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Canadian Government Warns Its Citizens

Canadian citizens who plan on traveling outside of Canada have received a dire warning from their government. Canadian diplomats have been given a list of primitive barbaric countries that practice torture, and they’ve been duly warned that if they get arrested for any reason in one of these countries, they could be tortured. These backward third world countries include:

Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Israel, Iran, the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Mexico.

And in one of these countries — I forget which one — the authorities won’t even admit that they torture prisoners. There’s a popular radio host who actually insists that these torture methods are “nothing more than a fraternity prank.”

Even more pathetic is the fact that millions of clueless Neanderthals actually believe everything this asshole says.

How dumb can people get? Whichever country that is, their education system must be pitiful.


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72 Responses to “Canadian Government Warns Its Citizens”

  1. Um.. the US and Israel got removed from the list.

    http://www.r euters.com/a rticle/lates tCrisis/idUS N19364408

    So turn off the snark… Tom

  2. “if they get arrested for any reason in one of these countries, they could be tortured.”

    Um, yeh…because America is known for torturing speeders, people who run through stop lights, murder nearly 3,000 Americans…

    You know, ANY reason.

    Bah!

  3. Craig and Steve, what a shame that you would have America be such a shithole.

    JMJ

  4. It’s New Jersey that is the shit hole buddy…. California is quiter nice :) Unless you are in Bakersfield  (Ducking before Dusty hits me with a laptop) :)

  5. From the article linked:

    “The document in question is a training manual. It is not a policy document or any kind of a statement of policy. As such it does not convey the government’s views or positions,” said Neil Hrab, a spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department. “The training manual purposely raised public issues to stimulate discussion and debate in the classroom.”

    File this under “I didn’t mean it, I just said it”

    Expect the “I hate America” libs to eat this crap with a spoon.

    If you are interested the follow up to this story is here:

    http://www.n ytimes.com/2 008/01/20/wo rld/americas  /20canada.h tml?ref=worl d

    From THIS article:

    “OTTAWA — The Canadian minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Bernier, said Saturday that he had ordered officials to rewrite an internal government manual that listed the United States among countries that potentially torture or abuse prisoners.

    “I regret the embarrassmen t caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the department s torture awareness training,” Mr. Bernier said in a statement. “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.

    The United States government has repeatedly said that it does not torture prisoners, an assurance that has been accepted by Canada’s Conservative government.”

    and further down in this article:

    “Afghanistan is included on the list although the Canadian government says that prisoners turned over to the Afghan government by Canadian troops are not ill treated or tortured in violation of Canadian laws.

    Amnesty Internationa l’s lawsuit is an attempt to end those handovers.”

    So….Canada does not torture, they just hand prisoners over to countries that do. How very “progressive ” of them.

  6. Jersey,

    All I did is criticize a single line in the post as being fatuously overstated.

  7. All Steve did is point out that the US and Israel were removed from the list.

    I’m sorry that you think that making some people whom we knew were directly related to 9/11 uncomfortabl e to discover who and what else were out there in the way of plans against us makes us a shit-hole. I know, of course, that any particular American’s chance of being involved in a terrorist attack are vanishingly small and I am not, myself, afraid of death but still, I believe that the best way to deal with terrorists is to discover them and their plans before they kill Americans. It beats picking up bits and pieces afterwards. It’s hard to exact justice against someone who has died in their multiply-mur derous attacks.

    But my only point was obvious: we do not torture people for just any old reason and, therefore, the suggestion that we do is both fatuous and overstated.

  8. Manapp99,

    If suggesting that we torture people for just any old reason is fatuously overstated, asserting that we have not tortured anyone but merely rendered them to countries that do torture is fatuously understated. If staging mock executions is not torture, then the word has no meaning. People in our capture have been beaten to death. If beating a helpless prisoner to death is not torture, then, again, the word has lost all meaning. You can quibble that slow hypothermia and holding people for hours and days in agonizing positions is not torture but I suspect that a few hours of such treatment, yourself, would change your mind about whether we torture people. In my mind, there’s no doubt that we have tortured people.

    But then again, rendering people to nations where we are reasonably sure that they will be tortured and then saying that WE don’t torture is so cynical as to be laughable. We don’t torture? We just make damn sure that people will be tortured by others for us? Please. If you are going to defend American policy regarding WOT prisoners, at least let’s do so honestly by accepting full responsibili ty for what Americans have done, acknowledge the effect of those policies on those prisoners and the affect those policies have had on America’s reputation. If you are going to defend America’s policies credibly, it can only be done by weighing what we might reasonably expect to gain from those policies and actions against the moral decay revealed by those policies and the negative effects of them.

    Otherwise, no one will be persuaded by cynically pretending that we do not torture. A is A.

  9. Oh man. I think I misread that last part of your comment, Manapp99. I thought that you were talking about the US and rendition, but I guess you were talking about Canada. Sorry. Sometimes I’m not as careful as I should be before dishing out criticism.

