Anyone who doesn’t think Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn are currently radical should pay attention to the second half of their interview that aired on Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! program on Monday. Listen to Dohrn wail about all the disasters the U.S. military is allegedly causing, and how we need to get "off the necks and the backs" of the world:
That’s a remarkable opportunity, because we have to do a lot more listening and a lot more talking to deal with, really, the future of the planet, massive starvation, the destruction of water and rivers and oceans, and the relationship of all that to war and armament. I don’t see how we can move forward out of this economic crisis without massive demilitarizing of the U.S. empire machine.
BILL AYERS: And, and…
BERNARDINE DOHRN: I think that’s what we have to do, but how do we have that? I don’t have any formula for how we do that. I want to talk to everybody about how key that question is of how much money and resources and off the budget, you know, budgeting of our tax dollars goes into that unaccountable, highly privatized war machine of domination and mayhem. When we have so many fundamental human needs here and around the world. And what?
At interview’s end, Dohrn added that it’s the radical Marxists who are somehow the pro-lifers:
I want to say one last thing. The best of the new Left and the best of the social struggles of today have at their core the valuing of human life. All human life. You have to say both parts of that because people in the United States have to find our place in the world. And in some ways get off the necks and the backs of people of the world. We have to live differently. We have to live, and I say this with all humility too, you know. We have to all together learn to live differently so that others may live. So that core notion that animates social justice movements is really the valuing of all human life.
Do these people sound like Barack Obama’s ideal supporters? Even at his career’s beginning?
Guiding illegal immigrants injured on the job to appropriate medical care requires workers compensation case managers and claims handlers to take on the role of social worker, detective and translator.
Even delivering indemnity checks often presents additional challenges when injured workers reside in the country illegally, the claims and case managers say.
Still, experts say, comp claims for illegal immigrants must be managed effectively to ensure that treatment is delivered before medical conditions worsen and drive up claims costs, and before attorneys become involved.
Claims managers say they face numerous hurdles when they try to contact illegal immigrants injured at work. Fraudulent Social Security numbers are common, home addresses are wrong, and the workers and their families often are distrustful and unwilling to provide necessary information, fearing immigration authorities may become involved.
Laws in most states, however, mandate that illegal immigrants injured on the job receive the same care and benefits as legal workers.
One common challenge, say nurse case managers who specialize in helping catastrophically injured workers, occurs when assisting undocumented workers return home from a hospital stay.
"You are trying to work on discharge to a particular address and it doesn’t exist or it’s not the address they are actually living at," said Marlys Severson, president of SCM Associates Inc. and a network manager for Paradigm Management Services L.L.C., a Concord, Calif.-based catastrophic case management company.
"It makes it really tough to try to pull everything together to make for a smooth transition and good medical care," Ms. Severson said.
Impoverished living conditions can make returning patients home medically impossible, said Mary Hawkins, a bilingual catastrophic nurse case manager in Atlanta for Intracorp, a unit of Philadelphia-based unit of CIGNA Corp.
"If they have been living 12 (people) to an apartment, sleeping in shifts on the floor, you can’t send someone home with an infection and an open wound," she said. "You can’t send someone home who is a new paraplegic (under those conditions.) You can’t send someone home who is an amputee."
Catastrophic nurse case managers’ responsibilities include visiting the residences of injured workers to verify their home accommodations will be safe for recuperation after leaving treatment.
"I’ve had instances where I’ve gone to the house and there are 15 to 20 people who happen to be living with no furniture and you have an injured worker who’s laying on the floor on a blanket," Ms. Severson said. And the workers don’t have access to social resources available to legal workers.
Living conditions may impede healing and require medical case managers to spend more time educating patients about caring for themselves, said Adolfo Arsuaga, branch manager in Reston, Va., for the Hispanic Resource Center, a unit of Genex Services Inc., a disability management company.
"They do require a little bit more handholding," Mr. Adolfo said.
Providing illegal immigrants with disability payments can present challenges because they don’t have appropriate documentation to open a checking account, he said.
