Waterboarding is inhumane torture
The last time I checked, the Declaration of Independence (1776) still said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Waterboarding, controlled drowning of the helpless victim, constitutes brutal and inhumane torture and takes away “inalienable rights” in a most shameful, uncivilized manner.
No official representative of we, the people, should tolerate, much less advocate, torture for whatever reason (and spare me the elusive threat of terrorism!).
It is ghastly to think the next attorney general might waffle in this regard and not fully uphold the basic principles of our Declaration of Independence.
However, to hear key Senate Democrats voice support for such a person is even more horrendous and repugnant.
The longer this bizarre war against those “terrorists” continues, the more we seem to resemble our own enemies.
Albrecht Classen, Ph.D.
professor, German Studies
University of Arizona
Musharraf using same tactics Bush does
The crisis in Pakistan illustrates how low our country’s moral authority has fallen and how much erosion has taken place in our democracy.
Musharraf used Bush’s own language and undemocratic policies to rationalize his recent autocratic moves.
He arrested the head of the Supreme Court and numerous other judges to, in his words, “end judicial activism.”
Rationalizing his crackdown on freedoms and suspension of Pakistan’s Constitution, he cited America’s reaction to 9/11, using this administration’s assault on our rights to justify his actions.
Bush’s reaction was to tell Musharraf he should hold elections and not take the oath of office in his military uniform.
In Bush’s mind, it’s all about dress up. If Musharraf pretends not to be a dictator, fine. If he pretends to hold fair elections with his new court of cronies in place, that’s fine, too.
And when Musharraf tortures opponents en masse, we will sit idly by and continue to send him billions in foreign aid.
Bush cannot be quite so blatant. He can’t arrest, but he has fired independent judicial officials. He has issued signing statements to nullify laws.
To further his autocratic ends, he has operated the most secretive administration in our history and spied on Americans without lawful warrants. He sees himself above the law and the Constitution.
Rather than democratizing the world, Bush has reduced our country to a shadow of its democratic self.
U.S. actions similar to those of terrorists
It is truly confounding how humans can rationalize their actions as opposed to those of others.
We condemn those who strap explosives to their bodies, drive explosives-laden vehicles to their own and others’ deaths or maim or kill with IEDs.
We label them terrorists, the epitome of evil.
Yet governments that drop bunker-busting and cluster bombs from planes, launch guided missiles from distant ships, destroy homes with tanks and bulldozers, bringing death and destruction to entire nations of people, cannot and do not acknowledge they are guilty of state-sponsored terrorism.
Or do the lives and fears of the “other” mean nothing to us?
Marietta D. Luce
Santa Cruz County selling our homes?
All Santa Cruz County property owners should check the status of their property taxes at the Treasury Department.
I lost my annual tax receipt and went in to get my balance and pay with a personal check.
I was notified that I owed taxes dating back seven years, and that my debt of $621.41 had been sold to “an investor” because the property was delinquent.
All this time, I was never notified.
If I hadn’t lost my receipt and gone in to pay my taxes, then by the time I’m elderly in about 40 years, even if I continued to pay my taxes, I would owe this secret “investor” about $234,964 and likely wouldn’t have the strength to wage a legal battle for my house.
For only $621.41 owed in taxes, my house became the property of an “investor.”
Is someone in the county department selling properties to “investors” without notifying the property owners?
Such practices may be normal in Third World countries, but they should not be allowed in the U.S.
County Treasurer Cesar Ramirez assured me he doesn’t have the responsibility to notify me or ask for my consent to sell the debt to an “investor.”
County residents, check the status of your property taxes and make sure your payments have been credited correctly.
Carlos De La Torre
Toy recall solution: Buy books for kids
Maybe I’m an old guy, but with all the problems with dangerous, poisonous toys made in China, may I make a suggestion for the upcoming holiday season? How about giving books instead of toys?
Millions of books are in bookstores and even thrift stores. And books will help children in the future as well. Even coloring books or comic books will be appreciated by children.
But then, I’m an old guy.