TortureThe current big news (aside from a an extension for the operating budget of course) is the recent release of the Senate’s report regarding the ‘enhanced’ methods used after 9/11 to gather information.  In another word, and I said it at that time, it is a report on the US government and specifically the CIA using torture. Continue reading “Torture”

Random October Observations

Graphene CrystalI have not had a good list of those little observations in a long while, partly because most things of late have been a longer post. However, I have come up with several shorter pieces of information to share over the last few days. They range from some comments on the Nobel Prize for Physics concerning the invention of a graphene to the tea party’s hijacking by the likes of Glen Beck and a very personally disappointing Sarah Palin. Somewhere in between there will be some comments on about how I think Toyota got a raw deal from the government regarding the recall, but that really goes back to September. Mixed in there somewhere will be a little bit about the FreeCycle concept what I think is wrong with it working as well as it should.

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Sarah Palin

Sarah PalinI am sure that her name has just started showing up in about one million of places all across the network. I just heard and have since read to verify that Sarah Palin is the presumptive nominee for Vice Presidential with John McCain. I have to say this one shocked me a bit. It is happy shock though, as I am more than sure I was not like the two front running possible selection very much and that was turning me further afield from McCain at all points. Especially given his recent straying from the maverick positions he has held on issues in the past, I was actually hoping against all probability that McCain would choose Joe Liberman.

I do not think Liberman would have gone over well with the established republican party though. I personally think he and McCain would have made an awesome ticket, but I think the only way it would have really worked is for them to have run on an independent ticket. I think they could have done that, maybe more successfully then they would have realized, but anyway.

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Presidential Abortion

Yesterday there was a bit on the radio about what has typically been a hot button, voting block issue – abortion. It is unfortunate that on this one issue, it seems like I will never be correctly aligned. The more liberal the politician the more apt they are to fully support this women right’s issue. The more conservative, the more apt they are to want to take this one by the horns and outlaw it with a Roe v. Wade overturn. Of course, this should come as no surprise to me. Conservatives are so about wanting to legislate morality these days, that, as I have point out before, they have fundamentally gotten away from the idea that conservative should be wanting little government – hence the very reason that I find myself leaning more toward the party of liberty all the time.

So, a quick review of the presidential candidates and their positions. Obama pretty much supports an open right to a woman’s right to choose, tough he noted the choice should be made in conjunction with husbands, family, preacher, minister, doctor, or whoever else. And he also made a point noting that a state should have the right to limit certain kinds of late-term abortions. McCain on the other hand, has firmly stated, despite his sometime renegade voting record (where I have usually agreed with him over just a straight republican block vote), he will, if elected make an effort to balance the Supreme Court with new appointees that will likely overturn Roe v. Wade.

Obviously one of these views is much more in tune with the government being hands off and not meddling in things that really are not any of their business. I don’t think I have to point out which one is which, and I do have to point that out your probably are not likely to be reading this blog anyway. Point is though, I am not a one issue voter. But when I see things like this, and start to look at a few other things I really am not liking either candidate that is running for president very much. I really think our two-party system as become too rigidly defined and unable to break out of any mold into new territory if you wish to be successful in the bigger game of national politics.

And for the record, while I am on this rant about abortion and such – one thing I have mentioned to more than a few people in my past and never really been able to explain very well is this. A woman can’t have a child by herself, it takes a man and woman to start that seed. I completely realize that woman’s body is hers and she needs to be able to make choices about what happens with it. But how is that a man signs over all his rights in the decision-making process when the deed is done. Take for instance, a woman has an abortion without telling the father – given my current desire to have children, if that happened with out it being discussed I would be devastated, crushed. Hopefully, before I got in that situation I would feel like I knew the woman well enough to ensure that would never happen. Turn it around though, and accident happens – woman, without consulting the father, can have the child – possibly without him even really knowing. But then he could and would be responsible to his paternal duties of support if nothing else as soon as she pursued the issue. No one seems to see my point that I think the man is getting a raw deal in this decision-making process.

Of course, maybe the larger problem with my hang up is I have no real solution to offer – eventually I mostly come back to living with the fact that the man assumes the responsibility at the point engaging in the act of creation – the woman does have that extra window, largely due to it being her body and the right to do with her body as she will to do what she needs to do. Of course,there are some that would argue it is all moot, that true liberty should be granted to the unborn child, whose rights would be infringed on if it is aborted and I can almost see that too – especially if it were mine.

Torture is Wrong

Prompted by a friend, this comes from a conversation this morning, but it is something I have been meaning to write about for a while. At what point is torturing an individual, possibly to get information, the right thing to do? When is it justifiable? Now mind you, I am not talking about putting pressure on someone and asking, but rather things such as waterboarding, which has been something we as a nation have allowed in the recent past.

