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21 April 2009

Some Recent North Dakota History

by: Konagod

Janne Myrdal, State Director of Confused Concerned Women for America of North Dakota, mounted an intense and successful effort in the ND state legislature last month against a bill which would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Check out this piece of rubbish.
At the core of this agenda is an effort to remove from our society all traditional notions of sexual morality and replace them with a post-modern concept of sexual relativism. That is to say, when it comes to sex, there is no right or wrong, all sexual preferences are “equal.” This then establishes a society, by law, wherein natural distinctions between male and female are dissolved.

Yes, that is correct, there is no right or wrong. There is only normal for each of us. And they are NOT, repeat: NOT, sexual PREFERENCES anymore than YOURS are. It is an orientation, and driven pretty hard by forces of nature I might add.

Yesterday I wrote an email to North Dakota State Representative David Drovdal, Republican, who represents district 39 in North Dakota where my spouse is from. Representative Drovdal, writing in a piece for the McKenzie County Farmer, spewed rubbish in his April 8th column, "District 39 Legislative Report."
Opponents of [SB2278] are concerned mainly about men being able to use women's bathrooms because they consider themselves gay.

Here's what I wrote the Rep. Drovdal...and I would like to apologize ahead of time to my transgendered friends who might take issue with my scantily-clad gloss-over as to the origins of gender identity issues. I'll confess I was distraught and in a hurry.

Representative Drovdal,

My partner, Sheldon Linseth, a native of McKenzie County, and I, just read your column in the April 8 issue of the McKenzie County Farmer and would like to point out a few facts regarding sexual orientation which might have been useful to other members of the state legislature as opposed to the packet of misinformation presented by the Confused Concerned Women of America.

Gay people have no interest in using public restrooms designated for the opposite sex. I’m a 49-year-old gay male and I’m quite content to use only men’s facilities. I have, however, known and seen a number of heterosexual woman using a men’s restroom for the sake of expediency in a crowded bar or club for instance.

Transgendered people (referred to as “gender confused” if I recall, by the CWA “fact sheet,” would prefer to use restrooms designated for the gender with which they identify. And this is not confusion. I know a number of transgendered individuals and they have no confusion about their gender whatsoever. The presence of a vagina or penis does not solely dictate ones gender or gender identity. There are hormonal issues which have been present since birth or earlier which contribute to this identity. It is nothing to be mocked or ridiculed. However, a bit of understanding as opposed to a knee-jerk opposition would go a long way. It’s a shame more lawmakers won’t take the time to understand an issue.

Opponents such as CWA love to drag out the sexual preference vs. sexual orientation argument and falsely claim that all gay people can be “corrected” and that being gay is not normal. On the contrary, it is normal or there wouldn’t be so many of us. I did not choose to be gay anymore than you chose to be straight. The idea of having a “normal” sexual relationship with a woman provokes the same reaction from me that a straight man might feel at the thought of having sex with another man. What’s natural for me isn’t natural for someone else and vice-versa. The point is, the definition of “natural” cannot be claimed by one side or the other. And it’s a shame the ones who try to legislate morality always use THEIR definition.

There are undoubtedly many bisexuals and I suspect those who stand as examples of such “correction” might merely have narrowed their bisexual playing field.

I wanted to take this time to give you some brief insight into these complex issues and hope that you and others in the future might be armed with more relevant and truthful data than what might be presented to you by opposition groups such as CWA.

By the way, Sheldon and I have been in a relationship for almost 19 years, completely unrecognized by the state in which we reside or by the US Government. That must, and will eventually, be corrected.

I have yet to hear back from The Republican Dude. You can also contact him at this email address:


Address: 2802 131st Avenue NW, Arnegard, ND 58835-9127
Telephone: 701-586-3761

Play nice, but set him straight (no pun intended) about what's right and what must happen, not only in North Dakota, but the nation.

Seeking Accountability: Starting With Impeaching Bybee

by: Foiled Goil

Monday, April 20, 2009:

In 'Torturer's Manifesto,' NYT Op-Ed Calls for Investigations - and Bybee Impeachment

The New York Times called today for investigation and prosecution of John Yoo and Stephen Bradbury, and impeachment of federal judge Jay Bybee:
We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules. [snip]

That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

John Amato wrote about it yesterday and called for the impeaching of Bybee.
Will you join me please and Sign the petition? With the revelations that Jay Bybee was in the middle of trying to legalize torture for the Bush administration, particularly with the evidence that he penned the disgusting torture memo in 2002, I fully support all efforts to have this man impeached. The OLC is supposed to give sound legal opinions to the executive branch, not bend the law to fit their sick world view which makes this all the more egregious.

Salon's Joan Walsh has a thoughtful followup here.