  10. Whoa Craig. Ripped me a new one then sewed it up. Whew.
    All my posts were about Canada and the article originally linked and the update I linked.
    As far as torture in general goes you would have to look at the number of prisoners accused, convicted and imprisoned here that are later found to be innocent. This has gone on for years and I suspect that every country has had it’s fair share of this. You do not have to look at the WOT to find prisoners abused and who have died in custody. Everyone has gotten their panties in a bunch over the alleged torture taken place in the WOT for information. The reality is that false imprisonment and police abuse has gone on everywhere ever since…..well as long as there have been governments. I guess it was ok as long as it was domestic.

  11. Senior Canadian officials took our name off that list only after we waterboarded them :)

  12. I agree that prisoner abuse does happen, and not just in America. Anytime some people are given near-total control over other people, abuse can and will happen. And that is somewhat different than policies of causing extreme discomfort that (I think) amounts to torture but it is only SOMEWHAT different. After all, if we know that giving near total control to some people over other people can and does lead to abuse, it is the government’s job to put in place other policies designed to prevent such abuses and if they don’t do so, or if those who are there to prevent abuses fail to do so, then that very nearly amounts to the government allowing such abuse as a matter of policy. If we know that prison rape is a problem but do nothing about preventing prison rape, then isn’t that a failure of government (and ultimately of the American people in failing to demand that government) put in place safe-guards to prevent prison rape? It’s like we don’t care what happens to people if they break the law. We throw them in prison knowing that grotesquely bad things happen there and just really don’t care.

    But I was really talking about things in which the government has put in place positive polices which lead to torture of captives rather than the sort of to-be-expect ed incidents of prisoner abuse. I mean, at least three people were waterboarded  (amounting to a mock execution and torture in my mind) as a matter of policy that was approved from the very top. Many others have been systematical ly made so uncomfortabl e that I think anyone undergoing deliberate hypothermia, sleep deprivation, being held in deliberately very uncomfortabl e positions would definitely consider them to be torture. I appreciate that I failed to understand that your comment was about Canada. My fault. My comments still stand, though, I think, as against those who would say, including our government itself, that America doesn’t torture. I think that blatantly untrue. We have tortured, not as incidents of unrestrained guards committing illegal acts of abuse but of officially approved and directed torture as a matter of policy. I just think that we, who would take it upon ourselves to defend such actions under certain circumstance s, need to be perfectly clear that we understand what it is that we are defending, call it what it is, and then attempt to defend it as best we can.

    It also makes such a defense very difficult. Torture is a very difficult thing to defend in this day and age. It has become morally repugnant. We mustn’t run away from that repugnance but attempt to argue that there are worse evils to be avoided and goods to be achieved that may outweigh the moral repugnance against torture.

    Otherwise, we might as well give up the game and accept that a failing to stop a future terror attack that might kill hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans is an acceptable loss, no matter the body count, and accepting the public outrage that will inevitably come with that failure in order to avoid the moral repugnance of torturing those who are under our total control. At some point, moral beings in a civilized society must draw a line and say that under no circumstance s will we do this thing. For most people, I think, torture is on the far side of that line in all circumstance s. Certainly that’s true of most people here at BIO!

  13. Good one,Tom! :^)

    Also, I don’t think the number or percentage of innocents who have been falsely convicted has anything to do with the question of whether coercive interrogatio n techniques (a. k. a.: torture) as a policy should ever be undertaken. For many people, I think, it is so morally repugnant that even the guilty should not be subjected to it and, so, the likelihood that innocents would be subjected to it is pretty much beside the point.

  14. #
    quote: steve, on January 19th, 2008 at 8:08 pm Said:

    Um.. the US and Israel got removed from the list.

    http://www.r euters.com/a rticle/lates tCrisis/idUS N19364408

    So turn off the snark… Tom :endquote

    Because someone placed a call or two. Did you forget about Maher Arar? Still no apology or assurance from the US that they’ll never do that again. So that means they will send people to be tortured if they see it fit to do so.

    Try again.

  15. The correct answer to torture is that we don’t do it. Not that we only do it when necessary. It’s a pity that we can’t say that truthfully.

  16. It also show how badly our reputation has suffered that it was possible for our friends to even think of including us in that list.

  17. Christopher,

    That’s an honorable position but one which may ultimately cost lives, maybe many lives. While I prefer that we not use torture unless it is the only way to gain information quickly that will save many lives but we must understand that a hard-core terrorist who receives a miranda warning that he has a right to remain silent may thank us for the warning, accept a lawyer and take our advice and, well, remain silent. Now, if we’re holding him for suspected participatio n in a past terrorist activity for which we are trying him, that’s fine with me. But what if we have strong evidence that he is involved in a plot to release a chemical or biological weapon that might kill hundreds of thousands or even millions of people? To win, all he needs to do is remain silent until his comrades carry out the attack. The terrorist who takes our advice wins. Or we can subject him to a waterboardin g, against which the toughest terrorist to date held out a reported two and one half minutes before breaking down and beginning to talk.

