Trading Places

Does anyone else find it sadly ironic that the United States has to apologize to Germany about the way we treat prisoners?


  1. 1

    DugoutNut spews:


    I totally agree with you. Of all the countrys to complain about prisoner treatment….. How soon we all forget the atrocities Germany committed during WWII.


  2. 3


    Great Moments In German-USA relations:

    “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!'”

    -President John F. Kennedy, June 26, 1963

    “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

    -President Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987

    “Were I to confirm or deny, say yes or say no, then I would be compromising intelligence information, and I’m not going to do that,”

    -Secretary of State Condi Rice, December 6, 2005

  3. 6

    sgmmac spews:

    5. I don’t see an apology in there, I see an admission of one error about the CIA involving one man. Germany as a country can never atone for the holocaust. How can you apologize for the death of 6 million Jews, 1/2 million Gypsies, 1/4 million disabled, 3 million Soviet prisoners of war? Germany also killed many Jehovah’s Witness, homosexuals, social democrats, communist party workers, trade union workers and any other undesirable people that didn’t fit into their ideololgy while the rest of the world sat by and watched.

    Germany also has a guest worker program to bring in people to do the jobs they won’t do. When I lived in Germany, most of those workers were Turkish and they are not treated very well by the German people.

  4. 7

    jaybo spews:


    Why is it that the causes you trumpet here continue to be on the fringe?

    “Results of two recent polls by major public opinion organizations show that a substantial majority of Americans believes that such treatment is justified, that torture is still being carried out, and that soldiers, rather than official policy, are responsible.

    A poll by the Pew Research Center found that of the 2,006 people it surveyed from the general public, 46 percent believe that torturing terror suspects to gain important information is sometimes (31 percent) or often (15 percent) justified while 17 percent thought it is rarely justified and 32 percent were opposed.”

    And a survey of 1,010 Americans by Harris Interactive finds that by a 66 to 32 percent majority the American public believes that torture of prisoners by Americans has taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  5. 9

    jaybo spews:


    I think “jaybo” just proved that he is a part of a sizable percentage of the american people.

    So I guess my next question is, how do you define “freedom”. Defining terms as they are used is important in order to prevent the classic Orwellian “doublespeak” effect.

  6. 10

    Goldy spews:

    I do not support an official policy of torture; it is immoral and unproductive. If an operative in the field, under extraordinary circumstances feels that torture is necessary (in say, an a not very realistic “24” type scenario,) then that field operative may act on his or her judgment, and subject themselves to the legal consequences afterwards… in the unlikely event torture was justified, he can be pardoned for his act.

    That aside, when you condone torture, you are condoning the torture of innocent people. In our war on terror, the US has tortured or mistreated thousands of innocent prisoners.

  7. 11

    Nindid spews:

    Jaybo – My opposition to torture is not based on polls, but on simple morality and ethics. Perhaps that is a foreign concept to you, but it is completely non-negotiable for me.

    There is no acceptable torture and there are no exceptions that should be in law. Bush and Cheney are acting in a completely immoral fashion here and are eroding the US’s position in the world and handing our enemies yet another line for their recruitment efforts.

    If morality, religious values and principles are not your thing, we could go over all the negative effects of torture in practice. Real life is not an episode of 24….

  8. 12

    LeftTurn spews:

    Here’s the problem with torture and it’s extremely obvious why MonkeyFace Bush and his chickenhawk pals don’t see it; If we torture, it gives THE BAD GUYS license to torture. McCain sees that because he went through it. Draft dodgers like Bush and WHAT A DICK CHENEY didn’t go to war so they don’t have a clue. It’s the one part of this argument that hasn’t been covered much if at all and needs to. The best reason not to torture (other than it doesn’t produce reliable intel and it brings us down to the level of the terrorists) is that it will protect our men and women in uniform. But you wouldn’t expect a bunch of cowardly, freedom-hating asswipe Republicans to understand that would you?

