Friday, December 24, 2010

McCain misses chance to go out on a high note

There were tears in my eyes listening to President Obama so eloquently announcing the end to Don't Ask Don't Tell just like there were when I listened to President Kennedy's civil rights speech on June 11, 1963, the first time an American President took on the previously taboo subject of racial discrimination, and just like there were when the 1964 and 1965 civil rights acts were signed as a direct legacy of that speech.

Sadly, the only moisture in Senator John McCain's eyes was the residue of sour grapes he ingested over passage of legislation ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. McCain took to the Senate floor and growled that "there will be high fives all over the liberal bastions of America...talking about how great it is".

What Senator McCain doesn't understand, for all his 56 years in governmental service in both the military and the Congress, is that the high fives are emanating from most members of the human race who inexorably seek to improve the human condition through respect for our common humanity, without regard to utterly inconsequential differences.

But wait. the 76 year McCain still has a fresh six year term to serve. Maybe he should consider introducing legislation to end the abomination known as The Defense of Marriage Act (1996), a law more aptly named The Defense of Discrimination toward Gay Americans Act. He could name it The Senator McCain Freedom of Marriage Act designed to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states.

Senator McCain, you still have an opportunity to go out on a high note afterall.

Originally published in the Chicago Sun Times, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Uncle Sam must stop torturing Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused, but not convicted, or even tried, for downloading hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to Wilileaks. Before accusing me of hyperbole for accusing the US military of torturing Pvt. Manning, ask yourself how you would categorize similar treatment by authorities simply for being arrested for an alleged crime.

For the past seven months, Pvt. Manning has had endure the following:

23 hours a day in his cell with no ability to exercise enforced by survaillance
No sheets or pillow even though Manning has been a model detainee with no risk of suicide or violence
No news from the outside world
Administered regular doses of anti depressants to prevent a mental breakdown

Many western and non western nations prohibit prolonged and extreme isolation as torture except in cases of uncontrollable violent tendencies.

Senator John McCain, who experienced prolonged solitary confinement by the North Vietnamese, said it is an awful thing which crushes your spirit. Over a hundred other naval aviators similarly imprisoned by North Vietnam, termed it as torturous and agonizing as the physical abuse they suffered.

Reasons imagined for Manning's despicable treatment by the Shinning City on the Hill include: squeezing him to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as a co-conspirator, letting other would-be leakers see what is in store for them if they emulate Manning, and even simple, sadistic punishment before the scales of justice have been properly weighed.

Regardless of the reason, it must cease; and every decent, freedom loving American should form an massive chorus of protest to ensure it does.