mark’s admittedly contradictory post on freedom

I just received this note from the People for the American Way and thought that it was worth passing on.

Tell your senators and representative that the US must make clear to the world that we will treat detainees humanely and that we will not sign away our civil liberties!

Members of the House and Senate will meet next week to resolve their differences on two bills with important ramifications for civil liberties.

1. The first is the FY 2006 Defense Department Appropriations bill, to which the Senate has added an amendment offered by Senator McCain that provides clear, unambiguous interrogation standards to guide our military personnel in their treatment of detainees in an effort to end abuses like those that occurred at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. President Bush’s allies in the House are determined to remove it from the bill before it comes up to a final vote.

2. The second is the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act . Representatives from the House are expected to insist on the removal of even the modest steps taken by the Senate towards correcting the imbalance between protecting national security and preserving civil liberties in its version of the PATRIOT Act reauthorization. Though far from perfect, the Senate version of the PATRIOT Act sunsets two provisions expanding surveillance powers six years earlier than the House’s version, and requires increased judicial oversight of law enforcement search authority.

Urge your senators and representative to push for final versions of these bills that retain these important provisions! Tell them that the US must make clear to the world that we will treat detainees humanely and that we will not sign away our civil liberties!

And, I don’t know why I think it fits with this post, but I just heard that the head of CBS is considering putting the man behind shows like “Pimp My Ride”, “Jackass,” and “The Osbournes” in charge of the CBS News division. (I don’t imagine that there’s a way to say, “Goodbye, Dan Rather” more emphatically.)

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of civil rights and such, I thought it was worth mentioning that the Dutch are considering an all out ban on burqas worn in public, which, you might be curious to know, doesn’t bother me that much. I don’t like the idea of the government telling people what they can and can’t wear, but I find the idea of burqas offensive and contrary to the spirit of equality on which liberal democracies thrive. I understand that’s a bit of a Catch-22, saying “We’re so free here that you can’t wear that,” but that’s how I see it right now. I would also like to think that the police would step in to stop a man from beating a woman in public even if she waved them away, saying that she deserved it for having the audacity to teach herself to read, or some such thing. You might be able to convince me otherwise on burqas in public (as a big part of me knows that what I just said is wrong) but that’s what I’m thinking right now… I’m prepared for hate mail from both sides, so, as our Commander In Chief says, “Bring it on.”

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  1. Hillary
    Posted October 15, 2005 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s from living in Hamtramck, but I have to say I’m more bothered by a ban on Islamic dress than Niqaabis. If people aren’t able to wear their traditional dress, they won’t feel as comfortable in Dutch society, slowing their integration rather than speeding it along. Some women may stop leaving the house or sending their daughters to school. The majority of Muslim women who wear hijab do it not because of men, but out of respect for their God. I think it does them a disservice to judge them or their values based on their clothing choices.

  2. Ken
    Posted October 15, 2005 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I think the Netherlands are the picture of contradiction. For as much as their society is supposed to be liberal and open they have some weird ways of showing it. During the media coverage of the disappearance of the girl from Alabama down in Aruba, you heard so much about the Dutch legal system which is allowed to arrest you with no charges for a couple of months. It seemed extreme to me.

    Recently I heard the Dutch have passed a law that would give every new birth in their country a number and they would be tracked via a database from the day of their birth to the day of their death. I believe this starts in 2007. Doesn’t sound very open to me.

    Okay, they can smoke pot legally. I guess they won’t care about the rest if they are high all the time.

  3. Posted October 15, 2005 at 9:19 am | Permalink


    Maybe if you stopped watching smutty shows like “America’s Next Top Model,” you’d begin to appreciate women’s fashions that leave something to the imagination.

  4. Posted October 15, 2005 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    …and when I think of the Dutch and “Freedom”, my mind immediately wanders over to that little business involving capturing Africans and selling them to America for slave labor.

  5. mark
    Posted October 15, 2005 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Like I said, I know I’m wrong about the burqa thing. It’s just my gut feeling that they can’t coexist with a healthy democracy… not that ours is a healthy democracy, but you know what I mean.

  6. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 16, 2005 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I think members of Congress should be required to wear burqas. This will give our representatives a more dignified appearance, and make burqas less popular in other cultures.

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