Thursday, September 21, 2006

Downsize Violence. No Torture

T. E. and Catherine, (my wife).
We were walking out of a soccer match at the stadium in Chengdu, China.

My wife, Catherine, was upset this week. She was upset because of a political matter no less. Understand this fact of life with my wife: Catherine never gets upset on matters of politics. Of course she'd have to be that way as she's married to me. I think you all get the picture. Well, the political frustration comes because the USA's President wants to set a policy to allow torture. This is upsetting.

I seldom mention my wife in this blog. She gets props (posts here) for getting press coverage and showing up in a family photo as we've been out and about. But, all-in-all, this comes as an exception. This one is a biggie -- with her and, of course, with me too.

This organization in DC did a fine job with its email blast on the topic. It is repeated and worthy. Most of all, actions on your part are welcomed.
Human Rights Watch needed a grassroots organization to fight an evil bill in Congress. They called on us. We are happy to oblige, because the evil is great, and requires urgent action from YOU.

The whole world is going insane.

* When someone implies that Islam may be rooted in Violence, Muslims the world over "rebut" this criticism by committing Violence!
* Here at home politicians say the Islamists want to destroy our Freedom and the politicians "rebut" this threat by destroying our Freedom!

The antidote to this insanity is YOU. You must keep your head while others are losing theirs. And you must also be resolute, firm, and direct. Toward that end . . .

We are going to be blunt in this message. We are going to put aside our usual reticence about naming names in order to avoid pointless partisan divisions and offending deeply entrenched loyalties to personalities. The crimes involved are too great. We mus t, like Emile Zola in the Dreyfuss Affair in 19th Century France, stand up, and point, and shout: "I accuse!"

The President of the United States wants to legalize torture. The President wants to create "Star Chamber" courts. These are war crimes. They are crimes against humanity. They are crimes against our heritage and our Constitution. They are being done in your name. And they endanger your future.

President Bush wants legislation that would empower the federal government to . . .

* Arrest non-citizen U.S. residents accused of terrorist involvement as "unlawful enemy combatants."
* Arrest non-citizens for contributing to charities linked to militant groups.
* Charge, try, convict, and punish people based on evidence they have never seen, and cannot rebut. (Such courts are called "Star Chambers," and they are a stain on the history of the human race.)
* Prohibit the accused from challe nging the lawfulness of their detention before an independent court.
* Hold people in military prison for life, without ever telling them the cause of their detention.
* Subject detainees to cruel and unusual punishment.
* Use evidence collected through torture to secure convictions.
* Redefine the War Powers Act to grant torturers "Get Out of Jail Free" cards.

On the Background page for our campaign against this legislation you will find links to letters from two Generals who are former members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They oppose these new federal powers. They know these powers will do nothing to defend us. Instead, these new powers will only endanger us.

* They will create new enemies.
* They will put our troops at increased risk of torture, now and in the future.
* They will stain America's reputation forever.

The reasons for this are perfectly clear . . .

* Information gained throug h torture is useless. Victims of torture will say anything to stop the pain.
* Convictions rendered by "Star Chambers" are baseless. We cannot know who is guilty unless we test the evidence using due process. "Star Chamber" courts will prohibit us from knowing if we have convicted the guilty or the innocent. But . . .
* If we do this, WE will stand convicted in the eyes of the world and of history, and we WILL be guilty.
* And we will move millions who now bear us no ill will into opposition against us.

I could go on -- and on and on and on. But what I've said here should be enough to get you moving (I hope). So I only need to inform you of two more things . . .

First, Congress likes to fight evil with a lesser evil. The lesser evil in this case is a bill from Senators Warner and McCain that would eliminate legalized torture and "Star Chamber" courts, but it would still create special tribunals. We don't ne ed these either. The Geneva Convention, the federal courts, and the Uniform Code of Military justice have served us well in the past against enemies far more terrifying than the Islamic terrorists. But . . .

If the busy-bodies in Congress simply must pass something, they should pass the Warner-McCain bill. Our message to Congress for this campaign is carefully crafted with this in mind.

Second, we need to be bigger. Our government is out of control. We need the size and visibility to wack Congress up side the head with a metaphorical two-by-four whenever necessary. Only you can make this happen by contributing to make it happen.

(Go to their site, DownsizeDC.org, to click and send messages to the Congress.)

Now, go forth and fight evil. If you won't, who will?

Jim Babka, President, DownsizeDC.org
Now what are you waiting for....

2 comments:

TJ said...

This is a good posting. It is extremely correct and to the point. I'll definately revisit.

I just posted a list of pretty funny political criticisms that were made by intelectual people dating as far back as Plato. They really hit home. Hope you visit.
TJ

Mark Rauterkus said...

update

We succeeded! Congress left town without legalizing President Bush's warrantless spying on Americans.

The spying continues of course, because laws only apply to you and me, and not the President. But at least Congress didn't compound the problem.

Yet.

It remains to be seen how the coming election will impact this issue. Will we have divided government? Will the Republicans be humbled, even if they retain control of Congress? Either outcome could save us. Otherwise . . .

The trouble has only begun.

We'll be revisiting this issue. In the meantime, savor this success. Thank you for making it possible.

Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians worked together to make this happen. It shows the potential of making common cause to defend shared values. It points the way to a better future in which we transcend the rigged partisan game of divide-and-conquer, and unite the Downsizer Consensus for an unrelenting assa ult on a tiny and vulnerable Congress.

In the meantime, September draws to a close. We are only $1,243 short of funding for our September bills. We are a grassroots organization supported by grassroots contributions. Is there 1 person out of the 23,346 people on this list (another record!) who could make a credit card contribution to cover this amount? You can do so here.

Can 13 of the 23,346 make $100 contributions?
Can 26 do $50
Can 52 do $25
Can 104 do $12.50
Can 208 do $6.25

You can contribute to pay for September here.

Thank you to everyone for an excellent month. I'll have a report for you about everything we achieved in a few days.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.