard of empires is absolutely necessary for the national security of the United States.

What are our strategic objectives in Afghanistan?  Are we staying to help prop up both that government and Pakistan, and to keep Pakistan from freaking out about India moving into southern Afghanistan to fill our void?  Why can’t we afford health care for our citizens but we have to seek out and destroy dudes living in caves like it was the middle ages?  I thought we elected Obama to make changes.  Having a surge in Afghanistan is not the change I voted for.  Now, and this is a big, BUT, if he were accelerating withdrawing troops from Iraq and then sending them to Afghanistan for a tour for this big strategic push, “fine”.  But now we will deploying nearly all of our available soldiers to the most corrupt place on earth?

Our economy is hanging by a thread, the banksters are lighting hundred-dollar bills and reading about poor rich people having to sell one of their vacation homes, Sarah Palin’s bus tour is really an expensive plane from place to place and America’s citizens can’t get the help they need to get back on their feet and instead of healthcare, something that lets people sleep a bit easier at night knowing that they can get the care they need if they get sick, we’re going to spending that same amount of money (on the credit card or are we paying for it upfront?) on sending some soldiers to their FIFTH tour to hell.

This better be one hell of a speech and I just had the worst thought.  If I am lucky enough to live to be 80 years old, will there still be US soldiers in Afghanistan?


Istanbul

April 5, 2009

Barack Obama is going to Istanbul today.  What a city, not necessarily one of my favorites by any means but that city is huge and unsavory and yet pious and energetic.  So much history there, especially if you read the book 1453, a historical account of Constantinople being sieged and defeated by the Ottoman Turks.  It’s a fascinating story and the city has a mosque converted from one of the largest churches in the world, from the Justinian period around 650AD or so.  I saw underwater cisterns from the Romans.

Anyway, this is a good opportunity for Barack Obama to try and soothe some of the aggression and tension between fundamentalists and the West.  I wish him luck.  It would be great to be able to reduce some of the anger in the world.


Treason

February 4, 2009

definition: a violation of allegiance to one’s country, esp. by attempting to overthrow the government.

If President Obama instructs General Petraeus to bring him a 16-month withdrawl timeline and the General says on radio, tv and/or newspapers that this is not going to feasible or even Ray Odierno, the commander in charge of forces in Iraq says that the SOFA (American-Iraqi joint operating agreement that American soldiers must be out of the Iraqi cities this summer) is not going to be followed, is this not treason?  By not following protocol and rank, two of the highest ranking soldiers in the United States are actively attempting to undermine their commander-in-chief’s plan…I have respect for both of these men as soldiers, as having worked their way up and excelled in everything they’ve done, and served their country.  But the Bush years allowed “the Military” to dictate some policies.  Barack Obama is of course extremely interested in what the two soldiers have to say when they brief him in the Oval Office.  But when President Obama decides a course of action, those orders must be followed unless they are in direct violation of the Constitution.  No one has asserted such a thing.

**editor’s note: on retrospect this post looks a bit hysterical but I think I am still scarred and gun shy from the Bush Years where any form of opposition in opinion or direction was questioned as unpatriotic. What, you disagree? Don’t you love America?  🙂


Images

January 23, 2009

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/01/the_inauguration_of_president.html

images of the inauguration from around the world.  And please watch the Daily Show from last night, absolutely amazing commentary about America in this moment… http://www.thedailyshow.com


An email I sent to a few friends

November 7, 2008

http://www.digbysblog.blogspot.com

this is a website i read for news analysis.  she makes some very points. You might not get all of what she’s talking about if you don’t follow this stuff very closely but her main point is that now that obama has paved the way for “liberal” people to govern at least for a couple of years, we have to make sure that the things that people on the left side of the spectrum like:
*energy independence
*global warming
*abortion rights
*universal healthcare
*ending the iraq war

I’m sure you all could add more.  The internet has allowed people like us to become more involved in the political process.  You must have the experience of calling your congressman’s office and letting him/her know that a concerned constituent is against some vote coming up, like the next Iraq war or about habeas corpus.  When I get a list of all of the numbers for the congressmen/senators, I’ll send out an email to ya’ll, but it’s from hearing from his constituents that helps persuade him just as much as lobbyists, even more if he knows he could lose the great job he’s got. Sometimes people like you (us) will have to do our parts to make sure the democratic process that we just used stays in use.  If they don’t hear from us, they listen to those who talk to them.  They have to know we’re watching them.

Did you know that Massachusetts voted to decriminalize marijuana up to one ounce?  And I’m so ashamed of being Californian this week with Prop 8 passing, it’s a really sad commentary on a place that I am usually extremely proud to come from.

