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pork barrel politics. Any questions?



one of Russell’s best…

Last Few Republican Senators Form Roman Tortoise | The Onion – Americas Finest News Source




Three Torture Myths


Excellent counterargument (to this) sent to me my Justin Simonsen. And I’ve had a couple of other responses suggesting that there are NO circumstances under which they would condone torture. I have asked each of them “Do you have kids?”

Almost every parent I’ve ever asked admits that they would certainly torture a kidnapper who, for example, had hidden their kids underground with a limited air supply. The kids need to be found within a limited time and the kidnapper boasts that he knows where they are.

If you argue that there are NO circumstances under which you would condone torture, you have to answer the question how far would you go if you were that Parent.

This, however, does not detract from the point Cloonan is making, which is that this “ticking bomb” scenario doesn’t happen in real life. I’m happy to take his word for that. It is one of the reasons we need Trusted Surveillance. It will prove whether or not Cloonan is right. If he’s right, we’ll never need to authorise torture. Which would be wonderful. If he’s wrong, we’ll know exactly why.

The Daily Dorkmonger: Time to Prosecute for Torture


Spacetart’s own comprehensive summary of the Torture debate…


this needs a good blogging… someone send me a day or two if you can spare em… but for an intro, you could check out my reply to the single comment I got on The Authoritarians

The point is that even if we accept that there may be some ends which justify virtually any means, we do not, or rather should not accept that, when We The People are held up as the principle beneficiaries of extreme and otherwise unacceptable behaviour, that ANYBODY OTHER than We The People should be given the unlimited Authority to make such decisions on our behalf. (and particularly NOT slime like Richard Cheney)

THAT is a decision of such gravity that ONLY We The People can be permitted to authorise such an action. Naturally, we can’t hold a referendum on such a sensitive issue. But we can randomly select a couple of hundred Jury members to represent us on this single matter.

Furthermore, if that Jury authorises torture, assassination or whatever, it must also ensure that a full audit trail is kept of every decision made and the implementation. They will remain responsible for the integrity and security of that data and will make all the decisions on how much of that data can or should be made public.

It should be emphasised that extreme actions – whether or not Democratically approved as above – can never be argued to be ethical. The best we’ll ever be able to argue is that we are collectively committing a criminal act because we have been convinced that if we don’t, an even more serious act will follow. And we will nearly always have to accept the possibility that we are making the wrong decision and torturing or killing an innocent victim.

That is about as serious an exercise of Authority and Power over other human beings as it is possible to imagine. That is exactly why we can NEVER justify delegating such authority. If it’s going to be done at all, WE must authorise it and witness the consequences. Decisions like this are the most serious function of Participatory Democracy.

Anything less, is Dictatorship…