Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

I have been away for quite some time and procrastinating about getting started again. I have been busy building up my Ebay store and maintaining my Power Seller with top rated classification. I full intend to start posting at least several times a week if not daily.
There has been a lot going on with my passions with one of my top concerns being health care for all. They fight, grumble and complain that if the United States were to go to full coverage of all citizens then we would then be a socialist country. I do not believe that France, Great Britain and Canada are socialist countries and they have health care for all. I am lucky that I am a veteran and as so eligible for medical care for life by them. My solution for health care for the US would be to simply expand the roles of Medicare and Medicaid. Then you have the politicians clambering loudly that your health care would not be as good as you could get if you had your own health care. They forget that they have free health care as Congress men and Senators. My opinion is that if you do not like the limitations that they may set on your health care then you can still buy your own health care from anyone of the many health care insurance companies that themselves are complaining loudly about the possibility of health care for all.
More to follow later.

In just a matter of a few days in office President Obama is approaching the matter of Muslim extremists in a way that the Bush administration never tried. He is reaching out to the people. In his very first television interview since being sworn in as President he reaches out to the average Muslim on the Arabic satellite TV network Al-Arabiya which is based in Dubai. Instead of simply talking to government officials he is speaking to the common man, something that hasn’t been done before. I think it is a step ahead to engage the people of the Middle East and the Muslim world. This could go further in the war on terror than guns alone. I think we should let them know that there can be no better friend or worse enemy than the United States. He touched on it a little in his inauguration speech but this goes further and is in their language. He even goes on to talk of him spending time as a child in Indonesia, the Muslim worlds most populous nation, while his mother studied there. That speaks to the commoner that he at least understands some of their world. He points out that he has relatives that are Muslim. Things they can understand. The Arab world is actually two worlds. One in which the people live in, that is a world overwhelmingly poor, under-educated, under-served lacking the freedom of choice and the basic civil liberties denying them, as a result, their dignity as human beings. The other is the happy go lucky world of the elite who may as well live on a foreign planet the conditions are so apart. They are the ones like the Shah of Iran, who we kept up because he was friendly toward us and our eavesdropping on the Soviets from Iran, that oppressed the people with our blessings. Now he is speaking out directly to the Muslim world telling them that we intend them no ill will. Maybe an outstretched hand will be met with a more favorable view than a boot heal of oppression. I see from reading on the english page of Al Arabiya News Channel that they hold optimism also.

I know that today they are going to the polls in my neighboring state of North Carolina and in Indiana as well but what has really gotten my attention is a Judge in Ohio. He has ruled that medical examiners autopsies be overturned when they had ruled that tasers contributed to their death. How can a judge know more than a trained medical examiner? What it is, is the fact that Taser International is trying to intimidate medical examiners across the country from telling the truth as they see it. They [Taser International] have done absolutely no medical research into the 50,000 volt devices yet have the arrogance to force a change in autopsy reports. This is just a ploy for them to keep selling them to police across the country and say they are safe. They may be safer than a bullet but they can still kill some people. Police must know this and not have cases decided by Taser International or a judge who sees things in a favorable light to them. The U.N. of which we are a charter member has denounced the use of tasers as torture but we go right on using them without a thought to the safety of those on the receiving end of one. From the numerous videos across the web you can see police officers reaching for a taster first thing rather than trying any other method of subduing a suspect, even those that are not violent routinely get tasered as some officers seem to enjoy see a suspect getting 50,000 volt jolts of electricity coursing through their body. This case is going to be appealed. Lets hope that this time they get a judge with some common sense.

In a stunning admission to ABC news Friday night, President Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA’s use of torture. Bush reportedly told ABC, “I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.” Bush also defended the use of waterboarding.

We need to be calling on Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.

We must be above all this type of treatment. We need to be a nation of laws. We need to open up the tribunals for the ones suspected of masterminding the attacks on September 11th. We must remain true to our core beliefs – even in the most trying of times – and our forefathers vision of what this country would become. America does not stand for trials that rely on torture to gain confessions, or on secret evidence that a defendant cannot rebut, or on hearsay evidence.