In some cases where injured workers’ accommodation is not appropriate for their medical condition, insurers pay to rent a new apartment. But finding one can be difficult because some apartment owners demand proof that the injured worker is in the country legally, case managers say.
"Half the time you end up literally having to put them in a hotel room (with accommodations for disabled guests) month after month because they can’t sign a lease," Ms. Hawkins said.
Workers comp insurers say they do not ask whether someone is undocumented and claim forms don’t require such information. But case managers and claims managers say there are several clues.
The use of multiple Social Security numbers for a single claimant is one tipoff for claims examiners, said Darrell Brown, workers comp practice lead for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. in Long Beach, Calif.
Others agree that multiple Social Security numbers are common.
"We have seen undocumented workers having multiple (Social Security numbers). One for the job, one for the third-party administrator, and one for the health care facility," said Thomas Newman, marketing analyst in Nashville, Tenn. for Alternative Service Concepts L.L.C., a claims management company.
Establishing addresses also can prove challenging for case managers. Financial instability often forces undocumented workers to move frequently. Or they provide false addresses because of their fear of immigration authorities.
Illegal immigrants change telephone numbers frequently, or they may not have a telephone, so case managers visit their homes more regularly to ensure they follow through with treatment.
"There (are) a lot of scenarios involved, but it just makes it really difficult for (health care) coordination (and) getting them to and from their therapy, being able to get them to and from their doctor’s appointments, being able to provide them adequate care," said Ms. Severson.
The additional hurdles to providing care to illegal immigrants increases the likelihood that their medical outcomes will not be as successful, claims managers say.
Sometimes the outcomes are heart-wrenching, nurse case managers said.
One worker returned home to Mexico rather than stay in the United States and undergo surgeries that could have restored the sight he lost in one eye, Ms. Severson said.
Distrust and a desire to return home when injured is common, she added. Some undocumented immigrants fear that flying across state lines to medical centers of excellence could expose them to immigration officials so they choose to forgo the specialized care, Ms. Severson said.
Ultimately, resolving claims filed by illegal immigrants requires that claims examiners and others build a trusting relationship with them, said Kimberly George, vp and managed care practice lead for Sedgwick in Chicago.
But earning trust and building a relationship can take "a lot more time, energy, effort and teamwork in order to provide good care for them," Ms. Hawkins said.
"You have to be an investigator, a social worker, a spiritual adviser, a medical coordinator and a translator," said Ms. Hawkins of Intracorp. "You have to speak English, Spanish and medical."
The US military has begun to directly identify the Iranian-backed "Special Groups" Shia terror groups with Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army in press information issued in Baghdad.
The direct association between the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups is a change in how the US military has treated Sadr’s militia for more than the past 18 months.
Previously, the US military would make distinctions between the two groups. This was part of an effort to sow divisions within the Mahdi Army and split off the moderate elements willing to reconcile with the Iraqi government.
Evidence of the change first appeared at the US military’s DVIDS (Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System) website on Nov. 26. The Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq published five photos of Iraqi Army raids in Diwaniyah in southern Iraq.
The caption on all five photos noted the Iraqi Army was conducting a search for "Jaysh Al Mahdi forces," the Iraqi name of the Mahdi Army, which is often referred to as JAM.
"JAM is a militia insurgency group in Iraq" was written under each photo.
A second set of seven photos, released on Nov. 28, were captioned in the same manner. The Iraqi Army was described as searching for Mahdi Army forces in Diwaniyah, while the Mahdi Army was again described as "a militia insurgency group in Iraq."
The US military’s terms for the Mahdi Army have evolved over the past 18 months. In the spring of 2007, the military began calling the Mahdi Army the "Secret Cells" and said they were armed, trained, and funded by Iran. In the early summer of 2007, the name changed to Special Groups.
In the summer of 2007, the US military began to associate the Special Groups with the Mahdi Army, but claimed there was a split between the two groups. The Mahdi Army leaders and fighters killed or captured in August were identified as "rogue" and associated with the Special Groups.