    Hundreds of thousands to millions of lives lost is a high price to pay for maintaining the moral high ground. That’s all I’m saying. Now it’s possible that the attack will succeed even if we waterboard the suspect but I find it difficult to think that possibly millions of lives that may be saved by a short torture session isn’t an answer more satisfactory than the alternative when there’s little time and we have a suspect who is determined to remain silent no matter what softer interrogatio n techniques might be applied.

  18. Froenx,

    Steve merely pointed out that we and Israel had been taken off the list. He didn’t say we’d never do it again so I’m not sure who you think you’re arguing against. The straw-man from the Wizard of Oz, apparently.

    It is unfortunate but true that innocent people have been incarcerated for decades before being proved innocent and, no doubt, even longer without ever being proven innocent. We do not, for that reason, roll up our criminal justice system, set free all our prisoners and promise never, ever to prosecute another suspected criminal. I’m not sure how one innocent man proves that we ought to promise never, ever to render another suspected terrorist.

    Apologies are in order any time we make a mistake and punish an innocent man or, in the case of Maher Arar, render him to where he apparently was tortured. As it may be appropriate to file a law-suit for cases of wrongful prosecution, so it may be appropriate in Arar’s case to allow a law-suit but a wrongful rendering does not argue for a cessation of rendering any more than a wrongful prosecution argues for a cessation of prosecutions . We continue to prosecute suspected criminals in spite of the proven fact that, at times, that will result in an innocent being incarcerated for very long times.

    There may be good arguments for not rendering. I myself think that, if we wish to have a person tortured, we should do it ourselves since we can’t escape moral responsibili ty for the torture simply by asking another country to do it for us. We either decide that we will never torture anyone nor allow anyone in our detention to be tortured by any other nation or, if we decide that torture may be a necessary evil at times, we should do it ourselves.

  19. To amplify on my immediately preceding comment, while a wrongful rendering of an innocent does not argue for the cessation of rendering any more than a wrongful, successful prosecution of an innocent in our criminal justice system argues for the cessation of criminal prosecutions  , it IS true that a wrongful prosecution argues for changes in procedures to make it less likely that we will convict innocent people. By that same token, Arar’s case argues strongly for changing the procedures that precede a rendition of a terrorist suspect to make it less likely that another innocent will be rendered.

  20. It may also argue for strengthenin g assurances that innocents may have legal recourse for having been tortured or rendered. This may make the government less quick to use harsh treatment if it knows that some post-error punishment may be applied.

  21. A. The assumption is that the terrorist are coward who can not resist torture.

    B. The assumption is that the terrorist are too stupid to lie.

    C. If we become the devil what is the point.

  22. As to A, I plead innocent. Courage and cowardness have nothing to do with one’s ability to resist torture. Many a courageous person has been broken by torture. From all I’ve read, no one yet has resisted water-boardi ng, the point of which is to make an untalkative person talk. At this, by all accounts, waterboardin g is exceptionall y successful.

    Note that I don’t necessarily think that the person will unfailingly tell the truth but if he never opens his mouth, he will never tell the truth in time to prevent an attack. At least if he is talking, a good interrogator  , asking the right questions has a chance at getting at the truth. With the panic that waterboardin g is purported to cause, the likelihood is that the person won’t be thinking about what lie to tell. He’ll be thinking about how to make damn sure they don’t strap him to that board again and that means telling the truth for nothing else will ensure that.

    As to B, I plead innocent. I nowhere claim that waterboardin g leads unerringly to truth. The point is to ask questions seeking verifiable answers. There’s no point in asking “Are you a terrorist?” and torturing until he says yes. But what about, “Where are the vials of the virus?” “Where are your cohorts located?” Seeking information where the answer is verifiable or where the answer may coincide (or not) with information that is independentl y known from other sources. You may not know whether the person is lying but truthful answers will be verifiable as true or not.

    As to C, the point is defeating the enemy devils trying to kill us en masse. They saw heads off of conscious and helpless prisoners with blades that aren’t necessarily sharp. They blow up unarmed worshippers in Mosques, children in schools, Muslims for being insufficient ly pious, etc. Nothing that I am talking about comes anywhere near making us anywhere near the devils that our enemies are.

    I don’t see this as an issue where not doing something that we can do to try to save lives makes us virtuous. A primary purpose of government is to protect its citizens from internal and external enemies. Nowhere in the Constitution are consideratio ns of such categories as evil and good even recognized, let alone made a purpose of government. I’m asking our government to do its job, the job for which I put up with paying taxes: protect us.

