Villa Beausoleil

The current state of the world, plus recipes...

Name:
Location: Boston, MA

I try to keep up with the news, obsessively read my favorite blogs and try not to burn things while I'm surfing the internet...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

TORTURE

[NOTE: I have not been posting because formatting problems with Blogger have been getting me depressed. Anyone who can help me with simple issues like how to start a new paragraph etc. PLEASE leave a note in the comments -- Meanwhile, sorry about what appears to be non-stop rambling below, caused by FORMATTING PROBLEMS -- AAAAAGGGGHHH.] I know it's been eons since I last posted, but what with personal stuff getting in the way, and the deluge of topics on which to write, I got a little overwhelmed. But today I want to write about TORTURE and the theory that it might be justified in certain circumstances, ie. the "ticking time bomb" scenario, and that the possibility of such a situation calls for a change in our laws and rules and regulations in order to accommodate such a possibility. Bullshit. First of all, let me say that if I had a person in my custody, whom I KNEW to have information that would, if known, save the lives of x number of people, and that person would not cooperate quickly enough, I would not hesitate to do a little cigarette burning or waterboarding or fingernail pulling myself. But that's just me. BUT, and here's the big BUT: It should not be legal. I would be willing to do it, because at that split second I know that I would take the risk of being prosecuted and incarcerated for life if I could possibly save millions (or for that matter, my family). Once you start using this crazy and extraordinarily rare scenario as the basis for your laws though, you've lost the struggle for your soul and the soul of the country. And I, a totally unspiritual and irreligious person, mean that sincerely. Alberto Mora, the General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, wrote a 22-page memo to the Inspector General of the Navy, on the abuses taking place at Guantanamo, in which he raises the "ticking bomb" scenario:

I acknowledged the ethical issues were difficult. I was not sure what my position would be in the classic "ticking bomb" scenario where the terrorist being interrogated had knowledge of, say, an imminent nuclear weapon attack against a U.S. city. If I were the interrogator involved, I would probably apply the torture myself, although I would do so with full knowledge of potentially severe personal consequences. But I did not feel this was the factual situation we faced in Guantanamo, and even if I were willing to do this as an individual and assume the personal consequences, by the same token I did not consider it appropriate for us to advocate for or cause the laws or values of our nation to be changed to render the activity lawful.

[In case it's not obvious due to formatting problems, the rest of this post is NOT part of this quote, but rather my (rebmarks) observations] Ok, the reason I'm blogging about this now, is in that apparently Alan Dershowitz, who appalled me with his arguments for torture PRE-9/11 (totally based on the "ticking bomb" scenario), has now come out with a book arguing that we should pass laws lowering our civil rights standards for dealing with terrorists because the damage they can do is different from that done by your run-of-the-mill criminal. [BY THE WAY, CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH FORMATTING ISSUES HERE IN BLOGGER? I cannot seem to "paragraph" because my "enter" key won't work, my block quotes function is very tempermental etc. etc. -- making blogging NOT FUN. Thanks!] Anyway, the problem with arguments like these, is that even if they have any merit whatsoever, they will degenerate our standards until we have none. This is is plainly obvious on the torture issue -- read Mora's entire memo to see what I mean. I cannot even BELIEVE that we are debating this -- has it become so acceptable to the American public that they see "torture" in connection with our government and our troops and go "yawn...ho hum"?? I'm going to stop posting right now. I haven't finished fleshing out my thoughts on this entirely, but the formatting problems here are giving me a headache....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

No, they WOULDN'T have gotten FISA warrants if they'd asked for them...