    And by the way, if Pew research had done a poll 1000 years ago, 99% of people polled would have said the Earth is flat; wouldn’t have changed the fact that it’s round.

  9. 14

    Nindid spews:

    Dug @2 Not only has Germany apologized, they have paid substantial reparations to Israel and to all the victims of persecution and torture for the past 50 years.

    This does not exonerate anyone who committed crimes against humanity at any time, but at least it is a start.

    Heck, it is a hell of a lot better than Bush’s ‘Ooops, we made a “mistake” in kidnapping that innocent German off the streets and having him tortured for months.’

    But hey, what is a little torture between friends right?

  10. 15

    Harry Poon spews:

    Jaybo: “Doublethink” is also an important Orwellian concept — one that you seem to have mastered quite well. I don’t know how you could read that book and not see yourself and your neo-con movement described by Orwell to a tee. You’re no Winston Smith, Jaybo…

  11. 16

    Rational Liberal spews:


    I’m sold, brother. Pour me some Kool-Aid. I shall partake and become a Bush-worshipping, preemptive-strikin’, librul hatin’, NEO CONSERVATIVE.

    Report me to the RNC and you can win your Ipod dude!

  12. 17

    jaybo spews:

    Funny that even Goldy admits that there may be times that justify the use of certain tactics (coorcive interrogation) in order to save innocent lives.

    By the way, the whole “torture” debate is a red herring because there are no confirmed cases of torture that have had the blessing of the US government.

    I do not include the defined tactics of coorcive interrogation by the way as torture.

  13. 18

    JCH spews:

    Hmm… Goldy, I must have missed your post on how the JDL “interviews” enemy terrorists who have killed Jewish women and children. You are such a fucking Democrat piece of shit hypocite. BTW, how many blacks attend your daughter’s school? [Right….That’s what I figured]. I trust Condi Rice. Democrats will commit treason to regain power. You are all “Tokyo Roses” and should be shot. JCH

  14. 19

    Nindid spews:

    Jaybo @17 Good to see that the Republican Party is now the moral equals of the Spanish Inquistion and Torquemada.

    Here is Torquemada’s description of ‘waterboarding’ which he thought was even worse than pulling out fingernails and such.

    “When the rack did not produce the desired result, the churchmen turned to the water torture. In this hideous remedy, the prisoner was tied to a ladder that was sloped downward, so that the head was lower than the feet. The head was held fast in position by a metal band, twigs were placed in the nostrils, and ropes winched tightly around his appendages. The mouth was forced open with a metal piece and a cloth placed over the mouth. Then a pitcher of water was brought, and water poured over the cloth. With each swallow, the cloth was drawn deeper into the throat, until in gagging and choking the victim nearly asphyxiated. The terror of suffocation was extreme, and the process was repeatedly endlessly, bloating the body grotesquely until the victim was ready to confess … From the inquisitor’s standpoint — for he was there to record every detail — the treatment was easy to administer and left no telltale signs.” From Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors, James Reston

    Now compare the US’s description of a legitimate torture – I mean coercive interrogation – technique.

    “The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.” From the CIA guidebook

    Now granted, in the Republican version of torture, the victim does not actually suck water into his/her stomach, but that is not a great moral distinction now is it?


    How about those conservative and Republican values?

  15. 20

    Commander Ogg spews:

    jaybo @ 7

    Need I remind you in the the long history of this schizophrenic land of the free, the vast majority of Americans once favored slavery, segregation, or more recently (historically speaking) the deportation of enemy aliens (read Japanese) to relocation camps.

    But you do raise a point. Why is it that our enemies can murder and torture our soldiers, kill our civilians, and do whatever the hell they want, and yet if we try and defend ourselves, we Americans still have to play by the Marques of Queensberry rules? The reason for this is very simple. And I would not trade this reason for all the oil in the Middle East.

    We are the Good Guys.

  16. 21

    klake spews:

    That aside, when you condone torture, you are condoning the torture of innocent people. In our war on terror, the US has tortured or mistreated thousands of innocent prisoners.

