RIGHT OR RIGHTS

Life is full of change. Although not always accepted or called for change defines the society that we live in. However our society constantly tries to combat certain changes. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard graduated lawyer and philosopher, proposes a change that can help stop useless torture. He calls for the judicial system to evolve, restricting the use of torture to only necessary situations by the means of a warrant. However, this idea is not only his. Many have come to the conclusion that our country must adapt to the world we live, I believe this may be a way to address the idea of terrorism, and our mortality, with humanity. My personal view is against the use of torture, but I believe this is the direction the human race needs to follow. This is the option that can protect you and your family if shit hits the fan.

He shows why the government should stop turning a blind eye to the fact that torture is inevitable, and is happening whether we as a nation like it or not. So, we should legalize it and make it impossible for non-warranted torture to occur. We should address the fact that it occurs anyway, and regulate it.

This can be done through the use of the warrant. The warrants would be issued by a judge, who would need an extremely compelling argument as to why torture is necessary. They would act as a second-check to the reasoning of the interrogator. It would mean far less torture would be conducted. The only reasonable situation, in which the judge agrees for the warrant, is the Ticking Bomb Situation.

This is the case where torture could so many innocent lives. A well-defined situation that humanitarian action calls for torture. The Ticking Bomb Situation must have: involve a terrorist that has vital information that could save innocent live, with a large imminent threat to innocent lives, and the only possible way to obtain the information requires torture. It’s not hard to see that the humanitarian action is to protect innocent life. So, if non-lethal torture can save innocent lives, it is our duty to ourselves as human beings to protect life. Although human rights are sacred constructs, nothing is more precious than a human life. After all, cuts will soon scar over and heal, but you can’t wake up after you enter the eternal being of death. If this situation presents itself, what do you think should be done?

There is one who does not believe that torture should ever be used, his name is Alan Scarry. He believes that despite the fact that the infliction of pain could save innocent lives. He calls for an unwavering resistance against torture, an absolute unchanging, non-evolving stand. Except, he does theorize of a reason to torture. He talks about such a situation: it is vital to a robust population of lives to extract information, the torturer is so confident that the suspect contains the information, and is willing to risk his future liberties to extract such information. It seems like Scarry has a flaw in his system. In the absolute opposition of torture, there is no legal means to allow something that everybody knows should be part of the toolkit of any realistic government. That means that when torture goes on, it will not be documented, or regulated. Do you rather have rogue torture conducted on possibly innocent beings, over legalized and controlled interrogation? No, of course not. In this instance, it seems almost impossible to comprehend the why blanket the blanket anti-torture system is the humanitarian choice. We all know it isn’t.

This all boils down to the value of humanity. What is worth more, human rights or the right to life? It seems obvious to me that life is far more valuable, don’t you agree? Chanterelle Sung, a well-established humanitarian, also a more legal reason why The Constitution allows for torture to be conducted in a time of need. The amendments that would usually restrict the use of torture: the Fourteenth, Eighth, and the Fifth Amendment, allow for an exception in substantial cases. If you don’t believe me read about it. The situation requires the ‘Ticking Bomb Situation’ and a known terrorist is in custody. The summary is that the terrorist forfeits his humanity by committing heinous crimes, allowing for torture when there are no other options.

I feel that the best stance is to face the reality that torture happens. We need to no longer turn a blind eye to this fact. A blanket no-torture system can’t prevent the inevitable, so it must remain ignorant of the atrocities of torture. We as humans must find a way to hold those who need to torture accountable, while also making sure that torture is simply the only option, all other resources have been exhausted. The system that can do that involves warrants that regulate and legitimate the types of advanced interrogation already used worldwide. After all a true Democracy does what it needs to protect its people, however, it cannot keep torture ‘off the books’ as it is doing now. These sort of hidden actions can damage the integrity of the democracy. The most viable option, that can systematically protect human rights, is our system of torture warrants. So I insist you do the human thing, think of your safety, the safety of innocence, and work to pressure the legislature to evolve. So, in the future we can live in a world of legal means oppose to one of covering up the truth.