I feel so sad and ashamed that our country – a shining beacon of freedom, supposedly – has fallen to the ranks of those that sanction and use torture on individuals it deems are enemy combatants. What is even worse is they can actually grab up a U.S. citizen and claim they are also and enemy combatant and there is no one to stop them.

I have been afraid our President is a war criminal by Geneva Convention Standards but it has came to light that efforts were taken by Vice President Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration to insulate President Bush from meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved.

The meetings were held in the White House Situation Room in the years immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. Attending the sessions were Cheney, then-Bush aides Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

How much deeper do we need to go before the Congress decides they finally need to investigate?

President Bush‘s refusal to outlaw torture may lie in the fact that we have been torturing hapless victims that we hold without even a chance for criminal proceedings to take place. This is a story of a German citizen – on a religious pilgrimage – who was picked up off a bus on his way to the airport in Pakistan trying to return home to Germany. He was pulled off the bus by a Pakistani police officer who turned him over to U.S. intelligence who was paying $3,000 a head for suspicious foreigners from there he was loaded onto an airplane bound for a U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There he was given the identity of “#53″. If they had listened to the FBI, U.S. and German intelligence then he would have been released from his outdoor pen in subfreezing weather and allowed to go home. Instead he was questioned everyday then when his answers did not satisfy them they turned to torture to try and extract the information they wanted from him. But he steadfastly stuck to the story of only traveling in Pakistan and not having any knowledge of al Qaeda or the Taliban. He claims to have had his head dunked into water and beat in the abdomen at the same time, shocked by electricity until numb then hung by his arms from chains for days on end with the only respite being when they would bring in a doctor to check to make sure he could take a little more. This is terrible how can our government allow something such as this to happen? I know they are going to deny that this man was ever tortured but they will have a hard time denying that he was held captive. He was first picked up in 2001 and did not gain release despite the fact that intelligence agencys said he was no threat to the U.S., sometime in 2002 at Guantanamo -where he endured more beatings and was chained to the floor – a memo was written saying “USA considers Murat Kurnaz?s innocence to be proven. He is to be released in approximately six to eight weeks.” Three and one half years later he was finally released after the Supreme Court had ordered in 2004 that inmates at Guantanamo were eligible for legal counsel despite what the Bush administration had claimed. That was when he was surprised by the visit of a lawyer who helped gain his release ,after debunking some of the ridiculous charges that had been laid onto him since his arrival.

If this is indeed true then we are harboring war criminals plain and simple. After WW II we charged and prosecuted war criminals who had used some of the same tactics on our soldiers. The question is how far up the chain of command does this go? Does anyone even think to realize how this makes us look to other nations? The world? How dangerous it becomes for our military now that it appears that we not only allow torture to go on but it is sanctioned by the highest leader in the military and President of the United States?

See 60 Minutes interview with Murat Kurnaz.

The shameful presidency of Bush has fallen to a new low – even for him. President Bush has vetoed legislation on Saturday that would have outlawed waterboarding – a technique that simulates drowning when interrogating terror suspects. Bush says it will harm the governments ability to prevent future terrorist attacks. The bills supporters assure us that the government can still gain information via interrogation while maintaining our high moral standing at home and abroad. Waterboarding is a known method of torture. We should be above that. We signed the original UN charter that prohibits torture amongst member nations. But that is too inconvenient as far as Bush is concerned. Even though it is a known fact that torture yields unreliable information as a rule. The tortured will tell their interrogator anything at all that they think they want to hear so as to stop the torture.

In a statement Friday, Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. said, “President Bush‘s veto will be one of the most shameful acts of his presidency. Unless Congress overrides the veto, it will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world.” This will make us look bad to allies and enemies alike. Hopefully Congress will override his stupid veto.