    Comment by Goldy— 12/12/05 @ 7:59 am

    By who’s Standards do you make this statement? From the military point of view, you will be tried and served out your punishment in accordance to the USMCJ for any violation. Your view of torture and mistreatment of prisoners are quite different from what is being presented by the military. Every year all soldiers review the policies and procedures on when and how you treat military prisoners of war. The question that also table is what you do with non-uniformed prisoners who present a threat to the public and your own troops. What I am referring to is a terrorist who are not a member of any country or military. If they are lucky they get apprehend with out any incident and turned over to those who are qualified to take care of them. The mission of the day is to hit them hard and fast giving them no time to surrender, for dead men cannot fight another day. The point is you cannot torture or mistreat dead terrorist. Now Goldy what war are you referring to American Civil War, World War I or II, Korean War, Viet Nam, or Desert Storm? Put that aside no one is allowed to mistreat or torture anyone by US military personnel, or you suffer the consequences of your poor judgment.

  17. 22

    Nindid spews:

    Klake @20 But it is precisely because the rules have been blurred by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld that causes the problem. Abu Ghraib – and the public did not get to see the REALLY bad pictures – was not the result of some bored Army personal, but was imported there by the Bush administration from Guantanamo as an effort to “get tough” on Iraqis during the upswing of the insurgency.

    But it also goes beyond what some GI may or may not do during a hot engagement. The CIA and other groups who are kidnapping men and women from foreign countries and either torturing them themselves or handing them off to a third party to have them tortured. That is what Bush and the Republicans are doing right now and that goes far beyond the USMCJ.

    Are we a country who needs to have a debate over whether torture is a good idea or not? How long will we remain the ‘good guys’ in the wake of Bush trying to split hairs like some slick lawyer over what the definition of torture is?

    It is wrong, end of story.

  18. 23

    Apache Fog spews:

    Terror is a tactic. You can’t make war against a tactic. It makes about as much sense as making war against night attacks or torture. It’s just a way to put our money into weapons systems to make the rich richer and maintain this small ruling oligarchy that we don’t need unless there is perpetual war.

  19. 24

    jaybo spews:

    nindud, commander ogg,

    As I have already posted, the american people have a more common sense view of the use of tactics to save innocent lives.

    Fortunately for america, we are still governed by the majority. It is always easy to “feign righteousness” in the comfort of your home. It is harder and often a person’s true beliefs come out when faced with a clear and present danger.

    I suspect most of you pharisees would change your minds in a hurry if faced with a nuclear attack.

  20. 25


    I find it odd that GOPers bend over backwards trying to justify torture while, at the same time, make the Iraq War a struggle human rights. You can’t fight for the dignity of man while debasing him. My above comment shows how the debate has changed from JFK to Reagan to Condi.

  21. 26

    momus spews:


    Re: ““All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’”

    -President John F. Kennedy, June 26, 1963″

    As an fyi…. The statement is openly laughed at throughout Germeny and is by no means a “great” moment is US German Relations. It is in fact one of the great foot and mouth moment of JFK.

    Your great moment is translated as “today I am a byproduct of Berlin” or as my german professor used to laugh “Today I am a Sausage”.

  22. 27

    momus spews:

    BTW Goldy,

    As a Jew, I am amazed that you would even take this direction.

    How in the fuck can you compare slaughtering 6 million Jews with humiuliating naked prisoners by making them form a human pyramid?

    Shame on you. You are a traitor to your own race.

  23. 28

    Nindid spews:

    Jaybo @23 “The end justifies the means” is the logic of dictators, petty tyrants, and yes – terrorists.

    We as Americans are better than that. If Republicans want to be the party of torture, I am more than happy to go to the polls next year with that one around the Republicans neck.

    Maybe you are right… maybe torture is the more popular choice. But it is wrong, and that is enough for me. I just don’t adjust my morality to polls.

    Now where did all those moralists on the ‘Christian’Right get off to anyway?