Staying High-ly Informed

I’m going to be blunt real quick. Cannabis does not have a great track record. It is called a gateway drug and some have gone as far as to call it “The Destroyer of Youth.” This poor public view came about the use of cannabis began in the early nineteen hundreds, due to cult flicks such as Reefer Madness, and has been imprinted on American society ever since. People say it is can cause brain cell loss over long-term use as well as loss of lung capacity. Even if these were true, it seems like the adverse effects are better for you than alcohol or nicotine, yet both of which are legal. Honestly, I’d rather live in a world of pot heads than a world of alcoholics

I have worked in the cannabis industry for the past three years in a cannabis bakery. I have seen the wonders marijuana can do in as a medicine. I have personally seen two different cases of cancer completely eradicated from the human body, but that isn’t the purpose of this article.  However, many people do not use cannabis for purely medical reasons. It is a very common and enjoyable recreational substance that has less potential of danger than alcohol, no hangover or stomach ache, and is less harmful than nicotine. So why isn’t it legal? Perhaps is from the social fear, rooted in generations of ignorance.

One of the major health concerns presented about the use of cannabis is the loss of brain capacity. Yet drugabuse.gov has analyzed lab studies about this adverse effect of THC on the brain. To conclude it bluntly, “those who began using marijuana heavily in adulthood did not lose IQ points.”  Heavy use is defined as daily usage. Where does this leave us, the average cannabis consumer? It only makes sense that if the extremes are at worst mildly affected then moderate use can expect even lesser adverse effects.

Now compare this to the legal substance of alcohol. Which is known to cause brain damage when used consistently. Yet there isn’t the same social stigma against alcohol as there is against marijuana. It has been proven that the “more a person drinks, the worse their control and judgment is even when sober.” This again just concretes the fact that alcohol is just plainly more dangerous than cannabis.

Another major health issue associated with marijuana is loss of lung capacity. The hard-baked fact is that all smoke contains vaporized carbon atoms that form carcinogens which are irritating to the lungs. Despite this the researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that occasional users have increased airflow and lung capacity. They also concluded that those who have smoked a joint a day for 7 years do not see any lung capacity loss. The twenty yearlong studies show that those who smoke heavily for the duration show only a 6% loss of lung capacity.

Compare this to tobacco smoke’s effects on lung capacity. UCSF researchers has found “a consistent loss of lung function with increased exposure.” Meaning that at any point cigarettes a bad for your health. If health related issues are the reason that marijuana isn’t legal, then the United States Government must reexamine what is already legal.

We are at the age when cannabis has become legal in certain states. These states: Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, have highly profited from the tax of marijuana sale. In fact Colorado itself sells 60 million dollars of marijuana in the months of October and September alone. This all done with a 28% sales tax. That means Colorado’s makes 17 million in just two months. In the first year alone Cannabis tax raised 50 million for the Colorado’s school and infrastructure. Now imagine what could be done on a nationwide scale.

Luckily for us, California is poised to legalize cannabis in 2016. A recent Tulchin Poll showed that nearly legalization. I guess I’ll just put it bluntly, when you next get the chance to vote for the legalization of cannabis, think of your children and their school system. Vote yes, and help your country expand economically while providing us all with a safe and legal way to experience what we call life.

The True Long Range War

When you first read the title perhaps you thought about the controversial drone strikes or the giving of aid to revolutionaries to overthrow an undemocratic government, but the true long range war is not fought with missiles and greedy weapons manufacturers but in the hearts of those the soldiers left behind to uphold their duty.The true testament of strength and love is found in the struggle of a long distance relationship.