Over the next six months, the US heaped praise on Sadr for initiating a cease fire after his forces were defeated in Karbala in August of 2007, while referring to those who still attacked Iraqi and US forces as "criminals." US and Iraqi forces ruthlessly attacked these "criminals."
The tone changed again in February 2008, when Sadr’s ceasefire was set to expire. In press releases identifying the capture or death of "criminals" or Special Groups fighters, the US military began implicitly linking the targeted operatives with Sadr.
In late March, when the Mahdi Army attempted to rise up in Baghdad’s Sadr City and Basrah, the al-Sayyid honorific was dropped and the US reverted to simply calling the Shia terrorists the Special Groups. The military has essentially stuck with this description, avoiding any association between the Mahdi Army and the Special groups until the past several days.
The US would claim those fighting the Mahdi Army were rogue or splinter groups in order to avoid labeling the militia as an insurgent group and provide those willing to reconcile with the government an out. During this time period, Sadr was stuck between choosing to fight and risk having his militia dismantled by US and Iraqi forces, and halting the attacks and risk losing the hard-line factions in the Mahdi Army who often were the most capable.
The strategy worked. Sadr was conflicted between fighting and sitting on the sidelines as Iraqi forces launched an offensive in Basrah at the end of March 2008. The hardliners in the Mahdi Army demanded they fight back, and they did.
But US and Iraqi forces continued to press the Mahdi Army, using the "Special Groups" and "rogue elements" narrative to methodically pursue the Mahdi Army in southern and central Iraq during the late spring and summer of 2008. Iraqi forces obtained the warrants and thousands of Mahdi Army fighters were captured.
The US military and Iraqi government succeeded in fracturing the Mahdi Army. Sadr effectively lost control of his militia as he remained in Iran, far from the fighting. Several offshoot groups, such as the Army of the Righteous, the Imam Ali Brigades, and the Hezbollah Brigades were formed by Mahdi Army commanders.
Sadr’s political power also began to wane. He ordered the disbanding of the Mahdi Army over the summer, and withdrawal of the Sadrist political bloc from the upcoming provincial elections.
The Sadrist strongly opposed the US-Iraq status of forces agreement, but failed to rally opposition against it in either the parliament or with the public. His weekly protests drew thousands of Sadrists but had no effect n the general public. Of the 199 votes cast, 149 voted for the agreement, 35 voted against, and 15 abstained. Thirty-two of the votes against the agreement came from the Sadrist bloc.
By identifying the Mahdi Army as "a militia insurgency group," the US military may be signaling it no longer views the group as a serious threat. And labeling the group part of the insurgency will drop the pretence the Mahdi Army is a legitimate entity in Iraqi society.
EL PASO — Shortcomings in the communications system between government agencies allowed a Juárez tuberculosis patient to continue traveling across the border against his doctor’s instructions, according to a General Accountability Office report released recently.
The report said Customs and Border Protection officials at the Bridge of Americas failed to notify Department of Homeland Security senior officials until 14 days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested the CBP’s assistance in the 2007 case.
The incomplete information allowed the Mexican citizen, who was under treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, to continue traveling from Juárez to El Paso for business purposes at least 20 times. He also had failed to surrender his travel visa as his doctor requested.
"CBP was handling this incident on the local level according to existing protocols. CBP placed nationwide alerts in its databases for the name, as provided by the CDC, but it did not result in any matches," the report said.
Once the correct and complete identification was provided, the alert provided U.S. border officials with the information they needed to intercept the patient.
Dr. Miguel Escobedo, medical officer for the CDC Quarantine Station in El Paso, said the report’s recommendations have been put into place and all local and federal agencies involved in monitoring international tuberculosis patients are being trained on the new procedures.
"We are in the process of informing our public health community about the new procedures," said Escobedo, adding that he’s traveling to other parts of the border to train government and health officials on the same measures.
He said no tuberculosis patients from the region currently are on the list used to alert border inspectors about people with disease that pose potential public health risks.
Dr. Esteban Vlasich, who supervised the patient’s treatment in Juárez, was unavailable for comment; however, he said earlier that the patient has completed antibiotic treatment successfully.
