September 28th, 2006

gchat-zalice

Where are you?

I have a mental quirk about remembering where people live: I have two separate indexes, one keyed by person, the other keyed by location. The first one updates when I find out someone has moved, but not the second - that one usually only updates when I see the person in that location (sometimes, if I meet someone for the first time who lives somewhere else, I enter them in the second mental index correctly, but sometimes I don't). If I want to remember where you live, I can. But if I'm visiting somewhere and try to remember who's there, I often miss some people simply because I've never hung out with them there. It can go on like that for years, and through multiple visits.

Help me by filling out this poll! If you want me to remember where you are, that is :)

After a week or two, I'm going to "backdate" it to the future, so it'll be near the top of cos and you can easily find it and updated it if you wish. [Edit: actually, nevermind - I'm just linking here from my top-of-journal post]
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[Edit: If you checked "somewhere you didn't list at all", leave it in a comment?]
gchat-zalice

"Everything we don't believe in"

Yeah, two posts in one day. Congress is about to legalize torture.

The US Senate will vote today or tomorrow on, and probably pass, the Republicans' torture bill, which has already passed the House. Congress goes into recess after tomorrow, and Bush is eager to sign this bill quickly. The bill will:
  • Give Bush the authority to decide what is and isn't torture (and we already know his opinion on that defines a lot of turture as "not")

  • Deny noncitizens (including permanent residents w/green cards) the right to ever go to court, at all, if the military or the Bush administration labels them "enemy combatants"
Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich summed the bill up as "Everything we don't believe in" and a letter from over 600 law professors sent to Congress says,
    "Taken together, the bill's provisions rewrite American law to evade the fundamental principles of separation of powers, due process, habeas corpus, fair trials, and the rule of law, principles that, together, prohibit state-sanctioned violence. If there is any fixed point in the historical understandings of constitutional freedom that help to define us as a people, it is that no one may be picked up and locked up by the American state in secret or at an unknown location, or without opportunity to petition an independent court for inspection of the lawfulness of the lockup and of the treatment handed out by the state to the person locked up, under legal standards from time to time defined by Congress. This core principle should apply with full force to all detentions by the American state, regardless of the citizenship of detainees."
[ Edit: Here's Senator Russ Feingold's address to the Senate. "The key problem is in the definition of 'cruel or inhuman' treatment. [...] The way the provision is drafted, it even seems designed to grant immunity to senior officials who authorized coercive interrogation techniques." ]

A lot of Democrats are going to vote against it, but some are not, and they're not holding together to try to block it. Even if they can't actually block it, if they hold together, they can make a point of it in the elections, and change the law if they win control of Congress. But just like Kerry couldn't effectively campaign against the Iraq war in 2004 because he'd voted for it, so Democrats who vote for this will have a hard time campaigning against torture.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says that some Senate Democrats tell him, "We can't oppose this, look what happened to Max Cleland," and "We have to go along with it because we'll never be able to explain it back home."

Make sure they know otherwise.
Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 - ask for your Senators (2 calls)
Harry Reid: 202-224-3542 - ask him to hold the Democrats together to oppose this
Patrick Leahy: 202-224-4242 - deserves a thank you call
[edit: Russ Feingold: 202-224-5323 - deserves a thank you call ]

Pass it on!

P.S. Read aroraborealis's post about Guatemala

Edit, Thursday evening: Collapse )