The feeling cannot be summed up in any better fashion rather to say “time goes by slower when you miss the one you love” by an anonymous source. Imagine the situation. The person you love most in this world is sent to a dangerous place, a place you and them cannot be together. So you are forced to sit and wonder: are they alright, will our love last, and will they be the same when they come back? The answer is you can’t know, even with all technology has to offer: Skype, texting, Snapchat, phone calls and even good old fashioned letters. They all lack the same thing, the human aspect the sense you get when your in the same place as the other person, when you can hear their voice, see their face as it really is,with all of its unique intricacies, and to feel the warmth of their body pressed against yours once more.

The lust to see them again is all that runs in your mind. Food loses its taste. Colors become less bright and appealing. You just find your self longing just longing to be reunited once more. This is the pain felt not only by the loved ones left behind but by the soldiers themselves. Atop of the immense burden of the stress caused by the threat of death their is the plague of love. Causing them to be less focused in a dangerous atmosphere. Leading to more unnecessary death of the men that fight for our freedom. Bringing to question why must this be done to the hearts of the soldiers and those they love? I can’t really answer this question… it seems illogical for this to happen. I guess the purpose was to bring public awareness to the issues that plague not only the soldiers but all those who are stuck in the heartbreaking situation called long distance relationships.

Peace Isn’t 187 proof

The setting was the early 20th century, and things had become tense in European politics. A series of secret treatises and concrete alliances had helped to build the situation which will tear apart families, countries and destroy lives. This was all sparked by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.

The investigation into the 187, the police code for murder, pinned the death on Serbian nationals. So it seems the words of Freddie Gibbs ring true, murder is an obvious way to start conflict, even one of international magnitude.

The cartoon captures the blame game that ensues as soon as the war begins. It should be noted that the countries are sized appropriately with their military power, Belgium and Serbia, being the minor powers, are drawn in smaller stature than the other countries. In the background the body in burial position is the embodiment of peace.

However the important piece is the direction of the sword entering the corpse. The sword is coming from below, suggesting that the assassin is one of smaller stature. Hence the culprits are limited to Belgium and Serbia. Both could be it, as a Serbian national murdered Duke Ferdinand starting an international conflict. However, Belgium played victim causing England to become involved turning what would’ve been a short conflict into a world war which consumed countless lives, destroying even more families.

However the truth of who caused the final blow to international peace is not as important as who is blamed for it. The image involves all of the nations pointing at one nation in specific, the only exception being Italy, the only major country to switch sides midway the war. In a way they are all right, each specific country had a hand in the death of peace.

It should be addressed that on the left hand side there is a hand from an unknown origin. It could be the United States who was profiting off of international trade, which was damaged by the blockade of Germany and by the sporadic attacks on trade ships by German U boats. The cartoon was published in a Chicago newspaper supporting the over inflation of US importance. However the United States was not nearly powerful enough to justify the size, so perhaps its the social outcry against the atrocities of the war. This being the case, it is the fault of the death of peace to create such discourse and irreparable damage to society.

War Budget

What’s the true cost of War? It’s not only found in the countless lives of young men and women loss, turned to lost names and piles of carrion. It can be found in the loss of friends and family in war, a universal concept in warfare.

Even Sun Tzu believed that the cost of a hundred thousand men is the loss of seven hundred thousand families’ lives and livelihoods. Imagine the number of destroyed livelihoods in a time like World War Two, where multimillion armies were raised by many nations. In that aspect it’s not the violence or aggression of war destroying lives, it happens before a drop of blood has been spilt.

So if the price of raising the institutions of war is so steep, what is the price of perpetuating it? The worst of course are the families divide such as the two brothers in Liam O’Flaherty’s “The Sniper.” Imagine the shock of turning over what you thought to be your enemy, just to see your own family slain by your own actions, leading to inapprehensible self-trauma. War has an unparalleled ability of destroying families, friendships and lives in general.

Yet why does this happe332307_tteric06_am_01n, why aren’t the cries of the parents heard until after their children have been consumed by the business of perpetual war. Why, because it has been internalized and is understood that with the duty of military service comes the potential of death, which creates a well-deserved sense of pride in the armed forces.