    I don’t see the government’s job as being to protect our virtue, a job for which governments are singularly ill equipped in any case. I mean, look at the people in our government and ask yourself how many of them are virtuous, shining pillars of goodness, kindness, credibility, honesty, etc. People are schmucks. Politicians are schmucks in pursuit of power and influence. Successful politicians are,therefor e, schmucks with power which, as Lord Acton taught us, corrupts. If you’re looking for government to protect our nation’s virtue, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Nor am I interested in a government intent on preserving its vision of virtue, which, in any case, may not correspond to my own vision of virtue. I’m satisfied if they do what it is their job to do by protecting us. I leave virtue to individuals’ consciences.

  23. Definition: a government intent on preserving its vision of virtue = a totalitarian regime. Think Iran’s mullahs, the Taliban, Al Qaeda when they are in control of some territory, or, hell, if you want a really scary example, a president Mike Huckabee, who wants to amend the Constitution to bring it into line with the his own interpretati on of the Bible.

    No thanks.

  24. Craig,
    So as long as you’re better than a bunch of murderous thugs that’s ok? Man, you have low standards for your government.  ;-)

    Either human rights apply to everyone, even SUSPECTED terrorists, or they’re worthless bits of paper that don’t apply to anyone because anyone can be reclassified as not human enough. Given we apparently believe the latter, can we please stop hypocritical ly complaining about everyone else’s human rights abuses before we clear up ours?

    And finally, if the government has information to verify torture information against, why are they torturing people and not acting on the information they have from other sources? Besides which, if they have information, then the questions will be directed in the “We know it’s true, confess’ direction. There’s no way to avoid it because the torturer ‘knows’ it to be true, so every time it’s denied is just proof you need more torture to make them tell you the ‘truth’.

    I know you and I disagree pretty fundamentall y on this, so I’m not trying to open it all up again. We danced this dance pretty effectively last time. I understand your position, I can see how it makes sense, I can see you hold it for perfectly valid, justifiable reasons, I just don’t accept your position is correct.

  25. The constitution  , the bill of rights, the geneva convention are just words. They describe the things that we supposable believe in. In america, more than any other country our identity is formed by our beliefs. If we chose to ignore these things we are no longer americans.

  26. Who says we have to better than anyone else anyway?
    That’s why people come here in recorde numbers and take advantage of our “niceness”

  27. Lisa,
    You do. When you loudly proclaim that America is the greatest nation on Earth, that it’s people care about the less fortunate, that you believe in the rule of law and human rights, or when you castigate other countries for not meeting your standards. Forgive us for holding you to your own declared standards.

  28. Oh Paul give it up please. Then why do you think the poor come here in record numbers?
    The people who come here know they have a better opportunity here than in their own countries otherwise they would stay where they are.
    Unfortunatle y many people here have a “You owe me” mentality . You should know that because I hear you guys have a similar situation.

  29. Lisa,
    We’re not talking about economics or a ‘better chance’, we’re talking about America torturing people. Different things. Now, I can understand that you don’t like talking about your country being a human rights abusing torturer, but could we keep this slightly on track?

  30. Well I am glad you agree on the better life thing. As far as torturing Paul it is not our standard policy. But like I said people take advantage of our niceness via 9/11.

  31. Back to the original post which was that Canada had us on a list of countries that torture, then apologized and took us off. This is not an argument about the virtues of torture nor did I defend that. I brought forth a post that the country that accused of us torture has a history of renedering prisoners to countries that torture. Is this not tatamout to torture if they send a prisoner to a country that does so? Sure they say they are given assurances that they prisoner in question will not be tortured. Any follow up on this? Doubt it.

    The quote from the article:

    “Afghanist an is included on the list although the Canadian government says that prisoners turned over to the Afghan government by Canadian troops are not ill treated or tortured in violation of Canadian laws.

    Amnesty Internationa l’s lawsuit is an attempt to end those handovers.

    This is saying that even though Afganistan is on the Candian list of countries that torture they, the Canadians, still turn prisoners over to them.
    I contend that Canada should get their own shit together before casting stones.

    The other remark was in reference to all the uproar about WOT suspects and alleged torture. Why are we not at least as appalled as the torture that domestic law enforcement in every country subjects prisoners and suspects to every day. Can you imagine being interrogated or incarcerated for a crime you did not commit? Would this not cause mental and in the case of incareration  , physical anquish? Like Craig pointed out. If a prison (and which one does not?) has a rape problem and does not protect the inmates is this not torture? Then throw in those that have been wrongly incarerated and then get assaulted and you have an unimaginal torturous situation. I would see every day I was locked away wrongly as torture as I suspect most would. Do you see any congresspers on or country calling for a full review of all prisoners to make sure none are wrongly held? Hell no, there is way more clamor to respect the rights of those we picked up on the battle field than for our own fellow citizens.

  32. Paul, in your country are the police allowed to hold a supect without charges. If so for how long? Is this not a form of torture if an uncharged (presumed innocent) person is locked up?