So, for those wondering, my take on this is torture of that kind of nature is wrong. Fundamentally it could lead to something like Nazi Germany, where the rights of the individual are denied for the supposed greater good of society. As a libertarian at the core, I can’t see that as a valid argument for the justification, regardless of what may be at peril otherwise. To do so, basically makes us stoop to their level. However, from talking to my friend, she feels, despite being a libertarian herself, quite the opposite.

She feels strongly, (and I admit this is based on a few minutes talking on the phone before work early this morning) that if the suspicion merits, it justifies the need for such measures. Her exact sentiments were something to the effect, “if they are going to be barbaric then we have to met there barbaric tactics with the same.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that we take it easy on the likes of such suspected terrorist. However, I do ponder if McCain were to win the presidency, how he, a former tortured POW himself, would feel in giving the orders condoning torturing someone else regardless of what is at stake. I personally feel we can NOT go down that road as a country, otherwise we are opening the door for every occurrence of an American soldier being captured to be subjected to torture just because of the suspected actions of our country by whatever organization captured said soldier.

Again, I emphasize, do NOT get me wrong. Fundamentally in the end, once a terrorist that is captured, convicted beyond a doubt of such crimes, that we adopt Ron White’s version of Texas justice – an express lane to death row. However, I feel strongly that we do need to give everyone their fair chance in a legitimate court of law prior to such actions taking place without being subjected to torture, pursuing confessions or incrimination of others. After all, we all know, even from medieval times, that under torture not everyone will break and when they do the information given is of questionable truthful standing.

Not intended for public consumption

As I sit here this wonderful spring morning in limbo waiting on a couple of other things to happen so that I can proceed with my plan to take over the w… er… plan for the day I thought I would make another entry or two here on my blog. I am sure that everyone who is reading this has been aware of the recent week on the political front, especially as Obama and Clinton continue to slug it out for the democratic nomination. I am further sure that most everyone is aware Reverend Wrights controversial comments made in the pulpit and the subsequent defense of his statements this past few days. I think that Wright has pretty much said enough and the Obama has filed for a divorce basically, so nothing really needs to be said there.

What I do want to touch on is a senator (I believe I have that correct) who was interviewed by NPR on either Monday or Tuesday afternoon this week. His comment in defense of Wright was something like Wright made these comments in his church, similar to being with a close group of family members, and the comments “were not intended for public consumption.” Now what kind of inane logic is that?

First of all, as a semi-public character, speaking from the pulpit, assumed at an open church (ie, you didn’t have to present a membership card at the door or they booted you out) how can anyone think that it was not an intended for both the church and anyone in the public. Besides that, anytime you take the podium, even if it is a pulpit, you are speaking in public. I also have to wonder, what were the videos shot for to begin with? Was this a for a broadcast to local TV? I don’t know the answer to that, but if it was then the public outside of the church was certainly welcome.

Take this one step further though, suppose I am in a group of people at the office and someone in the group tells a sexist joke. Obviously not intended for the public – just the two or three people immediately surrounding the person telling the joke. However, if someone nearby overheard and was offended do you think the argument that the joke was not intended for public consumption would hold up in any sort of sexual harassment proceedings later brought about? And for the record this is much more a case of not intended for public consumption then someone preaching the pulpit.

Lets move to the extreme, as so many folks really are questioning why this is even news worthy in respect to Obama’s campaign for the White House. Lets put the situation in slightly different light. Lets suppose that it was discovered that McCain’s preacher made comments from the pulpit that said the KKK had the general right idea and that America was being brought down from its greatness by its minorities (NOTE: I am speaking hypothetically here – I do not necessarily believe this way nor do I have any evidence that McCain’s preacher holds such views). But if this were to be the case wouldn’t we be in an absolute uproar about McCain being the presumptive nominee for the Republican party? The assumption would be completely that if McCain associated with such times that he must hold at least somewhat similar views.

Anyway, just a little irked at how much the racial card is being played in this election process this year. I feel that it is a strong double standard of reverse discrimination going on throughout the process. Of course, the obvious would be said, I am a white man so I am a racists. But just so you know, I think Condolisa Rice is a pretty clear choice for McCain’s running mate and I further suspect McCain will be a one term president and I would not object to her running for the White House herself in four years.

Conservativism and McCain

I find myself back at a Panera (note I was at a different one yesterday). I am taking a brief break between the things that I have to do today in different locations and I really needed some coffee. Panera has both good coffee, decent wireless connection, and is right along the path I had to drive anyway. It would have been foolish to pass it up.

As I was sitting here I was reminded of a conversation from some obviously very conservative gentlemen at the Panera yesterday near to me. They were all in agreement that Senator McCain was not the right guy for the republican party. They all had the opinion that he was not conservative enough for the republican party but the exact issue that he was not conservative enough on varied between them.

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