From the Joan Walsh article:

Impeach Jay Bybee, and ignore Rahm Emanuel
Emanuel can't be the last word on that; he's the politics guy, and sure, there are political risks to pursuing the architects of our torture policy. But the political risks that come with ignoring what happened are so much greater. [snip]

I'm concerned about the relative silence from the Obama administration and Congress about what comes next. There clearly needs to be a torture investigation; personally, I'd prefer that it be led by an independent prosecutor at this point. I think there is more than enough proof that laws were broken, and we need accountability. But I'd support starting with a strong Congressional probe if there's more political will for that right now.

I believe that every step we take to learn more will only strengthen the case that someone must be held accountable for the lawless cruelty that marked the Bush-Cheney torture regime. We can start by impeaching Jay Bybee, but it can't end there.

Sen. Whitehouse on Jay Bybee: 'It is certainly possible that an impeachment inquiry is warranted.' With YouTube video and partial transcript.
Tonight on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow interviewed Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Judiciary Committee, about his views on whether Jay Bybee should be impeached:

Rachel Maddow: Torture accountability? Stay tuned! [ 8:00 ]
April 20: Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., explains to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the Justice Department is actively investigating the details of the torture of U.S. detainees. Among other reports, the Senate Judiciary Commitee awaits the results of the Office of Professional Responsibility inquiry which Senator Whitehouse says he has "every reason to believe this will be a devastating opinion."

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress To Hold Impeachment Hearings Against Judge Jay Bybee
Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) renewed his call for full investigations into Bush's torture policies today: "It is simply obvious that, if there is no accountability when wrongdoing is exposed, future violations will not be deterred."

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), a Judiciary subcommittee chair, said she is " not comfortable with the fact that [Bybee] will be on the federal bench for a lifetime appointment."

The rules.

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about that revolution...

by: astraea

you won't find it out there, on the street, blowing things up or holding signs.

What beats my heart?

This wisdom that knows how to beat a heart:

it beats all hearts.

It's here right now — birthing in every breath

Let peace beginwith me

Only the change in the attitude of the individual is the beginning of the change
in the psychology of the nation. ~CGJUNG (CW7,4, trans, mod.)

It Is Still About Accountability, Mr. President.

by: Foiled Goil

It is still about accountability, Mr. President.

It is also about enforcing the rules of law, both domestic and international. And the law says that those who commit crimes are to be punished.

Justice must be served. We cannot move forward without justice for the wrongs of the past, so that just punishment for those wrongs serves as a warning in the future.

Justice must be served.

International Committee of the Red Cross: International Humanitarian Law - Treaties & Documents

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950.
Principle I
Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II
The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V
Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle VI
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
   (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

   (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connexion with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Human Rights Web:

A Summary of United Nations Agreements on Human Rights
Convention Against Torture

This convention bans torture under all circumstances and establishes the UN Committee against Torture. In particular, it defines torture, requires states to take effective legal and other measures to prevent torture, declares that no state of emergency, other external threats, nor orders from a superior officer or authority may be invoked to justify torture. It forbids countries to return a refugee to his country if there is reason to believe he/she will be tortured, and requires host countries to consider the human rights record of the person's native country in making this decision.

The CAT requires states to make torture illegal and provide appropriate punishment for those who commit torture. It requires states to assert jurisdiction when torture is committed within their jurisdiction, either investigate and prosecute themselves, or upon proper request extradite suspects to face trial before another competent court. It also requires states to cooperate with any civil proceedings against accused torturers.

United Nations / Human Rights - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
Article 1

No statutory limitation shall apply to the following crimes, irrespective of the date of their commission:

(a) War crimes as they are defined in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Nurnberg, of 8 August 1945 and confirmed by resolutions 3 (1) of 13 February 1946 and 95 (I) of 11 December 1946 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, particularly the "grave breaches" enumerated in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the protection of war victims;

(b) Crimes against humanity whether committed in time of war or in time of peace as they are defined in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Nurnberg, of 8 August 1945 and confirmed by resolutions 3 (I) of 13 February 1946 and 95 (I) of 11 December 1946 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, eviction by armed attack or occupation and inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid, and the crime of genocide as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, even if such acts do not constitute a violation of the domestic law of the country in which they were committed.

The War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C., makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment:

Laws : Cases and Codes

U.S. Code : Title 18 : Section 2340A. Torture
(a) Offense. - Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction. - There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if -

   (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or

   (2) the alleged offender is present in the United States,irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

(c) Conspiracy. - A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy

U.S. Code : Title 18 : Section 2441. War crimes
(a) Offense. - Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

(b) Circumstances. - The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).

(c) Definition. - As used in this section the term "war crime" means any conduct -

   (1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;

   (2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;

   (3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or

   (4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.

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