Posts tagged ‘torture’

California Supreme Court backs gay marriage! and other news, too

Whoa! It seems I was totally wrong when I expected the California Supreme Court to uphold the ban on gay marriage. Instead, they struck down the ban as unconstitutional, allowing same sex marriage in the state. Conservatives are already rallying to try to get a constitutional amendment banning it on the ballots in November, but it seems pretty unlikely that they’d be able to get the two thirds majority needed to pass it. Edit: it only takes a simple majority, which seems much easier. I don’t know if it is likely to pass. Hooray, progress!

Also, there is currently some finegaling in Congress these days over funding the Iraq invasion. It would be awesome if the legislators finally grew a spine and started passing bills that would, you know, stop wars of aggression and ban torture and provide education and medical benefits to veterans (admittedly, that last one is not related to Congress, but it’s despicable enough to mention along with the rest of this crap). but unfortunately I doubt this will actually go anywhere, and even if it did, Bush would almost certainly veto any such measure.

In natural disaster news, the cyclone that hit Burma and the earthquake in China have each left tens of thousands dead. Burma is in trouble because it is a poor country that doesn’t have the infrastructure to help the refugees or to rescue the people still trapped. China is in trouble because the areas worst hit are in hard-to-reach mountainous areas, and the earthquake coupled with heavy rains the next day wiped out most of the roads and airports, so it’s hard to send aid to the victims.

Hooray, getting my blog back onto the “Civil Liberties and World News” bit, rather than the “and computer science and stuff” part. I had begun to wonder if I needed to change the title of this blog.

Another news spike

Nothing interesting has happened for nearly a week, and all of a sudden, lots of things are out there! The space shuttle Discovery appears to have launched without incident, and is on its way to take a German dude to the ISS. Former Enron executive Ken Lay died of a heart attack (note that this brought up an excellent example of why Wikipedia should not be trusted (edit: link is broken; use the WayBack Machine to see the article) as much as an actual encyclopedia, since its information is not guaranteed to be correct). Although neither of thise is particularly important news, I thought I’d add them in anyway. More importantly, North Korea had a failed missile test which has prompted much of the rest of the world to be quite alarmed. UN Security Council meetings and economic sanctions appear to be following quite quickly. The test included a Taepodong-2 missile which, if successful, could hit the west coast of the USA. It appears as though Korea will have another missile test in the near future. In Europe, the Italians are cracking down on people who supposedly helped the CIA kidnap people and transfer them to countries where they were tortured. If this is part of the alleged secret CIA torture system throughout Europe, there is a lot more to be uncovered. However, it appears so far to just be a few people. Finally, Israel has continued its incursion into the West Bank, this time attempting to stop Palestinians from firing grenades into villages. The military activity began a week ago when Palestinians kidnapped an Israeli soldier, the first such abduction in over a decade.

Right. I think that’s all for the moment… Oh! and the World Cup final seems to be Italy versus France.

UN vs. American torture

The UN is getting pretty upset with all of the USA’s torture and human rights violations. There have been many complaints over the years, but this one is pretty serious. However, I can’t think of a way to easily resolve this sort of thing. The reasonable people of the world say that this violates US law, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture treaty, etc. However, the people in charge of Guantanamo Bay and other US international prisons disagree and do not intend to change their ways. Is there any course of action to stop them outside of war/revolution/assassination? To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing the UN can do besides whine a bunch, and there’s nothing the US citizens can do besides protest a lot. This administration has already shown that it will not listen to either of the above methods of lobbying. Any thoughts on what else we can do?