  33. Manapp Paul’s country is perfect.

  34. Manapp,
    In answer to the first part, yes, that is tantamount to torture (although the US and UK do it too, so let’s not cast too many stones), and, yes, Canada should get it’s shit together first. But as I pointed out, so should the US before it criticises other countries for torture and other human rights abuses.

    In answer to the second point, there is a difference of intent. When a defendant is found guilty is sentenced, they are not sentenced to any of the abuses that o on in prison. Further, when such abuses are found, action is generally found to reduce them. Whereas the torture is an active policy.

    Regarding your third point, yes, the UK police can hold terrorism suspects for a maximum of 28 days, renewed on a weekly basis by a judge, without charging them. This was increased from 14 days soon after the 7/7 attacks, and was reduced from an original proposal of 90 days. The current proposal, which is going through Parliament is a ‘compromise’ of 42 days. This may or may not pass. There is quite a lot of opposition at the moment. And no, that is not a form of torture. It could be argued it’s a form of human rights abuse, but it’s not torture.

    Lisa,
    The UK is not perfect and I’ve never said it is. But, as usual, don’t let awkward things like facts get n your way.

  35. Actually, Manapp, I missed one: You picked them up off the battlefield? When was Nigeria part of the battlefield in Afghanistan? Or Italy? That statement is patently not true. Besides which, even battlefield prisoners are human, and thus have human rights.

  36. Paul when was the last time the US threw a homosexual in jail or a girl who was raped or hung someone in public as a matter of policy?
    That’s the kind of crap we criticize.

  37. Lisa,
    And you, the US, torture people. Expect to get criticised for it. I don’t actually understand why you think you shouldn’t get criticised for doing something wrong. No one’s saying that other countries shouldn’t get criticised, it’s just that when you do something wrong, you get criticised as well. Please explain why you shouldn’t?

  38. Paul,

    As you say, we understand one another and disagree. I’m going to leave it at that. I have a migraine today so I’m staying out of the discussions on this for now.

    Have a great day, Paul, and all.

  39. Craig,
    Very sensible. If you didn’t have one already, I’m sure taking part would cause one. Hope you’re well soon.

  40. Paul, the original post was of another country, Canada accusing the US of torture not the other way around. And they later apologized which shows how the “hate America” goes off without the facts.
    The quote again:

    “I regret the embarrassmen t caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the department � �s torture awareness training,” Mr. Bernier said in a statement. “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten. � �”

    They admit that the list wrongly includes. They admit they were wrong.

  41. Thanks, Paul.

  42. Manapp,
    Oh, really? So drowning people isn’t torture but locking them up is? What definition of torture are you using? Because it sure as Hell isn’t the one that’s used in the English language.

    And I was simply replying to your posts. I did read the statements and assumed it was similar to when world leaders says how great the Saudi Arabian democratic situation is: an attempt to not embarrass your allies unnecessaril y, but not the truth.

  43. I take the statement, when translated into “What we really mean” from its current diplomat-spe ak “What we dare say”, to mean something along the lines of, “We deeply regret that we somehow accidentally allowed to be made public what we really think. All future efforts will be directed toward making sure that that never happens again.”

    Going dark again.

  44. Actually Lisa it is you that hate america. You endorse torure. You endorse leaving people in the trash can. It is you who endose the only i count. You basically endorse all that is the worst side of america.

  45. Chris that is such crap. I don’t endorse torture for our citizens. It shouldn’t be an open debate. Because
    we can thank the democrats and the liberal media for bringing it to the forefront. You can thank yourself and the rest of the socialists for dividing this country. And I am trying to not be too harsh by using the term socialist.
    Who do I leave in the trashcan anyway? I was almost in the trashcan at one time. I ‘m not bitter. I didn’t blame our governement or the rich.
    I won’t even explain it to you because it’s not worth my time.

  46. We are having this discussion because a republican administrati on torured people. We are having this discussing because republican canditates for the presidency endorse torture. But then,,as you say(It shouldn’t be an open debate) don’t believe in free speech.

  47. I mean it shouldn’t be an open public debate for the rest of the world in with the only objective is to make us look bad. No we aren’t perfect bt try telling that to the millions of people who come here for a better life.

  48. I would prefer to hear how they are going to help the average middle class citizen being we make up the majority of this country ,.
    There are 3 Americas. The rich,the poor and the rest of who can eat shit and die if we fall on hard times.
    No handouts for us if we need it.

  49. Most people do come here for a better economic life. Some come here because they would be dead if they stayed where they were. Some come here for the freedoms. Certainly there is a great deal more good in this country then bad. None of which means that we occasionally don’t do stupid and immoral things. Its only by protesting these that we can stay a good country. It is only by debating these things that we can define who we are.

    The rest of the world has a great stake in us. This is not only because of our economic and military power. It is because their brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles live here. So they too feel they have a right to comment.

  50. I really think there are more things that should concern us more than waterboardin g. I’m sorry I just feel that while there are kids bringing guns to schools and people not being able to afford their bills we focus on waterboardin g people that would kill you given the chance.
    I doubt it was done with total disregard that there was sufficient enough cause for it. That will alwasy be the difference between us and dictatorship s.