  24. 29

    Nindid spews:

    Momus @26 – Goldy can defend himself – but read his post again – think this time and stow the race traitor bit, it is pathetic.

  25. 32

    Commander Ogg spews:

    jaybo @ 23

    I am a retiree with 20 years in combat service support. I was fortunate enough to miss 2 wars (including the present one) and 5 “police actions”, however, I did 2 tours of Korea and one in Germany before the wall fell. The comfort of my home was something I have only recently experienced these last 2 1/2 years.

    Torture does not work, as any competent Intel man (or women) will tell you, at least when it comes to interrogating prisoners for RELIABLE information (not that accurate info has been a priority for this administration). The last thing you want is to give the prisoner a pain point to focus on or set up an anger/stubbornness position. The professional interrogator uses patience, disorientation, and reward/positive feedback to break down a prisoners will and get them to start talking. This is from the Army Field Manuel fm34-52:

    Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. However, the use of force is not to be confused with psychological ploys, verbal trickery, or other nonviolent and noncoercive ruses used by the interrogator in questioning hesitant or uncooperative sources.

  26. 34

    momus spews:

    Whatever is takes for you to get through the day.

    I’m sure you get that response alot.

    Glad that you can justify the suffering of 6 million Jews to prove your political viewpoint.

  27. 36

    momus spews:

    Another TJ,

    It seems you are the idiot.

    He said “ich bin ein Berliner” (literally “I am a Berliner”) apparently intending to mean “I’m one of you”, expressing solidarity with the people of west berlin in a trying period of time. However, “ein Berliner” is what you call a particular kind of pastry, so people often joke that Kennedy said “I am a jelly doughnut”.

    The Germans understoof the message, but Kennedy still looked like a bafoon.

  28. 37

    Another TJ spews:


    Read what people who know what they are talking about say about Kennedy’s statement. The Germans understood the message because he was precisely correct.

  29. 38

    Nindid spews:

    Momus@ 35 – Try reading the links… since you can’t be bothered let me throw out this paragraph for you.

    “It’s true that the word “Berliner” in German means a particular kind of jelly-filled pastry as well as a citizen of Berlin. But look at it this way: If I were to tell a group of Americans that my editor is a New Yorker, would any of them really think I’ve confused him with a well-known weekly magazine?”

    And now back to Republicans trying to justify torture….

  30. 39

    momus spews:

    Another TJ,

    You are a fucking moron, BTW, don’t you work for a government agency of some sort? Good to see our tax dollars hard at work.

    Nindid, read your own words

    “It’s true that the word “Berliner” in German means a particular kind of jelly-filled pastry as well as a citizen of Berlin.”

  31. 40

    Marilyn spews:

    Jaybo@various: Torture is not a technique, or a tactic. It is a perversion. Torture is a perversion. It is a personal indulgence of the torturer, an indulgence of unfathomable baseness, souless, completely bereft of any shred of what makes us human. Don’t make excuses for it. People who are willing to torture are indulging themselves in ways that separate them from common humanity, and those who validate it from a position of leadership, claiming it is a legitimate technique, aren’t far behind.

    Torture is a perversion, there is no justification for it ever, and I am absolutely appalled that it is not prohibited outright and forcefullly by our leadership. Encouraging torture, validating toruture, as this US administration has done defiles our country as nothing else ever has, or ever could.

  32. 41

    Another TJ spews:


    Please, read what experts say about Kennedy’s statement. You will find that you have been misinformed.

    As for your concern about my employment, I appreciate your interest, but you seem to have me confused with someone else.

  33. 42

    Daddy Love spews:

    Ah, numbers, numbers, numbers. jaybo’s number COULD be used to inodcate that only 46 percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, while 49% think it is only rately or never justified. Not that this study goes into what people consider “torture” or “justification” to be.

    But the aact remains that we are signatories and ratifiers of a number of treaties and conventions that expressly prohobit the methods we are using, which makes anyone from our soldiers to the top of the administration criminally liable for breaking the “law of the land” (see US Constitution 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.”). And that’s the bottom line.