Anyway, I want you guys to know something.  Here in Germany, there has been some anti-American sentiment since 2003 and it’s been taken for granted but with the election of obama, you can visibly sense that a good 25% of all anti-American sentiment just completely vanished. It’s been one of the best feelings of my life the past few days, having the first time i really cared about an election where i followed it nearly every day for the past 18 months.  I have been an Obama supporter since he announced his candidacy on a February morning in 2007 on the steps of the Springfield court house, where Lincoln once spoke.  And it wasn’t only his speech but his sense of history.  The office of the Presidency should be one of great esteem and obama gets that.  I kept waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us (and still could someday, I’m sure Obama is already starting with a lot of hostile enemies) but no matter what, Obama has put himself in a position where I think the movement he has started could continue without him in the future.  That’s what he has done.  It has gotten millions more of us interested in the democratic process.  That is the BEST way to be more satisfied with your government, when there is interaction.

Here’s a piece from a news analysis blog i go to often.  This is what I mean…
——————————————————
Making Him Do It

by digby

I was reading through the comment section of a few posts this morning (something I rarely can bring myself to do anymore) and I realized that I need to remind people of something that’s very important for successful governance:

FDR was, of course, a consummate political leader. In one situation, a group came to him urging specific actions in support of a cause in which they deeply believed. He replied: “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

He understood that a President does not rule by fiat and unilateral commands to a nation. He must build the political support that makes his decisions acceptable to our countrymen. He read the public opinion polls not to define who he was but to determine where the country was – and then to strategize how he could move the country to the objectives he thought had to be carried out.

If Obama wants to govern as liberally as the political circumstances allow, then we need to work to make sure that the political circumstances include a strong liberal base. Mindlessly cheerleading out of a misplaced sense of loyalty will not help him. As Roosevelt understood, politics are interlocking interests and constituencies that have to be brought to bear to achieve certain goals.

In the current political world, I believe that Obama and the Democrats need a strong left wing that is out there agitating in order that we can continue to build popular support and also give them a political excuse to do things that the political establishment finds too liberal. Being cheerleaders all the time, however enjoyable that is, is not going to help them. Leaving them out there with no left wing cripples them.

One of the problems for Democrats has been that there has not been an effective progressive voice pushing the edge of the envelope. Therefore, when they inevitably “go to the middle” as politicians often feel they must do, the middle become further and further right. It is my belief that one of the roles of the progressive movement is to keep pulling the politicians back to the left, which often means that we are not being publicly “supportive,” in order that we really do end up in the middle instead of farther to the right than the country actually is.

I’m not an idiot and I know very well that Obama needs room to govern. A big historic victory, a village predisposed to at least give him a chance and a set of very serious crises to confront will give him that. My role is to make sure that the progressive agenda is pushed as well, and to make sure that the village knows that we are watching. I don’t mind if they hate me, if they also have a healthy respect for the fact that I will stand up for what I believe in. I think this is necessary for successful politics. I don’t expect to win all the time (or even most of the time) and I will be very, very supportive when the Democrats come through. But I believe that they need us to keep their feet to the fire.

In addition, we need to start the long process of making progressivism the default political identity of the young. That requires rhetoric that stands strong and takes pride in being liberal. Politicians may have to say that they “represent all the people” and give lip service to bipartisanship, but there is no reason that they should have to run from the progressive label or feel the need to kick their own base in the teeth in order to govern. That’s bad for our politics in the long run.

So, everyone needs to relax a little bit about the blogosphere criticizing Obama and the Democrats. We are necessary. If all Obama has is the Villagers and the right defining what change means, then those are the parameters within which he will have to operate. He needs us to “make him do it.”

I’m sorry if that’s a buzzkill, but things move fast in politics and there’s no time to waste. The mandate is being defined as we speak. We can’t just sit back and bask in our glory while the villagers are busily narrowing Obama’s options.


Still floating

November 5, 2008

Ok, I’m dead tired but loving listening to Howard Stern and the gang talk about the election and Robin had a classic line: “Bush fucked up so bad these last years that he made the way for a black guy to become president.” hahaha

Work went well today, a beginner class learning restaurant vocab, then a one-on-one with a lawyer afterwards, then a quick cup of coffee with franziska (i didn’t actually have any because I’d just had two cups of coffee and she actually had a capuccino), then a train to the next town, taught two more classes, another about restaurant vocab and then a 90-minute discussion about the election, german politics, stereotypes. I was entertaining but exhausted.

I took the train to the edge of freiburg and then wanted to take a tram instead of going all the way to the main station.  But the tram never came. That never happens.  It leaves on time or within one minute of leaving but it never came.  There was an old university student standing next to me and I told him that no tram had come for 15 minutes.  Oh, probably an accident he says, let’s hitchhike. It took 10 minutes but a girl gave us a ride into town.  She was actually on the way into the city for her final exam ever as a student. She was really nice and hyped up because she had planned on taking a tram but it never came so she had to get her car.

I then went to the supermarket, bought some pork, tortellini, spaghetti sauce and some yellow roses.