  51. And yes I have to say it if we had a democrat president and it was being done I bet the congress wouldn’t be holodng hearings to define what torture is and I can also guarantee most would be saying it is necessary. I’m just speculationg based on past history.

  52. exactly what history are you talking about?

  53. I’m sorry I just feel that while there are kids bringing guns to schools

    The republicans are the ones against gun control.

    and people not being able to afford their bills

    The republicans only cut taxes in a meaningful way for the rich

    we focus on waterboardin g people that would kill you given the chance.
    I doubt it was done with total disregard that there was sufficient enough cause for it.

    Once again you are endorsing torture

  54. Against gun control? Personally no. There is no place in America of which I am aware that does not have some form of gun control laws and that’s fine with me, card carrying Republican, Craig R. Harmon. What I object to is D. C. style gun control that is so heavy that possessing any gun in usable condition in one’s home for self-defense and defense of family is a crime.

    If life is the primary human right then self-defense and defense of others has got to be next in line, doesn’t it? Forcing one to say, “Hold on while I put together and load this shot gun” spoken to the guy breaking into your home menacing your family simply will not cut it. It amounts to de-jure disarmament in my opinion.

    Arguing that we Republicans are against gun control is, for the most part, bogus. We want reasonable gun control laws that allow law abiding citizens to defend themselves and their loved ones against the criminal element. If law enforcement could protect us, that would be cool. They can’t. They’ve never been able to. About all they can do is photograph the bodies and bag the hands to preserve evidence. If government can’t protect us, I damn well demand that they allow us to defend ourselves.

  55. Follow up to the above. So the disagreement isnt: Democrats want gun control and Republicans don’t. It’s an argument about where to draw the lines. Laws restricting gun ownership just prevent law abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves and their loved ones. They are of absolutely no effect with those who are not law abiding, leaving the law abiding defenseless and easy prey for criminals who know that their victims will be defenseless.

    No, it’s not an easy thing to find a line that will satisfy all. but whatever one thinks of the second amendment, if it means that law-abiding citizens cannot defend themselves and their loved ones from criminal bastards, something’s wrong with one’s interpretati on of the second amendment or we need a new amendment to enshrine a right of self-defense against those who threaten our lives and safety.

    That’s my opinion, anyway.

  56. so why was the brady law not renewed. Do americans really need assault weapons?

  57. “Gun control means holding it with both hands.”

    Saw this on a bumper sticker.

  58. Chris says this:

    “We are having this discussion because a republican administrati on torured people. ”

    Actually according to the Brits, America has been torturing for decades. Even under a Democrat administrati on:

    “An hour and a half’s drive from where Bush stood, the US military ran the notorious School of the Americas from 1946 to 1984, a sinister educational institution that, if it had a motto, might have been “We do torture”. It is here in Panama, and later at the school’s new location in Fort Benning, Georgia, where the roots of the current torture scandals can be found.

    According to declassified training manuals, SOA students - military and police officers from across the hemisphere - were instructed in many of the same “coercive interrogatio n” techniques that have since gone to Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib: early morning capture to maximise shock, immediate hooding and blindfolding  , forced nudity, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep and food “manipulatio n”, humiliation, extreme temperatures  , isolation, stress positions - and worse. In 1996 President Clinton’s Intelligence Oversight Board admitted that US-produced training materials condoned “execution of guerrillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion and false imprisonment ”.

    http://www.g uardian.co.u k/usa/story/ 0,12271,1664 174,00.html

    This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue. This is about how far the government should go to obtain information.   Whether it be internationa l or domestic you can be sure that coercive techniques that could be classified as torture are used when officials think they are working to “put away the bad guys”
    I happens all over the world all the time.

  59. Then it’s good that it is more out in the open now so that we can end it.

  60. Christopher,

    I assume you mean the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, not the Brady Bill which, so far as I can tell had nothing to do with assault weapons but had two parts:

    1) It required local law enforcement agencies to carry out background checks (this portion was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstituti onal) and

    2) It required an up to five day waiting period while said check was taking place (this portion became obsolete when NICS kicked in, reducing time for background checks to as little as five minutes). In short, the Brady bill was both unconstituti onal in part and obsolete in its entirety by 1998 and, so, was irrelevant as a gun control bill.

    As for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban,

    1) weapons thus classified were very rarely used in crimes before the ban and, therefore, the ban would have a negligible effect on occurrence of crimes using such weapons, especially given that there were plenty of other guns that would no doubt replace said guns in the commission of crimes and therefore the bill would not reduce crimes with guns by so much as one crime.

    2) As soon as the bill went into effect, subtle changes to the banned weapons, changes that were largely cosmetic, not effecting lethality of the weapon, were made to make essentially the same weapon perfectly legal under the bill and therefore the bill will largely moot from day one.