??? Keith Olbermann really lets loose on Bush with both barrels. He gives a great account of how Bush has lied to us and Congress. I have been seeing through those lies for the past 7 years but have mostly kept my opinions to myself. Or actually I was somewhat outspoken about him but limited myself in the number of people I was speaking to. Anyhow he [Keith Olbermann] out and out calls George Bush a fascist and a liar and not even a good liar anymore. Bush said that without the Protect America Act that Americans lives are at risk. Yet he said he would veto any extension of the Protect America Act that did not give immunity to the telecoms who have (or so it appears) broken the law in their spying on Americans without a warrant. Ted Kennedy said, “If we take the President at his word, he is willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies” Myself I think it is not just the telecoms he is trying to shield with this immunity but another method of hiding his involvement in illegal spying. Under Bush we have gotten closer to the Orwellian state of 1984. It is looking like George Orwell was right but his dates were wrong.

??? Anyhow the video, while being a little long (9 min) brings out some very valid points. You should watch the video, read the text if need be, and contact your Representative in the House of Representatives and tell them to stand up to the President and his lies and do not grant immunity when we don’t even know what if any laws have been broken. He won’t say what was done he just wants immunity for everyone involved and thats not good for the country. You can also sign the ACLU petition with its “Facts Over Fear” campaign.

Another cold day for us here in SC and another day of my fibro assaulting me. That and the fact that they let me run out of part of the meds for my bipolar had me out of sorts so to speak. After years of denying it even to myself I finally got on what appears to be the right chemical cocktail and it keeps my moods pretty well stabilized. I used to be a holy terror with my radical mood swings and ill temper. Now I stay on a pretty even keel and life is much better for me and my family around me. Now if my body would cooperate I would be quite happy most of the time.
I did manage to stay awake long enough to watch most of the debate from Myrtle Beach. Nothing new there, just a lot of bickering between Hillary and Obama. Edwards came out smelling like a rose, with what little camera time he was able to get. I do like the fact that they all three are for universal health care. I don’t see how countries like England, France, and Canada can give their citizens health care and we can’t. Even Cuba can give health care to its citizens. Not so sure about Cuba but the life expectancy is higher in France, England and Canada than ours. Maybe – not having to worry that you may one day get sick and lose everything you have worked for all your life – has a calming effect upon your soul.
John McCain won the Republican Primary on Saturday. We will find out who wins the Democratic Primary next Saturday. We still have a long run to the final votes are cast in November. But unless things change drastically I don’t think the Republicans can muster enough Independents to retain the Whitehouse.
Thats just my opinion on the race this year. But with the way the country is going as well as unrest about the war I think they will have a hard time mustering enough voters to vote any Republican into the Presidency.

Hunger is a terrible thing and it is – lucky for us – something very few if any have ever had to deal with. But to most of the world hunger is something that must be dealt with on a daily basis. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving. It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called “absolute poverty”. Every year almost 15 million children die of hunger or hunger related problems. It is not just third world countries that have hunger issues. Even here in the United States one out of every eight children under the age of twelve goes to bed hungry every night.
This is a terrible thing and even though you want to help you are not able to financially. Many of us live from paycheck to paycheck, just barely getting by. My readers may remember me posting about the FreeRice site that gives away rice with every correct question on vocabulary. I have found yet another site where you can help feed the poor for free. It is estimated that over 3 billion people in the world are struggling to get by on $2.00 US per day. The site is The Hunger Site. Since its launch in 1999 the site has helped feed the world’s hungry. To date there has been more than 300 million visitors that clicked the yellow “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. Turning the clicks into more than 500 million cups of food. They also sell ad space and have a store that features hand made items from various countries. They have numerous pages of items in their store. Anything from hand carved gourds to Peruvian silver jewelry. And all the profits go to a good cause, feeding the hungry.
Most items will tell you how much food is being donated per purchase. But you do not have to purchase anything whatsoever to give away free food everyday. Simply visit the site everyday and click the Yellow “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. It will only take a few moments of your time and can mean the world to someone else.