Franziska came over and we chilled out for a bit and then I realized that I had made a stupid mistake when booking train tickets for my friend Chad who is coming soon.  I designated the tickets to be sent to california when they should have been sent to me here in Germany. I had to book new tickets for him and felt stupid and was mad at myself.  I hate putting myself out unnecessarily.

Anyway, then Franziska left to go see the Freiburger Orchestra and I’m in the hammock chilling and planning to be up until 10pm and then brush my teeth and try and sleep until 8:40pm.

All of my university class plans have been changed.  We’re going to read the following two articles from the glorious Onion.  The second article is one of the prescient things I’ve ever read but the first piece below is more serious than normal Onion pieces:

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

November 5, 2008 http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nation_finally_shitty_enough_to

WASHINGTON—After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.

Faced with losing everything, Americans took a long overdue step forward and elected Barack Obama.

Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

“Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, ‘Things are finally as terrible as we’re willing to tolerate,” said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. “To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you.”

Added Obama, “It’s a great day for our nation.”

Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked. Another contributing factor to Obama’s victory, political experts said, may have been the growing number of Americans who, faced with the complete collapse of their country, were at last able to abandon their preconceptions and cast their vote for a progressive African-American.

After enduring eight years of near constant trauma, the United States is, at long last, ready for equality.

Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday’s election.

According to a CNN exit poll, 42 percent of voters said that the nation’s financial woes had finally become frightening enough to eclipse such concerns as gay marriage, while 30 percent said that the relentless body count in Iraq was at last harrowing enough to outweigh long ideological debates over abortion. In addition, 28 percent of voters were reportedly too busy paying off medial bills, desperately trying not to lose their homes, or watching their futures disappear to dismiss Obama any longer.

“The election of our first African-American president truly shows how far we’ve come as a nation,” said NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. “Just eight years ago, this moment would have been unthinkable. But finally we, as a country, have joined together, realized we’ve reached rock bottom, and for the first time voted for a candidate based on his policies rather than the color of his skin.”

“Today Americans have grudgingly taken a giant leap forward,” Williams continued. “And all it took was severe economic downturn, a bloody and unjust war in Iraq, terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan, nearly 2,000 deaths in New Orleans, and more than three centuries of frequently violent racial turmoil.”

Said Williams, “The American people should be commended for their long-overdue courage.”

Obama’s victory is being called the most significant change in politics since the 1992 election, when a full-scale economic recession led voters to momentarily ignore the fact that candidate Bill Clinton had once smoked marijuana. While many believed things had once again reached an all-time low in 2004, the successful reelection of President George W. Bush—despite historically low approval ratings nationwide—proved that things were not quite shitty enough to challenge the already pretty shitty status quo.

“If Obama learned one thing from his predecessors, it’s that timing means everything,” said Dr. James Pung, a professor of political science at Princeton University. “Less than a decade ago, Al Gore made the crucial mistake of suggesting we should care about preserving the environment before it became unavoidably clear that global warming would kill us all, and in 2004, John Kerry cost himself the presidency by criticizing Bush’s disastrous Iraq policy before everyone realized our invasion had become a complete and total quagmire.”

“Obama had the foresight to run for president at a time when being an African-American was not as important to Americans as, say, the ability to clothe and feed their children,” Pung continued. “An election like this only comes once, maybe twice, in a lifetime.”

As we enter a new era of equality for all people, the election of Barack Obama will decidedly be a milestone in U.S. history, undeniable proof that Americans, when pushed to the very brink, are willing to look past outward appearances and judge a person by the quality of his character and strength of his record. So as long as that person is not a woman.

Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

January 17, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that “our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.”

President-elect Bush vows that “together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us.”

“My fellow Americans,” Bush said, “at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us.”

Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

“You better believe we’re going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration,” said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. “Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?”

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.

Asked for comment about the cooling technology sector, Bush said: “That’s hardly my area of expertise.”

Turning to the subject of the environment, Bush said he will do whatever it takes to undo the tremendous damage not done by the Clinton Administration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He assured citizens that he will follow through on his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge’s coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment to bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Norton, Bush noted, has “extensive experience” fighting environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint manufacturers and as an attorney for loggers and miners, in addition to suing the EPA to overturn clean-air standards.

Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as “a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman’s right to give birth.”

“Soon, with John Ashcroft’s help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an abortion clinic,” Bush said. “We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies.”

Soldiers at Ft. Bragg march lockstep in preparation for America’s return to aggression.

Continued Bush: “John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state.”

The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.

“Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close,” House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. “Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton’s America.”

“For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped,” conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. “And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that’s all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up.”

An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

“After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012,” Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. “That’s not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in.”

“You have no idea what it’s like to be black and enfranchised,” said Marlon Hastings, one of thousands of Miami-Dade County residents whose votes were not counted in the 2000 presidential election. “George W. Bush understands the pain of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my people again.”

Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

“We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two,” Bush said. “Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there’s much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation’s hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it.”

“The insanity is over,” Bush said. “After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad.”