  34. 43

    sgmmac spews:

    Not ONE of those treaties or signatories apply to Terrorist prisoners…….. They do apply to military armed forces.

  35. 44

    DugoutNut spews:


    I too am a Jew. I agree with you that it would not be fair to compare the the Holocaust to a little slap and smack in a dark cell in the middle of the night.

    But you fucking moron, that was/is not the comparison that was made by Goldy. So, pull you head out and I will explain it in a way that even you might understand.

    The point is this: How can the German government have the balls to even ASK for an apology for the torture of prisoners of war after the firestorm of hell that their leaders brought upon the millions (not a small number, Momus)of prisoners during WWII. Torture, “scientific” experimentation, gas chambers, starvation, rape, degradation and God only knows what else simply out of hatred. This, Momus, is the POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK.

    That was the point, Momus, you ignorant moron.


    The difference between genius and stupiditiy, is that genius has it limits. Momus, you prove this rule, and not in a positive way.

  36. 45

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    1) On the defense of “majority rules” I remember the words of my history prof, Mr. Friedel all those years ago. He said “A lynch mob is democracy at its finest. The only one dissenting is the guy at the end of the rope,” Make of it what you will.

    2) When you read that a majority of people support torture under some circumstances, you have to be aware of how the question is framed. If you ask “Do you believe in freedom of speech as set out in the Constitution?” you will get an overwhelming number of people saying yes. If you ask “Do you believe that publishing lacivious prongoaphy and bomb making recipies on the Internet is OK?” you will get a majority negative response. Ergo, a majority of the population does not believe the First Ammendment is OK.

    As has been mentioned before, the problem with confessions extracted under duress, other than being wrong, Unamerican, making us look bad, etc. is that when faced with pain, people will say anything to make the pain stop. Is it good information, bad, completely made up? Who knows?

    This is not an issue of whether these are nice people, or whether they “deserve” decent or bad treatment. (most of them are probably not very nice, and I don’t think anyone “deserves” anything). The question is, does it produce good results, now, or later on. The answer from anyone with military experience is “hell no!”

  37. 46

    jaybo spews:

    I find it a little humorous that you moonbats want to create an issue where none exists.

    I think The Secretary of State has already made it abundantly clear where the USA stands on the issue of torture.

    What’s wrong anyway?

    Have you run the last lie (Bush lied to get us into Iraq) into the ground and need another one?

    How about this one, The radical left wing of the Democratic Party wants us to surrender today to the terrorists.

  38. 47

    christmasghost spews:

    goldy………”In our war on terror, the US has tortured or mistreated thousands of innocent prisoners.”
    where do you come up with this crap anyway?
    you make these incredibly stupid statements with no evidence to back you up and then if you are called on it enough…you’ll just say you were kidding or being satirical.
    oh…uh huh.
    your last comment that you “were jewish enough for the gas chambers” is typical of your over the top rhetoric…and victim-hood.and it was offensive as hell.
    get a grip……….

  39. 48

    christmasghost spews:

    oh …off topic…but REALLY REALLY GOOD NEWS ANYWAY…..tookie williams will be getting a gift from the great state of california at one minute after midnight tonight!!!
    i guess 13 isn’t such a lucky nimber for this bastard after all……….

  40. 49

    Goldy spews:

    jch @18

    BTW, how many blacks attend your daughter’s school?

    Normally, I don’t encourage replying to worthless sacks of shit like you, but if it will get you to stop asking this question, I’ll answer.

    We live in South Seattle, where my daughter attends one of the most ethnically diverse public schools in the city. I don’t know the actual percentages, but it’s a fairly even mix of black, asian and white students… everybody is a minority. But “black, white, asian” doesn’t do it justice… it’s African American, Somalian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Mexian, Native American, Irish, Jewish, and many other ethnicities and nationalities… plus quite a few children of “mixed race” (for want of a better word.)

