Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

Depends on What the Meaning of the Word “Torture” Is

“As I’ve said before, the United States does not torture,” said President Bush in 2006.  “It’s against our laws and it’s against our values.”

The AP brings us the latest episode of the other half of the story:

“We tortured Qahtani,” Crawford said, making her the first senior Bush administration official to say that aggressive interrogation techniques had crossed the line.

“His treatment met the legal definition of torture, and that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution, she said.

Al-Qahtani in October 2006 recanted a confession he said he made after he was tortured and humiliated at Guantanamo.

The alleged torture, which he detailed in a written statement, included being beaten, restrained for long periods in uncomfortable positions, threatened with dogs, exposed to loud music and freezing temperatures and stripped nude in front of female personnel.

As the aftermath of Gitmo begins, Andrew Sullivan provides one workable definition of the word “torture:”

The definition of torture is when the victim has no effective choice but to say something, true or false, to end the ordeal. You can bring a victim to that point of surrender of his or her soul and will in many different ways.

In the meantime, some people partially responsible for 9/11 may never be prosecuted because of the irresponsible, illegal and immoral acts of the soon-to-be previous administration.

Today’s Blog Post…

…is brought to you by the letter “E”

“E” for education, that is.  While education isn’t one of my hot-topic items, two interesting articles arrived in my inbox around the same time this morning.  First of all, Garry Reed identifies a key problem:

Last September the state of Maine gave their kiddos a lasting lesson. They tossed out the test results of a writing exam because 78 percent of the nearly 15,000 eighth-graders who took it blew it.

The state educrats decided that the test was flawed. They couldn’t blame the kids for being little know-nothings since that might permanently damage the darling’s tender little psyches and completely obliterate their self-esteem. And they obviously couldn’t blame the state’s public teaching corps since the teachers union could get the state’s professional public education administrative corps kicked out of their jobs.

So the problem had to be the test itself. And when the test is bad, you toss the results.

Jim Lesczynski discusses one solution over at the Daily News: homeschooling.  Specifically, he dispels some common misperceptions about home-educated children:

I am always surprised when people ask me whether home-schooling is legal. Yes, I tell them, home-based education is permitted in all 50 states (although the degree of regulation varies greatly).

The most prevalent misconception is that home-schooled children lack socialization and are inadequately prepared for “the real world.” Not only is this untrue, but I contend that home-schoolers receive a far richer and more varied socialization than other students. This is especially true in a city like New York, with its museums, theater and multicultural population serving as the best training ground for healthy social behavior. And thanks to home-schooling support networks, home-schoolers participate in their own sports leagues, clubs and theatrical troupes.

The socialization myth is followed in popularity by the notion that all home-schoolers are religious fanatics. I do not know if that is true in other parts of the country – although I doubt it – but it is certainly not the case in New York City. My children are friends with other home-schoolers who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and atheist. Their parents have myriad reasons for home-schooling – some have kids who are medically fragile, some want to build close bonds with their children, and others are libertarians who philosophically oppose government education. None of them has indicated to me that they don’t want their children to learn about evolution.

If home-schooled children routinely perform better than government-educated children, why do parents of home-schooled children have to pay for both the education of their kids and the education of the kids who go to government schools, too?

Fanning Freedom’s Flames

Thanks to Brad and the rest of the folks here for affording me the honor of writing at a website which I’ve read nearly daily for years. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some contributions to what I consider a really good blog.

As I am frequently involved in a wide range of political activities, my hope is to be able to provide a bit of inside scoop about the people, events, legislation, organizations, etc. with which I’m involved.  In the meantime, I’ll try to provide my two cents about current events and how they relate to the freedom movement.

My political philosophy:  I’m as opposed to bailouts of the automobile industry today as I would have been to a bailout of the buggy and carriage industry some 110 years ago.  I’m a military veteran opposed to any form of involuntary national service.  I’m a sports fan opposed to government-funded sports stadiums and arenas , or any federal meddling with the NCAA Bowl Championship Series.  I enjoy a fine cigar and feel restaurant owners should have the right to determine smoking practices within their own business premises.   Of course, I’d feel the same way even if I didn’t enjoy cigars.

The law should apply equally to all, but we would certainly benefit if we eliminated a significant portion of current laws from the books.

In other words, I don’t want the government in my wallet, my bedroom…   …or my holster.

While I write at several other websites about other topics, my goal is to help fan the flames of freedom at The Liberty Papers.  I hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as I probably will.

You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

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