Vlasich is director of the Binational Tuberculosis Control Prevention Project Juntos, which is funded by the Texas Department of Health and CDC.
The GAO — the investigative arm of Congress — got involved after Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked for an inquiry into the case after the media reported the patient had crossed the border unimpeded many times.
The November 15 hijacking 450 miles east of Mombasa, Kenya, of a thousand-plus foot oil tanker carrying more than two million barrels of crude oil forced international recognition that the seas have been dramatically added to the world’s list of outlaw space. According to the International Maritime Bureau, recorded attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Aden area have more than tripled–to 92–in the past year. The million square mile swath of the Indian Ocean off, and south of, the Somali coast through which approximately 20,000 ships a year pass between Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere is within hailing distance of smaller, but no less significant, portions of the Middle East and South/Central Asia whose lawlessness has produced important consequences around the world. The prospect of a large-scale meeting of lawless land and lawless sea would be especially troubling even if the possible failed state in the middle–Pakistan–didn’t possess nuclear weaponry.
But for now, the problem is that Somali pirates who use global positioning devices to help identify potential targets, who deploy "mother" ships that can venture out to sea to launch and recover small fast boats, and who have mastered simple but effective tactics for capturing ships have transformed one of the world’s strategic choke points into a watery version of the Cyclops’ island home, a place without law. The consequences transcend what is already happening: spiking maritime insurance rates, significantly increased costs to international consumers as shipping lines reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, and a growing problem of captured ships’ crews held hostage in Somali pirate havens–330 crew members from 25 nations at last count.
Worse outcomes are likely. Last year 70,000 vessels transited the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Sumatra, a choke point through which well over half of Japan’s and China’s energy passes. In February of this year pirates attacked the Bahamian-flagged supertanker Kasagisan as it sailed through the Malacca Strait, one of 71 incidents of piracy recorded so far this year in Asia. The perceived inability of powerful states to restore and maintain order on the high seas will encourage more piracy both in the Western approaches to the Indian Ocean, in the Malacca Strait, and at other international maritime junctures where a huge volume of valuable shipping squeezes through narrow spaces. Lawlessness breeds more lawlessness, especially when reward vastly exceeds risk.
A U.N. report released in the third week of November estimates at $25 million to $30 million the amount of ransom that has been paid this year alone to Somali pirates. Kenya’s foreign minister places this figure at over $150 million. The pirates are emboldened not only by cash, but by the vanishingly small chance that they will be apprehended or imprisoned, either by a dysfunctional Somali government or by the states that contribute naval combatants to antipiracy operations in the area.
Deplorable in itself, the growth of piracy also raises the possibility that terrorists will be attracted both by financial incentive and by the international publicity that would result if a passenger ship were to be sunk with large loss of life. In November 2005 pirates in fast boats from a mother ship attacked the U.S.-based luxury cruise ship Seabourn Spirit as she sailed about 70 miles off the Somali coast. The ship’s security personnel repelled the assault and an Explosive Ordnance Demolition Team from a U.S. Navy frigate boarded the ship following the incident to remove an unexploded rocket-propelled grenade fired in the attack. But the incident demonstrates a fraction of what terrorists could hope to achieve, a loss of innocent life at sea to equal or surpass the casualties of September 2001.
International response to the Somali pirates has consisted chiefly of seven NATO member-states’ naval vessels, whose presence might make would-be pirates think twice if they weren’t stretched thin patrolling an area the size of Kazakhstan. They protect as best they can the delivery of thousands of tons of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, while U.S. naval combatants are occupied preventing the off-loading of a hijacked cargo of tanks, antiaircraft guns, and rocket-propelled grenades in the hold of the Ukrainian ship MV Faina, hijacked off Somalia in late September. This is an important mission, but one that if successful will deny weapons to their intended end-users while allowing negotiations to proceed for ransom. Keeping tabs on Faina will neither deter nor stop future piracy. The payment of ransom guarantees more of the same.