    3) Although while the bill was being debated, there was a spike in the prices of all covered guns, the price went back down to at or near pre-ban prices when the ban went into place (I’m not sure why this would be but the DOJ’s study showed it to be the case).

    4) There was a short-term reduction in crimes using the banned weapons but presumably criminals used substitutes since there was no noticeable reduction in violent crimes using weapons or the numbers of deaths involved in such crimes.

    5) The bill did reduce the cartridge capacity of clips that could be manufactured and sold with such guns, meaning that, if one didn’t obtain large capacity clips from overseas, one would be forced to change clips more often and therefore it is arguable that one might not be able to fire quite as many bullets but such large capacity clips were easily available from several eastern European countries and even with the reduced capacity clip, studies found no statistical reduction in either crimes or deaths from the use of the redesigned weapons. In any case, the number of rounds held by a clip was only an issue in a prolonged gun battle type situation. In most crimes involving guns, the guns are never fired and so the clip capacity is irrelevant. In short, the bill was smoke and mirrors having no noticeable effect on crime.

    Again, criminals don’t care what laws you pass. Said laws affect only law-abiding citizens. That is to say, by the time the law was up for renewal, the law appeared useless for the purposes for which it was intended.

    Also, liberty is an issue. Vehicles cause a large percentage of deaths in America, lives that could be saved by outlawing vehicles and yet Americans demand them. Perhaps one might argue that people need them but surely society could be engineered in such a way that almost all motorized vehicles could be eliminated, thus reducing vehicular deaths to minimal levels but that would require reductions of liberties that Americans are not willing to tolerate. They will tolerate high mortality rates among drivers and passengers to retain their liberties.

    Likewise, it appears that most people wish to retain their liberties with respect to weapons ownership such that they are willing to accept a small increase in weapons deaths in order to retain their liberty of weapons ownership. If this were not the case, the public outcry in favor of renewal of the assault weapons ban would have assured its renewal.

    Just my opinion.

  61. Your right I meant the assault weapon ban. As for the rest.

    A. You were quick enough to give up your liberties when it came to wire tapping and habeus corpus.

    B. I ask again why you need an assault weapon to protect you and your property? Are you expecting the yellow hordes to come flying through your doorway.

  62. Christopher,

    A. Again, I expect one thing of government: that they protect us. Both the wire tapping and habeas corpus issues were directly connected to the one task that I expect the government to do. They were, I believe, reasonable steps in furtherance of that task.

    B. I don’t need an assault weapon. I don’t own any guns of any kind and never have. However, the last point I made is quite important here. It’s not a matter of need but of liberty. I like the choice to own or not to own. The reasons I listed are reasons why I think that the ban was a needless restriction on liberties and why I think that that choice ought not be taken away from me or any other law abiding citizen. If government is going to restrict my liberties, they’d better have a better reason than they had in the assault gun ban and better have a law that will be more effective at reducing crime than that one. Otherwise, I like my liberties and as broad as is compatible with safety…like automobiles. I mean, honestly, who needs a Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz or a Porsche when a Honda will do the trick?

    The answer, then, to B. is: I’m an American who loves his liberty and demands that the government be very sure that they’ve got a good reason to take my liberty away. The federal assault weapons ban wasn’t good enough for the reasons I listed.

  63. I’m going to amend slightly the above. When I say, in A above, that I expect one thing of government: that they protect me, I sound like I mean liberty and rights be damned as long as government protects us. That shouldn’t be read that way since, in part B, I’m all about liberty but that just makes the comment sound like one big two-part contradictio n so I’ll try again.

    I expect government to protect us in ways least damaging to liberties. There is always some trade off between security and liberty but I expect any security increase to actually increase security while not decreasing liberty more than necessary and that the value I place on the security gained be greater than the value I place on the liberty lost.

    To me, the various Bush-authori zed NSA programs met those criteria. I found the wire-tapping to be both rationally related to increasing security and minimally intrusive of liberties. Likewise the habeas corpus issue. Nothing Bush or the NSA or Congress has done in the so-called War on Terror is anywhere near as intrusive into liberties as what was done in WWII, WWI or the Civil War.

    To say that lays me open to the response that the so-called War on Terror is not the threat that any of those wars were. In a nuclear age, I don’t know that that’s true and neither, for certain, does any one else. A nuclear or bioweapon attack on America could easily rack up body counts as high or higher than any of those previous wars or all of them put together. Then again, the criticism could be true. I just don’t know. However, I think the point still stands, even if it is true that the WoT does not pose the threat that the previous wars did, it is still true that the steps taken are less restricting of rights than those previous wars saw.

    In any case, I wished to clarify that in order to stave off charges of inconsistenc y. They may still come but I’ve tried.

