I’m downright inspired by some of the ludicrous comments in a conversation over at GMD, where some nutjob is, among other things, trying to actually make the case that the practice of water boarding isn’t torture, and that regardless, it is justifiable to do to someone if they’re a “terrorist”. It has me just just plain tickled at the prospect of the State acting violently against people, justified by whatever logic it wants to conjure-up.
On the subject of outright political torture, lets not forget that John McCain (who, if not a shoe-in to win, is a least looking to make it a close fight in trying to become the next U.S. president) is not only a former POW himself but just last week voted in the Senate to stop the liberal’s attempts to curtail this country’s use of torture against political prisoners in it’s so-called war on terrorism. Pathetic, really, just pathetic.
Lets be realistic, folks. The idea of the State carrying out violence (especially against its own people) was, not long ago, a controversial subject in and of itself that espoused high-minded debates about our moral obligations to each other as people and our inherent rights as humans. Now, most of the conversation in the States revolves around what is or isn’t “torturing” someone, and when which tactics are most appropriate. Perhaps George Orwell’s 1984 can help us re-connect with the true absurdity of our current level of discourse: “And in the general hardening of outlook that set in… practices which had been long abandoned… -imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the deportation of whole populations- not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.“
Tasers, tasers, tasers everywhere! In preparing for protests during the Republican National Convention the St Paul, MN police are more than doubling their supply of tasers. Remind me again why it is that so many of us grow sick and tired of these street demonstrations? Not that the protests are unimportant (hell, they’re very important in my opinion), but that just doesn’t sound like fun…. remember when rioting was fun too?
Our friends to the North have been going through some trying times when it comes to tasers. First, there was the recent report saying that since 2001 17 people have been killed throughout Canada by police using tasers and stun-guns. Now, the Attorney General of British Columbia is looking to put restrictions on police’s use of the devise; he said he may even ban them altogether. Guess it’ll be back to the old-school style police beating for folks out that way. Anyway, are we all just ignoring that this past November the United Nations Committee Against Torture ruled tasering to be a form of torture? To be fair, they didn’t say it’s always torture, but that it can be. Good enough for me- you can’t expect something like the U.N. to get everything exactly right… they mean well though (mostly).
And finally, since the 40 degrees and sunny day on Monday has me excited (prematurely, I know) about getting out in the gardens come spring, lets not forget about the constant terrorism of Genetically Modified Organisms. A group of scientist are warning that as time goes on, so do the inherent dangers that GMO crops pose to traditional ones. In Britain, because of the continued vandalism by activists against GM crop fields, there’s a push to keep the location of GMO’s secret from the public. Along those same lines, you can expect that soon, or maybe already, the food you’re buying from the grocery store will come from cloned animals. Where the hell are the folks from the old Food & Water Journal when you really need em?
Speaking of scientists, have we really devolved to the point where they have to come to the government to explain the necessity of independence, objectivity, and pure rationalism in their work? If we’re not going to have a real, direct, participatory democracy without the inherent violence of the State, can we at least have leaders who are intelligent, rational, even post-rational people of honor, and dignity?