    So now you can shut the fuck up on this subject.

  41. 50

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    ghost @ 48:

    Yes. Excellent news. Once again, we are reminded that the United States is in the same grouping as such charming places as the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Vietnam, and other bastions of human rights and democracy that kills criminals. A good day indeed.

    I feel much safer knowing that a man who would in any event be behind bars for the rest of his life is now going to be dead, dead, dead. I know that because we kill people, it’s a great deterrent, and nobody ever murders anyone. Just like nothing bad ever happens in China or Singapore. Nope. Just nuttin but nice, well-behaved people as far as the eye can see.

  42. 51

    JCH spews:

    jch @18

    BTW, how many blacks attend your daughter?s school?

    Normally, I don’t encourage replying to worthless sacks of shit like you, but if it will get you to stop asking this question, I’ll answer.

    We live in South Seattle, where my daughter attends one of the most ethnically diverse public schools in the city. I don’t know the actual percentages, but it’s a fairly even mix of black, asian and white students… everybody is a minority. But “black, white, asian” doesn’t do it justice… it’s African American, Somalian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Mexian, Native American, Irish, Jewish, and many other ethnicities and nationalities… plus quite a few children of “mixed race” (for want of a better word.)

    So now you can shut the fuck up on this subject.

    Comment by Goldy — 12/12/05 @ 1:22 pm
    [Goldy, not good enough!! You need to support the “Progressives Diversity Programs” by busing your daughter to “minority majority” urban public school. BTW, it was YOU that brought up your daughter and her education. Like the Clintons who are “big believers” in public school [and send THEIR daughter to private Sidwell Friends], I’m sure there is more to this story than you “progressive” POS will admit. JCH

  43. 52

    JCH spews:

    BTW, Goldensteinburg, I didn’t catch your military service? Is it more like Clinton’s, or ,say, Bob Dole’s??? [hehe……I’m sure I already know the answer, “girlie boy”.

  44. 53

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    Since ghost likes killing people a lot, I’ll throw out some numbers to play with. Because I like quantifying things.

    Singapore (to use an example), has the world’s highest execution rate per capita. They have one of the world’s highest incarceration rates as well. Singapore is nice. It is quite safe. The crime rates are low, but not nonexistent. It’s boring as piss (imagine Bellevue with more skyscrapers and way better food), but you can have a legitimate debate and say “well, we’re giving up some civil liberties, but are rewarded with a stable and safe society,” I’m not moving to Singapore tomorrow, but that’s a legitimate trade.

    The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, bar none.

    (source, International Centre for Prison Studies)

    We have one of the highest per capita rates for use of the death penalty, but admittedly China, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and several other countries are yards ahead of us.

    (Source: Should find a second source. I don’t like Wikipedia much).

    We are rewarded for our hardnosed attitude on criminal justice with high violent crime rates and rates for other crimes that are more or less at the median for the OECD countries.

    (Source: A HREF=””>United Nations
    Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute)

    So, let’s review. Ultra-tough punishments, high prison population, lots of executions, mediocre results. What part of this are you proud of again ghost?

  45. 54

    christmasghost spews:

    jsa… usual your comments don’t disappoint. you compare apples and oranges in a snide way and then go “ah hah”.
    would you answer a couple of things for me?
    why pay for a murderer to eat for the rest of his life? especially when he is still running criminal activities from prison?
    wouldn’t you rather have that money go to some family that needs it?
    the united states is hardly in the same league as your home country of china…now is it? although i imagine [with your political bent] you would love to have that whole “we’ll make you have an abortion” thing going on here, right? after all…you know best.
    tookie williams is not only a piece of trash…he’s a racist piece of trash.
    now…i think my home state is much too nice about it.
    if i were running things…people would die the way they killed. there are alot of prisoners with “anger management” issues that would be happy to take care of things if only we would stop protecting the murderers better than we do the victims.
    pedophiles for instance……..we segregate them to protect them as the other prisoners would do to them what they did to kids. [and the problem with that would be??????]
    in my world tookie would get just what he deserves….a four shotgun salute aimed really really low.