The Indian navy, meanwhile, found itself in a position to take more forceful action. The frigate INS Tabar did so with distinction answering in self-defense a pirate mother ship that challenged her in the Gulf of Aden on the night of November 18. The Indian frigate refused to stop and opened fire. Tabar sank the pirate vessel and chased the smaller accompanying vessels. The Indians acted sensibly and effectively. They deserve credit.
But the growing number of pirate attacks against shipping in a rapidly expanding area of international waters is unlikely to be deterred and will certainly not be stopped by a small or even a medium-sized naval force. The small fast boats that carry out the actual assaults can be loaded aboard fishing vessels, small freighters, and other unremarkable-looking merchantmen; new mother ships can always be found, especially when pirate coffers are filling with ransom. Nor are the pirates likely to be dissuaded by the air and naval blockade of the Somali coast that an international association of tanker owners proposed in the last week of November. Preventing a single large ship from slipping out of an enclosed sea is difficult enough–as the Bismarck‘s departure from Gotenhafen in May 1941 demonstrates. Culling the guilty few from the innocent many along a 1,900 mile coast would absorb the energies of several navies with no reasonable assurance of success.
Americans ought to know the limits of relying on naval power alone to stop piracy as a result of the nation’s experience in the Barbary Coast wars. Years of paying tribute to government-sponsored North African pirates produced increasing demands–as Thomas Jefferson warned. Once inaugurated, he rejected Tripoli’s demand for tribute. Naval warfare followed in which small, fast pirate boats darted out to capture valuable prizes. Notwithstanding the offshore victories of larger American frigates, a successful conclusion was only reached by combined naval, Marine, and mercenary action that captured the Tripolitan town of Derna. Rightly convinced that he was squarely in the Americans’ sights, the Bashaw of Tripoli agreed to peace, thus concluding the First Barbary War in 1805.
The second Barbary War ended similarly as the threat of Commodore Stephen Decatur’s nine-ship squadron’s guns trained on various North African cities convinced rulers to withdraw their demands for tribute and recognize U.S. shipping rights. Patrolling the Mediterranean was not nearly as persuasive in stopping piracy as denying pirates the bases from which to conduct operations or threatening those who supported them with destruction. The reference in the Marine hymn is to "the shores of Tripoli," not to its bays or littoral or coastal estuaries. The shore is where the problem festered. The shore is where it was resolved. And the shore is where today’s problem should be addressed if an end to piracy is the objective.
Trying to restore order to Somalia in the hope that a stronger government could control piracy is a worthy effort which Washington should continue and redouble. Successful diplomacy and effective local reconstruction efforts could indeed reduce the real possibility of a local Islamist takeover and offer relief for the country’s unfortunate people. But Somalia’s descent into turmoil began almost two decades ago, and is as unlikely to be reversed soon by soft as by hard power. The jihadist threat–in the form of the Islamic Courts Union which controls most of the country–has already been unleashed on the region. What sense is there in failing to stop a serious incipient threat–sea piracy–out of concern at exacerbating a terrorist threat that already flourishes?
The Russians have suggested attacking such pirate bases as Eyl in the northern Puntland region of Somalia. The idea deserves serious consideration. Naval patrols can reduce piracy, but they cannot stop it. So long as the risk of serious punishment is low and the ransoms that shipping companies pay are high, piracy will thrive and multiply. Failure in antipiracy efforts off the Somali coast is likely to encourage more piracy elsewhere and invite terrorists into the act. Adding international defeat at the hands of ingenious Somali pirates to the failure to find and kill Osama bin Laden increases the perception that states are powerless in the face of daunting challenges to international order.
This failure will increase the jihadists’ contempt for us as it further weakens the currency of such accepted ideas as honoring treaties, respecting borders, and abiding by proscriptions against the use of force. The spread of chaos on the high seas threatens not only the commerce on which a globalizing world depends. It is an ominous step toward international chaos. A multilateral naval/amphibious operation that denies pirates the bases they need to operate would give powerful sinews to the idea that an international community can protect its endangered interests. If such agreement cannot be reached, the interest of the United States in untrammeled access to the world’s seas requires that we act alone.
