Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, Mr. Vice President, and you know it. When are you going to stop lying to the American people to get them to support your war?
Apparently, the press didn't take CEO seriously, but that delusion ended today. This morning, CEO ran a large ad in USA Today declaring that the amendment marks Oklahoma as "Going Out Of Business." Some excerpts from the associated Web page:
A Region's Tolerance For Gay People Impacts Is Success in Attracting Creative People, Creative Companies, and Creative Jobs. The studies don't say that gay people and bohemians literally cause regions to grow. Rather, the presence of a thriving and accepted gay and bohemian community indicates an underlying culture that's open-minded, diverse, and conducive to creativity. Many heterosexual people seek out cities with lots of gay people when hunting for a place to live and work. A thriving, accepted gay community signals an exciting place where people can fit in and be themselves. Likewise, many sought-after companies - the creativity companies with high-salaried and professional positions - seek regions and states that attract creative people, since they must have a pool of employees from which to hire.
A Comparison between Dallas and Oklahoma City proves the point:
- Dallas has a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gay people, and the mayor and members of the city council are honored to be part of the Annual Gay Pride Parade. Dallas has a thriving, large gay population that is welcomed and made to feel at home. Dallas is a creative economic powerhouse, attracting creative companies and building a synergy around corporate start-ups and highly-paid people.
- Oklahoma City, on the other hand, has no ordinances or laws protecting gay people from discrimination. The mayor and city council litigate against gay citizens' placement of Gay Pride banners on light poles. For the mayor and city council to agree to appear in the Gay Pride Parade, is, unfortunately, presently unthinkable. Oklahoma and Oklahoma City have done everything possible to denigrate its gay citizens and say, "You're not Welcome Here." They are also losing population, seats in the House of Representatives, and companies moving out of state. Further, many creative companies won't consider locating in Oklahoma because of its unwelcoming, hostile culture.
It was the lead story on the Channel 9 news at 6PM, but predictably, the Daily Oklahoman has no story up about an ad in a competing newspaper. (Channel 9 shares a Web site with the Oklahoman. Its sister station, Tulsa's Channel 6, does not, and therefore has its own story posted.) It was near the top of other newscasts, too. CEO spokespeople were in front of the Bricktown Ballpark, saying, "If we do not create an environment of tolerance and diversity we can build all the baseball stadium we want and those businesses are not going to come."
CEO plans to spend $1 million to educate people about what this kind of bigotry and hatred says to the world. 78% of Fortune 500 companies have domestic partner benefits, policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation, or both. The right wing in Oklahoma somehow believes that prohibiting the state, its counties, its cities, and even its school boards from exhibiting the same tolerance towards gay people makes the companies that value such tolerance more likely to work here. It's tragically stupid.
Channel 9 talked to one of the GOP backers of the amendment, and he called the advertisement "blackmail" and "offensive." He thinks it's fine for him and his cronies to call gay people "repugnant to the state," but people who disagree are "offensive." That alone is reason for any smart company not to locate in Oklahoma: this guy is a state leader, presumably among the best of the logical thinking the state has to offer, and he clearly believes that disagreeing with him is an "offense."
There are people of conscience who will not let hateful trogolodytes drag this progressive state further into the dark ages of hate and intolerance. As Atrios would say, reward good behavior!
This has also prompted me to create an "Oklahoma" department for blog postings, and I'm going to change some of the older postings to the new department. There are RSS feeds for each department, if you prefer to read only some of the items.
Update: The Oklahoman did eventually post a story, but unsurprisingly, gave the first several paragraphs to critics of the ad before bothering to quote any CEO spokespeople. Next time Bush proposes a tax cut, see if the first several paragraphs are from Democrats saying why it's a bad idea before letting the guy who actually made the next have his say.
Harsh, but right. It was abundantly obvious from the very first appearance of the pictures proving abuse in American-run prisons that the administration's goal was to pin this on the rank-and-file soldiers who carried it out. Unless those people can somehow show they were ordered to do this, and even then, they have their own responsibility for these actions - but it's also completely obvious the stench rises much higher.
Rank-and-file soldiers did not conceive of these interrogation techniques. They did not place mercernary contractors who could not be prosecuted in charge of the prisons. They did not place military intelligence in charge of the prisons. They did not take snapshots as "souvenirs" because they were proud of their actions.
The humiliation and abuse of prisoners in the "war on terra" has been policy since the get-go. There was no other reason to set up prisons like Guantanemo that were, by design, outside of both international and US legal jurisdiction. The abuses have been systemic, according to the International Red Cross, and even the Wall Street Journal is publishing the report.
The Red Cross report says its delegates saw how detainees at Abu Ghraib were kept "completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and in total darkness." It said it found evidence supporting prisoners' allegations of other forms of abuse during arrest, initial detention and interrogation.
Among the evidence were burns, bruises and other injuries consistent with the abuse that prisoners alleged, it said.
The report cites abuses ? some "tantamount to torture" ? including brutality, hooding, humiliation and threats of "imminent execution."
"These methods of physical and psychological coercion were used by the military intelligence in a systematic way to gain confessions and extract information and other forms of cooperation from persons who had been arrested in connection with suspected security offenses or deemed to have an 'intelligence value."'
The agency said arrests allegedly tended to follow a pattern.
"Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property," the report said.
"Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people," it said. "Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles."
Pierre Kraehenbuehl, ICRC director of operations, said the report had been given to U.S. officials in February, but it only summarized what the agency had been telling U.S. officials in detail between March and November 2003 "either in direct face-to-face conversations or in written interventions."
Kraehenbuehl said the abuse of prisoners represents more than isolated acts, and that the problems were not limited to Abu Ghraib.
"We were dealing here with a broad pattern, not individual acts. There was a pattern and a system," he said, declining to give further details.
This was the plan all along. The neocons running this "war" believe that the "enemy" considers Americans to be subhuman, and that the only way to respond to that is to treat them as doubly subhuman. Colin Powell and Richard Armitage questioned prisoner treatment over the past year, but were drowned out by members of "the highest levels of the Administration" with "around the table, coarse, vulgar, frat-boy bully remarks about what these tough guys would do if they ever got their hands on prisoners."
You remember the bit about how our troops were supposed to be greated with rose petals strewn in front of them? To the chickenhawk crowd that started the war in Iraq, any Iraqi who didn't throw the rose petals was a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer.
This is what America gets because its GOP-led Congress refused to exercise any kind of meaningful oversight of the White House and executive branch.
This is what America gets for thinking of prisons, both here and abroad, as places where people go to be punished, not as places where people are held as punishment.
And you know what else? Over the next few weeks and months, you're going to hear a lot from the right about how unimportant this is, and the undercurrent is always going to be that the victims of this abuse essentially deserved it for not being our complete allies in the "war on terra." Whether it's Limbaugh's "It's just a frat prank" or Inhofe's "We didn't torture them as badly as Saddam did" moral relativism, the theme is the same: they got what they deserved for not being like us.
See if I'm right.
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