Jesurgislac’s Journal

November 9, 2008

My Obama Wish List: 4

What’s next?

4. Investigate the 84 Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys who were not sacked

At least nine U.S. Attorneys were sacked because they did not comply with the Bush administration’s orders to be partisan and to make use of their powers to support their party and the Bush administration.

The U.S. Attorneys who were appointed by George W. Bush and who were not sacked must be investigated to clear them of the presumption that they escaped sacking because they were willing to use their powers as partisan tools of the Bush administration.

Especially given the Bush administration’s willingness to use the U.S. Attorneys to electioneer by falsely incriminating Democratic candidates and shielding Republican candidates for office.

Okay, break’s over!

November 8, 2008

My Obama Wish List: 3

What’s next?

3. Repeal DOMA.

The Defense of Marriage Act (PDF) is a piece of bigoted nonsense that Bill Clinton should have vetoed. (Though to be fair, if he had vetoed it, you can bet the Republicans would have brought it back after 20th January 2001.)

Once DOMA is repealed, same-sex couples who are legally married must receive all federal recognition and benefits. The states which have passed legislation or constitutional amendments declaring that they don’t have to give full faith and credit to marriages or civil unions they don’t like, will have to deal direct with Article 4 of the US Constitution, which says rather definitely (and is backed by case law) that they do.

Okay, break’s over!

November 7, 2008

My Obama Wish List: 2

What’s next?

2. Electoral reform.

I said this list wasn’t in order of importance, and it’s not, really: but just as closing Guantanamo Bay and the other gulags would be a fantastic first action of the Obama administration, this is the one thing out of the whole list of 70 (even though I don’t yet know what all the list of 70 are going to be…) that is absolutely essential.

Obama won by a narrow margin because he had a huge margin of victory. That margin was whittled away by the various Republican election-rigging methods – the simplest of which come down to: don’t count the vote, and make sure the electronic voting machines leave no paper trail.

The US needs an electoral system in which:

1. Everyone eligible to vote – all citizens over the age of 17 – is registered to vote;
2. Everyone who is registered to vote, can cast a vote in any election taking place in the area in which they are registered
3. Every vote cast is counted if the intent of the voter is clear.

That’s just the basic minimum for a democracy. That none of those things on that very short list is true of the US, is disgraceful.

Barack Obama is in a uniquely beneficial position to call for electoral reform, and to benefit from it at the next election. It’s something that has to be done, that is the right thing to do, and that will ensure, if Obama is as capable as he’s proved himself to be all his life, that he should win a second term – rather than be edged out of office by another Republican candidate with the election rigged in his favour, as happened in 2000 and 2004.

Okay, break’s over!

November 6, 2008

My Obama Wish List: 1

Okay. President Barack Obama is going to disappoint me. This much is sure. There is a hell of a lot to do just to clear up the mess Bush left, in the US and around the world. Every day from now until Obama’s inauguration, I’m posting one of a list of seventy things (I’ll take Christmas and New Year off) I’d really, really like President Obama to do before 2012. If you disagree with my list, like my list, are inspired by my list, start your own! Tag it with My Obama Wish List. Anyone can do this – and the list can be anything. But I think I’m being really pretty damn restrained in limiting myself to 70. The list is in no particular order of importance, though I have to admit the first one would be both a great symbolic good and a great practical good.

What’s next?

1. Close down Guantanamo Bay.

Also, all the other gulags in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else the US is holding extra-judicial prisoners.

Prisoners against whom the US has no evidence except that obtained under torture should be released to their country of citizenship, or to the United States, or any other country where they want to go/are welcome (their choice) with appropriate apologies and significant compensation. Prisoners willing to give recorded testimony about the circumstances of their capture and their treatment in prison should be encouraged to do so, though of course their willingness or otherwise should not affect their compensation. Prisoners who may have no option but to settle in the United States should be given permanent leave to remain, the right to work/study and to have their families come to be with them, and to apply for citizenship if they so wish. For example: Chinese Uighurs who were kidnapped from Afghanistan seven years ago, and have been held for four years after a court first ordered their release, because the Bush administration felt letting them go would be politially embarrassing. The prisoners who have already been released should also receive apologies and compensation for their treatment, and an invitation to present formal testimony: for example, Moazzam Begg.

Prisoners being held because the US has actual evidence, not based on confessions obtained by torture, that they are guilty of some wrong-doing (and merely taking up arms against US invasion does not constitute “wrong-doing”) shall be moved to a regular and humane prison, provided with a lawyer, treated like any prisoner on remand awaiting trial, and awarded a prompt court date and a fair trial: the years they spent as an extra-judicial prisoner to count double against any sentence handed down by the court. If the US is not capable of providing any one of those, hand them over to an allied nation that can.

Okay, break’s over!

October 25, 2008

The basics: why I am an atheist

Because there is no god.

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October 6, 2008

The basics: why it’s necessary to support equal marriage

The issue of equal marriage is sometimes referred to as “same-sex marriage”, “gay marriage”, “homosexual marriage”, the right to marry, the freedom to marry, or even, if you’re quite mad, the anti-marriage or support marriage issue, because this issue has been framed by its most ardent opponents in terms of destroying marriage between mixed sex couples.

There have been times and places throughout history, all over the world, where it was lawful for two men or two women to marry: but in general, in the past, in countries and at times where marriage gives a different set of rights to a husband and to a wife, same-sex couples could only marry when one partner took on one gender role and one took on the other: two men could marry if one man were to be “the wife”, and two women if one woman were to be “the husband”.

In the 20th century, beginning in Western Europe and North America, the question of whether same-sex couples should have the same freedom to marry as mixed-sex couples, would arise after legislation made the rights of husband and wife in civil marriage equal and the same. If there is no issue about which half of the couple shall legally be “husband” and which be “wife”, if both are legally equal, then there ceases to be any legal, civil, secular reason why same-sex couples should not marry.

Where there is no legal or civil impediment against a couple marrying, an individual or a group opposing the marriage of a couple who wish to wed had better have some solid justification on their side. No such solid justification exists: no opposition to same-sex marriage can be morally justified.
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July 30, 2008

The basics: why pro-choice is the only moral option

Pro-choice is often referred to as if it were synonymous with pro-abortion. It isn’t. Being pro-choice says nothing whatsoever about your own personal views on your own abortion, your best friend’s abortion, or a complete stranger’s abortion; being pro-choice means you believe that the pregnant woman ought to be the one to decide whether, and when, to terminate her pregnancy.

That’s because it’s thoroughly immoral to force a woman to use her body – at potential risk to her life, and likely risk to her health – to make a baby out of a fertilised egg, when she has decided she does not want to make use of her body in this way, and/or she does not want the baby.

If you want the complicated details, read on.

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