Two Wisconsin National Guardsmen filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Wisconsin Dells, its police chief and three officers because they were forced to lap up what was believed to be human urine from the ground last summer.
The guardsmen, both of whom have served two tours of duty in Iraq, were in the Dells for weekend training and were stopped by police officers Wayne W. Thomas and Collin H. Jacobson early the morning of June 1 and accused of having urinated in public, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Madison.
The officers pointed out a wet spot in an alley that they thought was urine, the lawsuit states, but the guardsmen, Sgt. Anthony R. Anderson, of West Bend, and Specialist Robert C. Schiman, of Kaukauna, denied having relieved themselves in the alley.
In order to prove that it was not their urine and avoid a citation, Thomas and Jacobson made Anderson and Schiman lick the ground and scrape mud up with their hands and lick it, according to the lawsuit.
Schiman also was made to eat a plant that was drenched in the liquid, the lawsuit states.
A third officer, Scott Albrecht, arrived at the scene and was told by Jacobson, "I can’t stop laughing. Wayne just made those two guys lick their own piss off the ground," according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges infliction of emotional distress on the soldiers; negligent hiring, training and supervision of Thomas and Jacobson; false imprisonment and violation of the Constitutional and civil rights of Anderson and Schiman.
It seeks $600,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for each of the guardsmen, along with other unspecified damages and costs.
Their attorney, Jason Baltz of Whitefish Bay, declined to comment on the lawsuit and said he had instructed his clients not to comment as well.
Wisconsin Dells Police Chief Bret Anderson, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, also declined to comment. He referred questions to City Attorney James Gerlach.
The lawsuit states that Thomas, 19, was fired the same day as the incident and Jacobson, 20, was suspended for two weeks without pay. Both were limited term police officers.
Albrecht was cited by the department for failing to follow procedures.
According to the lawsuit: After having forced Anderson and Schiman to lick the wet ground, Anderson was made to do it again after one of the officers said he didn’t see it. "That’s not good enough," the officer said. "Do you want a ticket?"
After the two were released from the scene without being cited, they told their story to Albrecht. As Albrecht stood by, Anderson and Schiman asked Thomas and Jacobson for the name of their commanding officer, but were threatened with burglary charges if they filed a complaint. The police officers told the soldiers that nobody would believe them.
After the two soldiers filed complaints that night, Sgt. Perry Mayer, the commander on duty, interviewed the three police officers and looked at the scene of the incident. He later issued a report recommending action against the three officers.
Based on Jones’ coverage of the recent murder of illegal alien Ecuadorian Marcelo Lucero, he could easily qualify were he not an earlier honoree.
If I didn’t know better, I’d bet that Jones’ stories, as well as the entire Newsday treatment of the Lucero incident highlighted by its character assassination of Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, could have been written and edited by La Raza’s Janet Murguia.
Jones, who filed from Ecuador, loves the Mass angle, mentioning it five times in his 800-word story intending to build sympathy for more illegal immigration. (Aside: Newsday still hasn’t recovered from its circulation scandal of two years ago. Advertising revenues remain soft. Company layoffs and buyouts have been ongoing since 2004. Yet, it foots the bill to send a reporter to Ecuador?)
To re-emphasize his point that the Lucero family is religious, Jones also included two references to the deceased’s wake. Religion is one of many common denominators in MainStream Media illegal immigration stories. The objective is to hammer home the message: illegals good; Americans bad!
In addition to the curious coincidence that such a high percentage of immigration stories involve deeply religious illegal aliens, there’s another statistical oddity: the high incidents of critical illnesses among the protagonists.
In the case of the Luceros, Marcelo’s father died of a heart attack and his mother survived a cancer scare.
I know that being cynical about their faith and skeptical about their health makes me appear insensitive, especially to readers less hardened than myself.
Having now read several thousand putrid stories, I’ve developed a tough stomach. And after a few years, I’ve been struck by the amazing quirk that such a large number of aliens are so religious and so sickly.
Somewhere out there must live an illegal alien who’s a heathen. And with all the free health care they receive, somebody should be in good physical condition.