Ok, I know I'm risking my card-carrying member status by posting this, but I disagree with Arianna and other lefty posters who say that Bush should have gone to the FISA court because they would have rubber-stamped what he wanted to do anyway; after all, they've only turned down 4-5 warrants and approved 18,761. What Bush has been doing is broad spectrum eavesdropping on thousands if not millions of conversations, picking up on specific words and phrases. This probably would NOT have been allowed by the FISA court, which is why they didn't go there. The warrants they DIDN'T ask for were much more likely to be similar to the 4-5 than the 18K. And if this is what the Bushies are doing, it seems quite unlikely to me that scanning for particular words and phrases would pick up real suspects, as aren't they more likely to be using code phrases and words? I might talk about the latest Bush scandal on the phone with my in-laws in France, and I might use the words: Bin Laden, terrorist, 9/11, etc. etc., but the REAL terrorists will be having conversations like: "I need to buy a pair of blue jeans on Friday, make sure that Uncle James puts enough in my account by Tuesday." Meaning, we will be carrying out our mission on Saturday, make sure that the suicide belts are ready to be picked up on Wednesday. On the other hand, they do keep claiming that they are only listening to "terror suspects", so I guess it behooves us to continue to play the game and pretend that they are telling the truth -- therefore sticking the question to them again and again -- why couldn' t they get warrants for that?? What FISA court is going to turn down warrants specifically aimed at listening to named "terror suspects"? And why haven't I heard more intelligent opining on the national security aspects of the leak? How on earth would it hurt national security for the terrorists to know that they were being tapped without warrants as opposed to with warrants? As I have said in previous posts, I wish the terrorists were as stupid as the wingnuts. "Osama, quick, turn off that cell phone!! Those ^#&^% infidels are tapping us without a warrant!!!"

Monday, January 02, 2006

November has GOT to be better!

We at Villa Beausoleil have had a horrific time the last 18 months or so, and we have been hoping that 2006 would augur well for us. We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant for New Year's Eve, and toasted each other with wishes of a much better 2006. The following day, NewYear's Day, we hosted a lovely brunch for friends at our house. And in the middle of it, BooBoo the Magnificent began to act weird and disoriented, and had to be rushed (by me) to the animal hospital emergency room. Turns out his blood sugar was so low it was potentially brain damaging low. So I had to leave him in the critical care unit, where they will try to get his blood sugar under control over the next 1-3 days. At a cost of $1250 - $2500 dollars. Yowww!!!! We love BooBoo, and didn't hesitate, but I must say, 2006 is not starting well for this household....

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Final Post of the Year of Living Dangerously

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Blogging has been a little slow due to busy busy bees here at Villa Beausoleil, but wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and Bonne Annee!! BooBoo and Max want to wish you all the best for the New Year too, but I'm having problems uploading their pics... Don't worry, I should be able to figure it out for the first Friday Cat Blogging of the New Year...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Earthquake

I think we just had an earthquake here in Boston about an hour ago.... Can't seem to get confirmation yet

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chicken empanadas

Pre-heated oven to 400F. Sauteed half a diced onion and sliced mushrooms in some olive oil, added diced left over roast chicken that was hanging around the fridge, chopped pitted green olives, salt, pepper, and some paprika. Added some chicken stock and made a little well in the middle in which to stir a teaspoon or two of flour. Stirred and simmered it a little until the sauce thickened up. Took left over pastry dough (I had 1 and a half rounds left over from Christmas pies), and cut the full round into two, making 3 half-moons. Placed them onto a cookie sheet. Spooned chicken mixture onto one side of each of the half-moons, folded them over to make rough triangles, and squished the edges together all around each triangle with the back of a fork. Put cookie sheet in oven, lowered temperature to 350F and baked for 20 minutes. Perfect little lunch with a tossed salad.

Forget the blue dress, what about the NSA's dirty laundry?

Just a thought.... When Clinton was impeached, everyone fell into line because his "crime" was exclusive to him, and didn't implicate government secrets -- so they could have a field day without worrying about how our government was going to look, or spilling the beans to our enemies... (never mind that impeaching a president over sexual improprieties made us all look like idiots). But Bush's crimes will never be punished because what would happen if we tried to impeach him? A proper prosecution would involve divulging exactly what he's been doing since 9/11, and a proper defense would mean divulging what they claim other presidents did before him.... in detail. Never going to happen....