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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

we are become our enemy

check this out. america is a class-a human rights offender. from the regional summary,

Hypocrisy and a disregard for basic human rights principles and international legal obligations continued to mark the USA’s “war on terror”.

we’ve come so far in just a few presidents – from an old inaugural speech:

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed today at home and around the world

posted by roj at 3:11 am  

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

fema requires minders – north korea comes to louisiana

the concept of having a fema “public relations officer” present to interview the thousands of people housed in fema facilities post-katrina strikes me as… well… “evil empire”ish (to borrow a phrase).

have doubts? a transcript, in part, of an interview with a fema-housed katrina evacuee and an unidentified security guard. the key phrases are: “Yes, you can be interviewed — if they had a FEMA representative with them, but since they don’t and do not have an appointment” and “That’s not his privilege.”

in the united states, rights of free speech and press are both established by the first amendment to the constitution, and louisiana, when last i checked, was still part of the united states (and not some enclave of a foreign land where the us constitution doesn’t seem to reach).

SECURITY GUARD: Turn it off.

AMY GOODMAN: We were going in the car, and he said, “Please interview me.”

SECURITY GUARD: Yeah, he — he can’t. That’s not his privilege.

AMY GOODMAN: He’s not allowed to talk?

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: What’s wrong? What’s wrong?

SECURITY GUARD: You can go — get that — you’ve known the deal since —

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: No, I don’t know the deal. Tell me. What is the deal?

SECURITY GUARD: You can go get interviewed as long as it’s off post. Otherwise, you, like I said, I can call the 800 FEMA number and have them come in —

AMY GOODMAN: You mean, he has to come off of the property?

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: What is — there’s a problem being interviewed?

SECURITY GUARD: Turn it off.

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: Turn it off, man. I don’t want no problems.


RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: ’Cause I don’t know anything about not being able to be interviewed.

SECURITY GUARD: You — no, you can be interviewed, as long as it’s off the installation.

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: Well, okay, we can move over there.

SECURITY GUARD: Other than that that [inaudible].

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: Okay, we can move over there. ‘Cause I was sitting out here reading my Bible. But I didn’t know anything about — we will not being interviewed, because —

SECURITY GUARD: Yes, you can be interviewed —


SECURITY GUARD: — if they had a FEMA representative with them, but since they don’t and do not have an appointment —

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: Oh, okay. ‘Cause I know they do it all the time.

SECURITY GUARD: Yes, they have the FEMA public relations officer with them.

RENAISSANCE VILLAGE RESIDENT: Okay, well, I didn’t know.

SECURITY GUARD: I’m not mad at you, Red. You know that.

AMY GOODMAN: As we drove off of Renaissance Village, we were chased by the guards in golf carts, who said they would be taking down our license plate and that we couldn’t return. This was the day after FEMA had ended the free meals that they had been providing to the more than thousand people, anyone who wanted to take advantage of it in Renaissance Village, again, about an hour away from New Orleans in Baker, Louisiana.

updateprevious article on fema trailer park rules here [via metafilter]

posted by roj at 1:03 pm  

Friday, March 10, 2006

not in his name

A Veteran’s Letter to the President [Joseph W. DuRocher, 2006]

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to �disappear� them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a �signing statement� that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

i salute mr. DuRocher.

posted by roj at 2:39 pm  

Thursday, March 9, 2006

the peter panse case

my america values art and culture and realizes that we are all nude under our clothes.