Back to our “Worst Annual Immigration Reporting” award. Jones’ story caught my eye because since 2003 when we first introduced our contest, the stakes have gotten higher.
Five years ago, we had a two-fold objective:
To raise awareness among the general public on just how shoddy immigration coverage is.
"…A notably hard line against immigrants in his county, and has been lauded by cable hosts like Lou Dobbs as a folk hero. Suffolk County is a particularly good example of elected officials stoking the fires of anti-immigrant sentiment.
She added that:
“For two years we have urged politicians and members of the media to show some restraint in echoing the damaging rhetoric that demonizes our communities."
Lucero’s murder, Murguia said, is the latest “wake up call.”
In his defense, Levy made the perfectly logical observation that:
“It is reprehensible that anyone would suggest that the tens of millions of Americans who favor secure borders are necessarily intolerant or bigoted. Since when is enforcing the law seen as something negative and inflammatory?”
But that’s exactly where the argument is. If you speak out against immigration, even illegal immigration, the civil rights groups come after you and the MSM backs them up every inch of the way.
Think about that—self-appointed civil rights groups opposed to free speech!
Good Grief! At first I thought this was a joke and then I found the website that actually sells this cheesy trash. While there is The American Historical Society, I’ve never heard of The American HistoricSociety that has put its official worthless seal on the $19.95 invaluable plate.
With “change” and “hope” comes the inevitable emboldening of the long-suffering intellectuals. Their musings fell on deaf ears as they weren’t in any position of official influence, but now they are empowered and they are making their opinions known, as wrong as they are.
“Primary care specialist Dr Homer Drae Venters says the popular drama series should tone down the violence because viewers have “become accustomed to the idea of torture”. Suffocating, electrocuting or drugging a suspect are all in a day’s work for Bauer, played by Emmy Award winning actor Kiefer Sutherland.
“But in an article for medical Journal The Lancet, Dr Venters claims the show’s hero Jack Bauer ‘makes torture popular’ and warns that people are increasingly viewing such methods of interrogation as ‘acceptable’.”
Dr. Venters is basing his conclusion on a television show, thus a grain of salt is in order, however recent events warrant a bit if intellectual sparring.
I wonder if Dr. Venters is in any way aware of what goes on behind the scenes to keep him safe from terror attack? Now while “24” is just a television program with talented writers, actors, and crew that have the show’s “cult” following coming back for more every season (which is the point of any television program), the issue of torture is a reoccurring theme and also has real-world parallels.
Looking at the ongoing events in Mumbai, given the dozens of innocent people killed and hundreds injured, would Dr. Venters agree that an opportunity to extract prior notice of the plot from someone involved may have been valuable? If that capture party simply said he (or she) didn’t know anything, should that be accepted on face value and the authorities just sit back and watch the carnage play itself out for days?
Of course it doesn’t justify actions, but do you think the terrorists still holding an entire city hostage today would show Dr. Venters one iota the humanity he argues Jack Bauer denies those in his captivity? Does Dr. Venters understand that those “people” who flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon gave a damn about the humane treatment of those onboard and in the buildings?
There are realities of the world that are sometimes accurately reflected in entertainment.
“They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue."â€¨— Malone (Sean Connery), “The Untouchables”
In the world of the fictitious Counter Terrorism Unit, and I wouldn’t doubt in real world circumstances, a choice need be made. Do you allow a prisoner (that may have detailed knowledge of a terror plot) withhold that information and watch dozens, if not, hundreds or thousands of people die because the human rights of one should not be infringed upon?
I’ll never know, but there may be at least one person who had to make the choice of either being burned alive or jump to their death who may have asked why the government didn’t see this happen.
While making the next horrific decision, the last thing on their mind would be the assurance that someone with advanced knowledge of the terror attack was spared the humiliation and temporary pain.
The anti-torture argument will be a fine discussion to be had once the plague of terrorism is cleansed from the world. Using a television program to make an anti-terror argument is opportunistic.
Avoiding the real world justification for torture is convenient and somewhat cowardly.