Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category

>Torture and Prayer

May 4, 2009

>Torture

A poll by the Pew Forum has shown that frequent churchgoers are most likely to support torture.White Evangelical protestants are the religious group most likely to agree.

Here are the poll results.


What gets me is that 15% of Americans (18% of Evangelical Protestants) think torture can be justified often. Let’s not elect these people to office…please! But just as important, let’s not select them to stand in the pulpit.

I guess what this indicates is that attending a weekly church service messes up one’s moral compass, at least as far as human ethics and such are concerned.

That is not to say that there are not churches out there that respect humanity enough to teach that torture is wrong (notice that 25% of weekly churchgoers believe torture is never justified).

Prayer

With the National Day of Prayer coming up (May 7)here’s some poll results on prayer, also from Pew.

Notice, the older one is, the more likely one is to pray daily, females are much more likely than males, and the more income one makes, the less likely. God v. mammon, I guess.

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>Art, Love and Torture

April 24, 2009

>See some pictures of an interesting rose and more at Bessemer Science and Nature.

Lots to choose from for lovers of art this weekend. Today through Sunday is the Magic City Art Connection at Linn Park in Birmingham. In Bessemer, on Saturday, is Art at the Tracks at the Hall of History, from 9:30 to 4:00.

At Linn Park yesterday I was helping someone to set up, and we were near this guy building this. I didn’t get his name, but he says there is no plan to building this. He just does it.


Near the fountain is the art of Paul Cordes Wilm. Paul is a twin (the second), plays softball and likes abandoned houses and rivers. This is a series of his artwork. You can buy it. It follows the theme that I have been following. Love is love and is real and is significant regardless of who it is between and regardless of what detractors of love say. Thanks, Paul.


You might remember this cover from Black and White (February) that Paul did.

Jonathan Mann is writing a song a day. For this one, he took the lyrics directly from the “torture memos,” the legal justification for torture that the Bush administration used and for which no one has yet to be prosecuted. Thanks, Homer (and Jonathan).

>Western Tribune Column January 28, 2009

January 28, 2009

>Restoring a historic home does not happen overnight.

Fortunately there are dedicated individuals in Bessemer who understand the importance of preserving these sometimes simple, sometimes grand, structures. Slowly, historic Bessemer is being restored.

Restoring the liberties, rights and protections granted by our Constitution will also take some time.

Fortunately our new president understands our Constitution and international law as it relates to human rights and has taken some initial, important steps toward that goal. He has issued several executive orders that set a new path toward an America we can be more proud of.
His orders include shutting down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and putting an end to torture as a means of extracting information from detainees.

The orders are not that simple, however. He understands that some of those being held may be dangerous, some may need to be returned to other countries, and some may need to be held in detention here in the United States. There are evaluations to be made and new policies to be developed, and for this reason he has established an Interagency Task Force to handle the details. It may take up to a year to complete the task. But the world immediately recognizes the change and a little respect is regained for America.

Opponents cry that we don’t need these terror suspects on U. S. soil, but what they really seem to be saying is they don’t trust the federal detention system. If our prisons are not secure enough to hold the worst of these would be terrorists, then should we trust them to hold the murderers and rapists that are held there now? If the prisons need upgrading, let’s fix them now, to protect from both the terrorists and the murderers.

As for torture, it’s odd to me that the same people who claim to value the very essence of life seem to believe that it’s OK to perform inhumane acts on living humans. Even more surprising is that they still hold those beliefs even when shown that torture does not work.

A civilized society, just as it would not put humans to death as a form of punishment, also would not torture.

And with less inhumane treatment of individuals, the world is made a better place.

The Depths to Which Humans Can Sink

November 5, 2007

Once again John Davis of Athens, AL has an opinion published in the Sunday Birmingham News. Good job, John…this time he’s writing about torture. He explores a common theme that is debated frequently, whether torture works or not. But more revealing are his thoughts about what inflicting torture does to the torturer.

He references how the American interrogators “broke” the Nazi generals and scientists without using any controversial techniques.

He quotes the Washington Post which quoted 90 year old Henry Kolm: “We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture.”

Another interrogator, 87 year George Frenkel, said , “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.” Davis then goes on to describe the difficulties that people who torture have throughout their lives. They become sociopaths, alcoholics and drug users to hide their pain.

And we have a nominee for attorney general who does not “know” if waterboarding is torture. What this really means is…in his heart he knows it is torture (anyone would know this) but he has not been told by George Bush (Dick Cheney) how to answer the question.

Those who inflict torture (and those who order it) sell their soul to Satan, and for what? Nothing…because the techniques do not work. All the while ignoring methods that could use their minds and their intelligence, not their brawn. What ever respect the United States still has in the world is further diminshed whenever Bush – Cheney proxy torture is considered. When the United States inflicts torture, the president should be held accountable (my thoughts, not John’s).

For further information, read John’s editorial.

And to further explore the depravity of humans inflicting pain on others, read about the infamous Milgram study, which showed how human beings might act in the presence of an authority figure (such as an educator…or a president) urging them on.

We (the human race) need to act in ways that lift one another, and the entire species, up. It is so easy to sink to the lows that would allow one to inflict pain or torture on another human being…when you have lost your conscience. But our souls tell us this is wrong. If Michael Mukasey is confirmed as attorney general, we admit that we among the worst the world has ever seen. That can be, should be, prevented (now), or corrected (in 2008).

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I was really surprised when I discovered this camellia blooming this weekend. I am not sure this one has bloomed since I have been here. We have several different camellias and there will be blooms of one or more from now until March.

>The Depths to Which Humans Can Sink

November 5, 2007

>Once again John Davis of Athens, AL has an opinion published in the Sunday Birmingham News. Good job, John…this time he’s writing about torture. He explores a common theme that is debated frequently, whether torture works or not. But more revealing are his thoughts about what inflicting torture does to the torturer.

He references how the American interrogators “broke” the Nazi generals and scientists without using any controversial techniques.

He quotes the Washington Post which quoted 90 year old Henry Kolm: “We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture.”

Another interrogator, 87 year George Frenkel, said , “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.” Davis then goes on to describe the difficulties that people who torture have throughout their lives. They become sociopaths, alcoholics and drug users to hide their pain.

And we have a nominee for attorney general who does not “know” if waterboarding is torture. What this really means is…in his heart he knows it is torture (anyone would know this) but he has not been told by George Bush (Dick Cheney) how to answer the question.

Those who inflict torture (and those who order it) sell their soul to Satan, and for what? Nothing…because the techniques do not work. All the while ignoring methods that could use their minds and their intelligence, not their brawn. What ever respect the United States still has in the world is further diminshed whenever Bush – Cheney proxy torture is considered. When the United States inflicts torture, the president should be held accountable (my thoughts, not John’s).

For further information, read John’s editorial.

And to further explore the depravity of humans inflicting pain on others, read about the infamous Milgram study, which showed how human beings might act in the presence of an authority figure (such as an educator…or a president) urging them on.

We (the human race) need to act in ways that lift one another, and the entire species, up. It is so easy to sink to the lows that would allow one to inflict pain or torture on another human being…when you have lost your conscience. But our souls tell us this is wrong. If Michael Mukasey is confirmed as attorney general, we admit that we among the worst the world has ever seen. That can be, should be, prevented (now), or corrected (in 2008).

*********************************************************************

I was really surprised when I discovered this camellia blooming this weekend. I am not sure this one has bloomed since I have been here. We have several different camellias and there will be blooms of one or more from now until March.