Rhetoric v. Reality
When it comes to civil liberties, talk is cheap
Since 9/11, President Bush and his administration have told us again and again that the terrorists who seek to destroy our country hate freedom. These are strong words, but you know what? He's right.
To Torture or Not to Torture
Why is this even a question?
The Bush administration has repeatedly insisted that it doesn't condone torture. Yet, following 9/11, the president's legal weasels drafted a secret memo that allowed for “aggressive” interrogations of terrorist suspects. The memo narrowly defined torture as the act of inflicting pain as an end in itself, as distinguished from inflicting pain in the interests of national security. In other words, under the guidelines of the memo, counter-terrorist agents could do almost anything to a suspect, and it wouldn't be considered torture so long as the agents involved weren't just doing it for cheap thrills. The moral ambiguities inherent in this memo led directly to the debacle at Abu Ghraib and other heinous abuses of U.S. detainees, most of whom had never been accused of any crime.
Get Your Hands Off My Body
The right-wing attack on reproductive rights
When John Roberts was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pro-choice women—and men, I might add—everywhere held their breath. When Samuel Alito was appointed a mere year later, they started praying.
Peeking Inside a Black Box
Election fraud in the United States of America
From the days following the Civil War when former slaves first got the right to vote—but didn't really get the right to vote—the U.S. has a history of cheating its citizens during elections. This is a fact. But since we've supposedly straightened up our act in the past several decades, we usually assume that votes are not being inflated, deflated or suppressed. The idea of a vast right-wing conspiracy is laughable: Only the hippiest of paranoid, drug-addled hippies would buy that, right? Well, let's look at the facts.
Be All That You Have to Be
Proposed bill would require men and women to serve in the military
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) recently put forth a bill that would require both men and women, ages 18 to 42, to serve a two-year stint in the military, “or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security.”
Bush's proposed ban on gay marriage
We look back through more than 50 years of struggle to a time when our racial discrimination lived in the sunlight, without shame. Parents and grandparents tell wide-eyed kids about the days when Black people couldn't drink out of the same water fountains as everyone else, about Rosa Parks being too tired to move to the back of a bus.
Turning Heroes into Pariahs
Blowing the whistle on government corruption just got a whole lot harder
Sibel Edmonds is a beautiful woman, even with the gag pulled tight across her face. Normally, the mainstream press would be covering Hot-Damsel-in-Distress Edmonds 24/7, but Edmonds has been deemed an invisible person in Bushworld, and the Washington press hasn't been noted for its courage these last few years.
No Warrant? No Problem.
Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment?
Nearly every agreement—credit card applications, rental agreements, e-mail account sign-ups—has a privacy statement that requires approval. The U.S. government has a privacy agreement, too. When you become a citizen, by birth or legal process, you sign up. It's called the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, the principles enshrined in that portion of the Bill of Rights seem to be becoming a thing of the past.