  46. 56

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    ghost @ 51,

    I have no opinion about Tookie per se. I do have a fairly strong opinion about the death penalty and how it is applied.

    Apples and oranges? Most democracies do not execute people. There’s Japan, Taiwan, and us. The rest are generally totalitarian states of one sort of another. I see nothing wrong with saying that the US is in poor company. This does not mean that the US justice system is as bad as China’s or Singapore’s. Unlike you, I have first-hand experience with these places and know better.

    I have a bunch of nice statistics that will get out of the filter when Goldy stops having a life and gets to approving my posts.

    The core of the stats is this: We have a very hard-nosed system of punishment in the United States, but we are not being rewarded with a particularly low crime rate in exchange. If we had a situation like Singapore where you trade civil liberties for safety. Well, I think it’s not a good trade, but there’s a valid argument to be made. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Period. We have one of the highest execution rates. We do not have a particularly low crime rate.

    When faced with this, you have to ask: Is this policy working well? Is it just that Americans are worse, more badly behaved, more ill-mannered, and more prone to commit crimes than French, Canadians, Swedes, etc.?

    The “saving money” argument for the death penalty doesn’t work very well on close inspection. The entire legal process for killing someone is quite expensive. Very few death row defendants pay for their own defense, prosecutorial resources cost money, judges do not work for free (merely cheaply!), etc.

    I appreciate your need for blood and vengeance. When I feel this way, I watch hockey. You should try it. It’s fun, and much less damaging to the public discourse than your rather disturbing desire to see someone you don’t know die.

  47. 57

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    btw ghost, I missed something in your rant.

    I am not from China. I am not from Taiwan. I am a fifth-generation (very Caucasian) Washingtonian. I get to travel and see the world, and learn about what goes on outside our borders rather than watching TV. Try it sometime. It’s good for you.

  48. 58

    klake spews:

    I appreciate your need for blood and vengeance. When I feel this way, I watch hockey. You should try it. It’s fun, and much less damaging to the public discourse than your rather disturbing desire to see someone you don’t know die.

    Comment by jsa on beacon hill— 12/12/05 @ 4:07 pm

    jsa is nice to see a well-educated person willing to express yourself. I for one was around when the death sentence was used every weekend to put real nasty folks to death. Saturday night at midnight, someone flip the switch to the electric chair and terminating one or two fools whom though they were above the law. All over the State, the lights would blink once or twice, depending on how many were being executed. After the flash the TV, or radio would announce the names of the terminated and for what crimes they committed. The next morning everyone would talk about what happen at the State Penitentiary the night before and how they would not consider committing the same crime. I believe they call that a deterrent, not vengeance. For the many or few victims it brought a closer to the event and allowed them to heal. I still do not see that as vengeance, but a normal process to let go of that dark event. “(Webster’s) vengeance the return of an injury for an injury, as in retribution; revenge – with great force or fury.” Most of the crimes committed that requires a death sentence are of such a nature that the victim could not return the injury or receive any retribution. Today the process used to dispose of the criminal is painless and not violent in anyway and more compassion than they showed their victims. The last country I visited that used public executions was Kuwait and it did not show any side effects to those who watch, but could help deter future events.

  49. 59

    christmasghost spews:

    klake…i couldn’t have said it better.
    jsa…you are really missing the point here…
    it’s not vengeance …it’s justice. and the only reason it costs so much to enact the penalty is because of all the appeals [the victims didn’t get any] all the lawyers [the victims didn’t get any] and the ACLU types[once again…not for victims].
    it’s the PC police that are screwing up society.
    haven’t you ever wondered just why we have so many more pedophiles now than we did 50 years ago? come on…you seem intelligent. think! and it’s not because of population…there’s the hint.
    “I have no opinion about Tookie per se. ”
    oh, of course you don’t sweetie….because he’s black and you are ignorant of the facts in the case and suffering from a really bad case of PC-itis.
    he founded the crips AND he is a murderer….he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of young black men.
    sometimes i think it is people like you that are more of a societal burden than the “tookies” of the world.after all…tookie is an idiot. but you can pass yourself off as fairly well read…….
    and comparing americans to any other country IS apples and oranges. name one country that is even remotely like america.
    and before you get on the “i’ve traveled all over” bus. i have LIVED all over the world. and i am a survivor of a violent crime. so don’t be so sure you have any idea of what you are talking about here……….

