November 10th, 2004

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

Election reform still needed

Related to quandry's post on the "stolen election meme", I saw this today on Watching Justice:

Congressional Democrats Ask GAO to Probe Election Problems

I just want the process to have stability and tangibility. I want verifiable paper receipts for every single electronic vote, bar-coded so we can go to a secure web site and look to see that our vote was counted. We have the technology, as the saying goes.

Heck, if it takes every voter hanging on to that receipt (on special paper so it can't be easily counterfeited), and having us all stand in big groups with someone calling us out and saying "how did you vote?" then I'm for that, if that's what it takes for the numbers to be right.

It's not that I want a big brouhaha like Florida last time; I don't. But I feel very uncomfortable with the current integrity of our election process; it bothers me on a deep level. I definitely want to see swing states like Ohio and Florida get their voting system together.

We are supposedly the champions of democracy in the world, and yet, it seems that we can't even get it verifiably right on our home front.

Addendum: Salon is blocked from my workplace, so I haven't yet had the chance to read the article she linked. Will peruse when I get home.

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

The right to die

I found the following through Terrance's post on it at The Republic of T:

White House Wants Suicide Law Blocked
-- Source attributed in article: Associated Press

Essentially, the Bush administration wants to meddle with Oregon's Death With Dignity law.

Hearing about the government insinuating itself into private decisions between an individual and his or her doctor just makes my blood boil. It is simply none of their business, and it is not appropriate for the government to practice medicine in that way.

Autonomy. Privacy. Respect for the rights of individual choice and consciousness. I am absolutely appalled at the decline in America's appreciation for these essential values.

Wikipedia offers this definition of natural rights, espoused by philosopher John Locke and referenced by Thomas Jefferson in no less esteemed a document than the U.S. Constitution:

If a right is inalienable, that means it cannot be bestowed, granted, limited, bartered away, or sold away (e.g., one cannot sell oneself into slavery). The issue of which rights are inalienable and which are not (or whether any rights are inalienable rather than granted or bestowed) is an ancient and ongoing controversy. Rights may also be non-derogable (not limited in times of National Emergency)- these include the right to life, the right to be prosecuted only according to the laws that are in existence at the time of the offence, the right to be free from slavery, and the right to be free from torture.

The right to be free from torture is the very last line I've excerpted, and with good reason. In my opinion, Ashcroft v. Oregon better have a bloody compelling argument as to how they can justify condemning innocent people to being imprisoned in their own bodies. Cancer, Alzheimer's, the final stages of AIDS -- I can think of any number of illnesses and disabilities that cause suffering and pain on par with that exacted by torture. How on earth does it benefit the administration, these supposedly "compassionate conservatives," to have these people sticking around a little while longer? They're not getting any better, and they're using up money for health care that they would rather leave as an inheritance for their descendants.

Seems like Bush and Co. only trot out the "states' rights" argument when it's something they happen to agree with. Maybe Dubya and his brother Governor Jeb got together and decided that targeting Terri Schiavo wasn't good enough; they had to go after the whole state of Oregon as well.

Maybe the Bush administration needs a new slogan: "Torture. It's not just for Abu Ghraib anymore."