Society perpetuates this ‘acceptable loss’ with the use of propaganda. Media will emphasize all the good done to justify the loss of not only a life but the creation of severe grief and pain for the fallen soldier’s family. It seems that is the true cost, Is war worth it to you?

In War, How Free is Free Speech?

Wartime is a vulnerable time for any government, where public opinion is vital to the success or failure. This where a need for controlled media must come into effect, the people must believe what they are being told is the truth and justifies such warfare. In the words of Walter Lippmann “We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always downloadpropaganda, and what is said on our side of the front is the truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and crusade for peace.”  How can this be, as there are multiple sides to every warfare conflict, so wouldn’t that make sense that both sides are presenting propaganda, while both sides sell there propaganda as the absolute truth, but with free speech of the media, how can this happen? Well keep in mind that journalism is a business, so military officials can hold back information causing a level of desperation for good stories, they will slowly feed stories that are beneficial to the public opinion of the war. This leads to dwelling on successes no matter how insignificant in the long run as well as limiting the air time of the setbacks that do get out to the public. With all the limitation of information how can speech really be free? In reality it isn’t, what is thought to be original stories from a well balanced view are actually lopsided stories from fragmented origins preprocessed by the ‘shaping hand’ of the institutions of which we trust, thereby limiting journalist’s agency by limiting their voice. U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson sums it up best, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”

images

The Mother of all Epic… Theater

Epic Theater was established to inspire people. It is considered by some to be theater’s final evolution into a place where a balance of entertainment and education can be found. However this cannot be done through the traditional means of drama which can be broken up into tragedies and comedies, as they cause the audience to become attached inhibiting their ability to criticize the works. It however cannot be done through more modern techniques such as realism, the attempt to replicate real life as close as possible while still being considered a play, and expressionism, the antithesis of realism where characters are used to show the truth within man by showing their distorted appearance. No, Epic Theater is made pedagogical by alienating the audience, with a constant reminder that they are watching a production. This leads to a form of collective agency in the audience to criticize the characters and the play itself. This Bertolt Brecht wished would lead to a consciousness of their standing in society and an eventual uprising leading to a more Marxist society. Who is Brecht? Well, he is a well-known twentieth century play write, poet and essay composer, but probably best known as the father of Epic Theater.Epic theater uses certain tricks to assure this alienation effect on the audience, such as:

Narration,

White Lighting – on stage,

Addressing the Audience Directly,

Fragmented props and costumes – pieced together,

Costume Changes – done so in full view of the audience,

Production and Lighting Equipment – left in plain view on stage,

Historification- using a setting from a different era to distance emotional impact,

Songs and Ballads – used to communicate themes in times normally deemed unfitting.

These are all ways to make the audience aware. They become aware of the play. They become agents in their awareness. They become agents in society.

Mother Courage is a Brecht original, if there is one, which shows the effects of war on a family business, emphasis on business. It is written for epic theater and is perhaps the best example of epic theater I know. A specific scene where this is the case is that of the return a Kattrin, her mute daughter, after have being raped. This scene uses Historification in the text, which leads to the setting of Mother Courage in the Thirty Years War a time in which it would have been impossible for any of his audience to be alive in, unless they’re immortal. In her entrance, it is made to appear s though she has been assaulted, but is never spoken outright. Since many modern viewers have not been raped it is impossible for them to truly empathize, only pity and curse the circumstances that lead to this offense, war. The only exception is in the nineteen-forty-nine version where the young German women in the audience had known someone or was themselves rapped when the city of Berlin was finally taken by the red army in World War Two. They had a flashback to that time, caused by an unaccounted for empathetic connection to Kattrin. I guess in either case, a disdain for the loss of innocence, in war, can be found. So perhaps this was Brecht’s message, that war destroys not only those who fight and profit over the struggle but the innocent caught in a war they didn’t want.