  50. 60

    yo spews:

    This just posted over on Fox news Tookie Williams has changed his mailing address to Seattle, King county elections office thus insuring his vote in the 2008 election.

  51. 61

    yo spews:

    I worked in Kuwait for three years and the public executions took place right after the noon prayer.

  52. 62

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    No Christmas dear, no on all counts.

    First, I am about the least PC person you can imagine. Go ahead and assume I am. You are deluding yourself. I get to live with, work with, drink with, and cuss with real live people of all different colors every day. It’s one of those fringe benefits of living in South Seattle. They’re people, OK? Some are nice, some are assholes, like everyone else.

    You say justice, I say vengance. It is one and the same. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life. Didn’t the New Testament tell you to knock that shit off?

    I do not want anyone to be above the law. I want them tried, convicted, and if they are beyond redemption (and yes some people are just plain bad), I want them to rot in jail, while working as long as their health will permit.

    The appeals process is due to now former chief justice William Brennan and what he felt was an appropriate bar for death penalty cases. Not the ACLU or the Liberal Media Conspiracy, or any of your other favorite bogeymen. The courts have had 30 years to review Brennan’s decision and lower the bar. They have thus far declined to do so.

    I have no opinion about Tookie because I don’t own a television set and so have not been bombarded with triva about him for the last month.

    I became aware of him as his case came up for appeal. He did some incredibly bad things 30 years ago. He has said he is really, really, really sorry, and has yes, made some efforts over the last several years to be very contrite as an old man. That is pretty much the sum total of information that I have. That is not enough for me to convict him or exonerate him.

    You seem to be evading the core of my argument.

    If executing everyone in sight brought the crime rate down, it would be worthy of having an argument about. Goldy is not releasing my links, so you’re going to have to take my word for it until he does so. It is just not doing a terribly good job of accomplishing that. I’m glad that when you see someone fry, you get to think bad thoughts about the criminals that hurt you.

    I am not interested in promoting christmas’s catharsis. I am interested in that balance between civil rights, low crime rates, and minimum cost to the state.

    More personal responsibility would help a lot, but no politician is interested in delivering that. For one thing, it’s damn hard to legislate. For another, it would take 30 years for the effects of a grand transformation in the social fabric to take place. Show me an elected official that has a horizon more than two election cycles and I’ll make a very contrite public apology. I can do this because I doubt you can.

    I fail to see what makes the United States unique. It is a democracy. Lots of places are these days. It has rich and poor, educated and not. Folks who are worldly, and absolute hicks. So do many other places. It has a boatload of immigrants, but so does Canada, the UK, and even parts of Continental Europe. (and yes, all these countries treat their immigrants differently). If you think this place is so different, tell me why. I’m all ears.

    You weren’t a military brat were you Christmas? It’s a pretty good process for getting a lot of pretty colors in your passport and seeing so very little of the world at the same time.

  53. 63

    Mike spews:

    If you think thats ironic. Try publicly appologizing to them while in private the German government not only knew about the rendition cases. They actively participated in interrogating many of them.
    We may be tactless at times – but at least we own up to it.

    On an aside – If you’re able to read German try stomaching the larger German print media these days. Can we say “lost the plot.”? For added fun read the German versions then their english translation editions. Paying extra attention to the differences in the way details are explained between the two. Speaking both languages I can say without doubt that the differences can not be blamed on things lost to translation. You’d think these people would have learned their lesson about this crap 60 plus years ago.. but noooo.