Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Message from Eli

Chris and I are so proud of daughter Eli, and here's a little part of why:

The US has the highest GDP in the world. So why is it dead last in the ranking for donors of official development assistance to developing states? We're talking last behind: Italy, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, the list goes on... 16 more slots till you hit #1, Norway, which gives .92%. Good on 'em. Most Americans absolutely believe we hand out 3-5 times as much aid as we do. In fact most Ameicans believe we are leading donors - we aren't, not even close. Check the accounting - oftentimes when officials claim they're increasing aid, it only makes up for a fraction of the aid they have previously cut (without publicising this). One shining example is Bush's Africa claims - he claims to have tripled aid to Africa. Yeah, after he cut it in half, and then pathetically failed, quietly, in the end. to actually deliver even half of what he promised to deliver. (See Sachs, "The Development Challenge" in Foreign Affairs March/April 2005, for further info on this).

In the worlds of Jayne, "half of nothing, is, lemme see, nothing into nothing, carry the nothing, is... nothing."! I find this despicable - and what is more, though we didn't know, I didn't know, they never let us know - I think it's time we did know, and time we stop letting it happen. It's morally wrong.

Why, despite promising first in the '70s and subsequently over and over again has the US failed to budge an inch toward meeting the UN target development assistance goals of 0.7% of GNI - hovering currently around 0.15% (In fact we've slipped backwards over the years)? Sachs has a bunch of diplomatic and logical fancy pants reasons why - but it boils down to this: we're a bunch of complacent greedy bastards, and we need to do better.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but our aid has resulted in less than 6 cents per African - 6 cents is diddly, we can do better. So I'm doing better, because I can.

For Yule, she's donating goats to Africa in our name. That's great with us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Your Arizona Proposition Cheat Sheet, 2006

Here's how I'm voting on the Arizona ballot propositions this year and why:

101Bailable OffencesNoBail is good
101Tax Limits NoUnnecessary; bad law
102Punitive DamagesNoUnjust
103Official EnglishNoUnnecessary; bigoted
104Bond UsageYesMakes sense
105Trust Lands INo106 is better
106Trust Lands IIYesBetter deal
107Gay MarriageNoUnnecessary; bigoted
200Voter LottoNoInsulting; stupid
201Smoking IYesBest of the two propositions
202Min WageYesGood policy
203Childrens ProgramsYeshowever, it's not real good law
204Farm AnimalNoButt out, PETA
205Vote by MailYesWorks in other states
206Smoking IINoProp 201 is better
207PropertyNoBad law; costly.
300Public Prog. Elig.NoBad law; costly
301MethNoBad law
302Leg. SalaryYesInexpensive

Your mileage may vary. No comments on this post, please.
Post your own if you like and GO VOTE.

Monday, October 02, 2006



Posted by Jim Macdonald at Making Light.

You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The Constitution states (Article VI):

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Here is article 3, the common article, to the Geneva Conventions, a duly ratified treaty made under the authority of the United States:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. “I was only following orders” is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No “clarification,” whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.

You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.

This post may be quoted in full. A linkback would be appreciated.