  64. I’m sorry I still do not see how A does not contradict B. Since can can never prove how many people were saved by the assault weapon ban, it is impossible to say whether it was effective. What we do know for sure is that the risk of you being killed by a fire arm( 11.5 per 100000 people) is much greater than the risk of you being killed by terrorist ( which is close to zero). It seems rather strange to be willing to restrict your liberties for something that has almost no chance of happening but to be unwilling to restrict it when there is a real possibility.

  65. Because, again, show me a piece of legislation that has a chance of making a serious dent in criminal activity and I’ll support it all the way. I’ve seen no evidence that the federal assault weapon ban made any dent in crime at all and I’ve marshaled plenty of evidence that it was irrelevant as soon as it was passed. Look. I don’t mind rational restrictions that have a chance of doing what they’re designed to do but I’m not giving up my right over a piece of legislation that, in my opinion, did nothing, not even do much to restrict nearly identical weapons from reaching law abiding citizens’ hands.

    On the other hand, I believe that the NSA programs were directed to precisely what I expect government to do in an environment where we’ve been attacked by an enemy from within our shores: find them, dismantle their cells, try them and lock them away for a good long time. It’s not like we haven’t seen evidence that 9/11 wasn’t the last (or the first for that matter) attempt to wreak destruction on this country.

    Then there are the statements of the Al Qaeda leadership along the lines that they still plan further attacks, that they have cells in place. Sure. Maybe that’s just braggadocio but I’m not willing to bet the next massive attack on our people and nation. They’ve proven over and over again that they are serious.

    To sum up, the federal assault weapons ban, in my view, did nothing so why should I give up my liberties for a worthless piece of fish-wrap? On the other hand, the NSA programs seemed likely to be effective until revealed and, so, in a world with lots of nuclear knowledge and imperfectly protected nuclear material around, I prefer likely effective programs that infringe upon rights to a piece of legislation that I view to be useless. The difference is not the likelihood of my personally being shot compared to the likelihood of my personally being killed in a terrorist attack; the difference is my estimate of the likelihood of the NSA programs’ success to the, in my opinion, unlikelihood of the assault weapons ban’s success.

  66. As a concession, I do think that the outlawing of large-capaci ty clips along with some way of preventing the importation of such large capacity clips into the country could definitely save some lives. Any time spent replacing clips is time not spent shooting (not that it takes much time to swap out clips but it might give one or two people the chance to take cover). That, to me, was the most likely (though not very likely, since large capacity clips were fairly easily obtained from outside the country) bit to be effective and I’d certainly be willing to give up large capacity clips, if I thought criminals would similarly be restricted in their size of clips.

    But there’s the rub. Smuggling illicit items into this country is like a cottage industry. Just as prohibitiona ry laws tend to create more problems than they solve, I pretty much see many gun laws as having little or no effect on criminals who, again, don’t give a rip what laws are passed. They’ll find a way around them. The best gun control laws are those that create disincentive s for criminals to use guns in the commission of a crime, not those that merely restrict the choices and liberties of law-abiding citizens. Prohibition made no sense precisely because the only ones negatively effected by them were those who obeyed the law. Criminals were effected positively and at the expense of society as a whole.

  67. Actually the law was not so much targetted at criminals as the columbines and virgina techs.

  68. So, the columbines and v-ts weren’t criminals? I’ve maybe got a warped view of what constitutes a crime? I don’t think so. If you mean that they weren’t career criminals, fine. Point granted. But, again, by the time the ban was actually passed, not only had the gun companies pumped up production of weapons that would be banned but they made changes to the cosmetic designs of the weapons that would be banned so that they were selling nearly identical copies of the banned weapons that were just as lethal and perfectly legal so what was the point? The only possible point was the size of the clip, which I’ve already conceded was a good idea.

  69. In any case, our discussion left behind long ago the actual point of the post. I’ve pretty much made my point to my (if not your) satisfaction . I appreciate the conversation and its tone, Christopher. It’s always a pleasure to chat with someone who can argue without name calling and general ad hominem attacks.

    Sorry we don’t see eye to eye but, well, that’s why there are at least two sides to every story: we all see things from a different point of view.

    Be well, my friend.

  70. Yesy they are criminals but I assumed that was not the kind you were talking about. I believe that these types would not make that great an effort to obtain the weapons illegally. In many cases they would not know how.

  71. Well, my point was that they would not HAVE to. By the time the ban went into place, there were perfectly legal and equally lethal alternatives that they could obtain and I would presume that anyone who spent any time at gun shows could hook up with people that could provide anything one wanted: hand grenades, rocket launchers, anything short of tanks — not right there at the show, mind you, but the connections you needed could be made there. I personally wouldn’t know how to obtain illegal weapons but I’m pretty sure how to find out how to do so without any problem at all. If I could, anyone could.

    It’s like drugs. When I was at school, finding out who to contact to get anything I wanted was clear. Same with weapons.

  72. Large capacity clips may even be available through the personal ad sections of gun-culture magazines. Not being one to read such, I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were so. I just don’t think running around the assault weapons ban was as difficult as finding a good family doctor.

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