Pete Panse is a talented and popular high school art teacher in Middletown, NY who uses traditional techniques to to train his students. In December 2005 Mr. Panse was suspended from his job for recommending that some of his advanced students consider taking figure drawing courses that included nude figure drawings. Mr. Panse is suspended from his job pending hearings after which he may be permanently fired, ending a 25-year teaching career. In the meantime, his students are sitting in study hall learning nothing and failing to prepare the materials necessary for their receiving scholarships.

save art for our children. seriously.

perhaps even more importantly, save a good teacher for the children yet to come.

posted by roj at 1:53 pm  

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

defending warrantless search

so my attorney general had a few things to say today, among them this gem:

“As far as I’m concerned, we have briefed the Congress,” he [Gonzales] said. “They’re aware of the scope of the program.”

the best explanation the administration can cook up to explain why the fourth amendment only applies when it’s convenient is “we told you we were doing it, so it’s ok”?

which might, in classic political rhetoric be interpreted as “i’m going to go home and beat my wife now.”

oddly enough, some constitutionally-aware people had something to say back…

[image from cnn]

posted by roj at 7:58 pm  

Saturday, January 21, 2006

now all we need to do is burn the reichstag

an interesting piece in an interesting place.

President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets. This would give him absolute dictatorial power over the government with no checks and balances.

so, if this story is correct (and why wouldn’t it be), then all the paperwork is already in place. the lawyers have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s and all we have to do is wait for a hint of terrorism on american soil

i’ve generally considered the bush administration and the fear-based “war efforts” more aligned with italian fascism, so i do hesitate, if only for a moment, to invoke the symbolism of the reichstag.

that said, it seems more and more apparent that the america in which i live has tred on that slope just a bit too far. so far, the evidence of specific racism (an obvious defining characteristic of the nazi phenomenon) just hasn’t appeared (the bush administration doesn’t appear to fear or loathe people of any color – just poor people). so, no, bush is not a nazi. he is a third-world strongman and petty dictator that happens to have a first-world military machine at his disposal.

adolf hitler on benito mussolini, mein kampf

I conceived the profoundest admiration for the great man south of the Alps, who, full of ardent love for his people, made no pacts with the enemies of Italy, but strove for their annihilation by all ways and means.

bin laden doesn’t need weapons of mass destruction to destroy america; he only needs united states president george w. bush.

posted by roj at 9:45 pm  

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

considering the lack of veto

an interesting statement that floated into my brain…

Bush doesn’t veto bills because in his view, he doesn’t have to; he can simply ignore the ones he doesn’t like.

congress makes laws, but they only apply to the executive branch when they are convenient. and i only get access to the courts if i’m not designated an unlawful combatant or shipped offshore to a camp. from the “conservative” party, no less. i’m sure the people that wrote the constitution felt that it was more of a guideline than a rule.

posted by roj at 8:34 am  

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

we have already lost the war

or, to put it another way….

Fear destroys what bin Laden could not [miami herald, 2005.12.26]

I evidently have a lot poorer insight regarding America’s character than I once believed, because I would have expected such actions to provoke — speaking metaphorically now — mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate. I would have expected proud defiance of anyone who would suggest that a mere terrorist threat could send this country into spasms of despair and fright so profound that we’d follow a leader who considers the law a nuisance and perfidy a privilege.

i, too, have no insight into america’s character.

posted by roj at 4:37 pm  

Saturday, December 24, 2005

looks like i won’t be visiting ohio any time soon

your papers, please.

update: aclu analysis and call to action

posted by roj at 1:57 am  

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

torture is an invaluable part of the war on terror?

on the record, off the record. nevermind that it’s not a war on terror.

Rice On Torture [voice of america, 2005.12.13]

The United States does not condone torture. It is against U.S. law to be involved in torture or conspiracy to commit torture, and it is also against U.S. international obligations. And the president has made it very clear that U.S. personnel will operate within U.S. law and within our international obligations.

an eery parallel? could be… we seem to be in the rabbit hole. life imitates art.

Take caution in your tone, Commander. I’m a fair guy, but this fuckin’ heat’s making me absolutely crazy. You want to know about code reds? On the record I tell you that I discourage the practice in accordance with the NIS directive. Off the record I tell you that it’s an invaluable part of close infantry training, and if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my base how I run my base. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me. So don’t for one second think you’re gonna come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous.

yes, i want the truth… and the truth will out.

posted by roj at 9:03 am  
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